Friday, August 21, 2015

1943 Road Jersey Now at Ebbets Field

Ebbets Field Flannels, purveyors of classic baseball clothing since... well, since as long as I can remember, has come through again with something special for Milwaukee baseball fans.

This time, they are remembering our Brews with a reproduction of the club's 1943 road jersey.

Milwaukee Brewers 1943 Road

$195.00 $156.00

American Association

History: One of the most interesting things about the original minor league Brewers was their ballpark. The oddly-configured Borchert Field was built in 1887 and featured left and right field corners of only 266 feet. But the rectangular shape of the outfield made center field home runs nearly impossible. When the legendary Bill Veeck owned the team he installed a motor on the right field fence to move it back when the visiting team was up to bat. A rule was quickly passed outlawing this stunt.


Product details
  • American Association
  • Authentic reproduction of the jersey worn in 1943 by the Milwaukee Brewers
  • Authentic gray wool flannel
  • Felt lettering
  • Number on back
All Ebbets Field Flannels are made-to-order and handcrafted in the USA. Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for production. We can make any authentic flannel from the Negro Leagues, Minor Leagues, Latin America and many more. Contact us for details.

This jersey is notable the color scheme, red and white on gray. Notable for a total lack of blue, which had been a signature color going back to the 1910s, making this jersey style something of an anomaly for the Brewers. Even more strangely, it was worn with blue caps, and the corresponding home jersey prominently featured red and blue. So where did this come from?

This particular jersey design was part of new owner Bill Veeck's redesign of the Brewers before the 1942 season. The road uniform he introduced was blue head to toe, with a red script "Brewers" outlined in white. This may have been a callback to the early days of the 20th century, when colored uniforms were standard on the road.

Veeck and his men took some ribbing from the baseball world (especially from the home dugouts) over their proto-throwback blue traveling suits, so starting in 1943 the Brewers reverted to a more traditional gray uniform. Those new gray togs didn't have any blue at all; retaining the red-and-white script and numbers of their predecessor. Personally, I suspect that's because the team removed the red-and-white details from the blue jerseys and transferred them to the gray, but we may never know for sure.

There is an original 1943 jersey in the collection of contributor Paul Tenpenny, who graciously allowed us to study it back in 2010.

Paul's jersey was originally worn by longtime Brewer catcher/coach/manager/general manager Red Smith.

This gives us a unique opportunity to compare the two side-by-side, original and reproduction.

From what I can tell from the promotional photos, this is good work by Ebbets Field. The numbers and letters have an appropriate weight, and the heavy-serifed number is spot-on. They also appear to have matched the soutache piping; thin at the neck, thick at the cuffs.

I see two issues, one major and one a nitpick. The major issue is that the originals had a zipper, where Ebbets Field has chosen to use a button-up front. That's something they started doing a couple years back on all their reproductions (and Majestic repeated this with their throwback uniforms in 2013), but I don't know what's motivating it. There can't be a shortage of zippers.

The nitpick is that the wordmark appears too large in these photos. As we can see on Paul's jersey, it should be thirteen inches across.

Considering these jerseys are made to order, perhaps that's something that Ebbets Field can correct before production. Don't know what they can do about the buttons.

Even with those two issues, the jersey is gorgeous, and will only be available for a limited time, and is currently available at a special introductory price. Free shipping, too. Buy yours now!

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