Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From the archives - Rollie Stiles 1932/34 jersey

This beautiful Brewers jersey came up for auction in October of 2007 (full disclosure: I bid on it at the time, but didn't win). Once again, auctions provide an excellent look at uniforms of the past.

Click for huge images:
The auction listing:

Lot: 19635 - Late 1930's Milwaukee Brewers Game Worn Uniform.

Duly proud of its sudsy claim to fame, Milwaukee has utilized the nickname "Brewers" for local ballclubs dating back to the turn of the century. Here we find a full uniform from the American Association farm club of the Cleveland Indians that bore the time-tested title, one of the earliest Brewers representations known. Red and blue felt spells "Milwaukee" in elegant block-lettered text across the chest, with a midnight navy number "2" taking up residence on verso. The jersey is tagged in the collar with "Wilson [size] 36" and local "Burghardt Athletic Goods" labels, as are the matching pants. An embroidered swatch affixed to the jersey's tail reads "Stiles," most likely the short-tenured St. Louis Browns pitcher of the early 1930's Rollie Stiles. Pants have similar swatch reading "Fieber" or something similar. A degree of damage to the jersey's chest and back must be noted, though it still displays quite nicely despite these flaws. When paired with the pants (which remain in fine condition) and the included two pairs of socks (though we believe only the red and navy pair matches), it will make an impressive sight. LOA from Lou Lampson.

Lampson's reputation has taken something of a beating in recent years. For what it's worth, I don't think the extra socks belong with this uniform either. The pants are another matter. The Burghardt tag (Burghardt is still around, incidentally) indicates that the Brewers may have worn them - I'll explore those in a separate post.

I'm wondering why they've dated this "Late 1930s", as based on the player these are certainly from the early 1930s, when the Brewers were not only affiliated with but owned outright by the St. Louis Browns. Stiles spent part of the 1932 and 1934 seasons with Milwaukee, so that fits with the tagging. Also not sure why they bothered to name-drop the Indians, other than there is presumably more interest in their collectibles than those of the Browns.

Personally, I really like the æsthetics of this jersey. Love the double-piping. And I'm always impressed when teams, especially minor-league teams, spring for a vertically arched wordmark instead of the cheaper radially arched version.

Saving up my money for the next time one of these surfaces....

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