Stuffed in a chest for decades, two 1913 Brooklyn Dodgers game jerseys will be offered in Heritage Auctions’ May sports card and memorabilia event.
Only a few early 1900s big league jerseys have survived the century that has passed.
Skeptical when the call came in to the company’s Texas headquarters, Heritage quickly discovered upon viewing images that the flannels were the real deal.
The home white jersey, and road grey 1913 Brooklyn button-downs had belonged to the family of Earl Hershey Yingling, a left-handed pitcher who spent two years with Brooklyn. It’s believed that after the season, he kept both jerseys and took them home. He would spend the next season with the Cincinnati Reds.
The jerseys have apparently been in a moth ball-filled wooden chest ever since. Heritage calls them “two of the finest pre-1920 Major League jerseys ever to surface in the collecting hobby”. Yingling’s granddaughter has consigned them to Heritage.
They’re a far cry from today’s breathable fabrics.
“The jersey is constructed of a sturdy grade of flannel not far removed from burlap in texture, a cloth that must have been pure misery in the dog days of summer,” writes Heritage in the auction description.
The auction company believes Yingling’s white jersey is the one he is wearing on the 1913 Brooklyn Dodgers Fatima card, joined in the photo by Hall of Famers Casey Stengel and Zack Wheat who, along with Yingling, were part of the first Brooklyn team to play at Ebbets Field. The home edition carries a “B” on the sleeve and Yingling’s name has been stitched into the collar of both jerseys.
The auction begins next month.