Replicating Military Baseball Style
I recall the very first professional sports team jersey that I was given as a child was a Los Angeles Rams (the classic blue with white trim) that came as part of a uniform set (which included trousers, shoulder pads and a helmet) for Christmas in the early 1970s. In the middle of that decade, my father gave me a fitted San Francisco Giants ball cap that I wore until it no longer fit – even though I was, by then, I die-hard Dodgers fan. By the time that my hometown received NFL and MLB teams of our own, I was fully entrenched as a Los Angeles football and baseball fan.
When I was twelve, my grandmother gave me a beautiful Los Angeles Rams jersey (#84) for my birthday that I wore for a few years. I remember the first jersey that I bought for myself a few years later, an on-field Seahawks #80 (Steve Largent) mesh shirt that I still have today. I was always a bigger fan of baseball and yet I still never owned a jersey from my favorite team(s). I wouldn’t have a baseball jersey for years to come.
When I was at my last duty station, I read an article about a company that recently started operations, using old stock wool flannel to recreate replicas of vintage baseball jerseys from the minor league teams of decades long since passed. When I discovered that the company, Ebbets Field Flannels was local, I paid them a visit that same day. I saved up for a few weeks and managed to purchase my first (of what would become nearly twenty) of their line of jerseys, a 1939 San Francisco Seals design.
Over the ensuing years as EFF expanded their product line, they began to incorporate jerseys from the Armed Forces service teams from World War II, beginning with Joe DiMaggio’s 7th Army Air Forces design. Later, they would add Bob Feller’s Great Lakes home and road designs. It is plain to see that EFF’s ownership has a passion for military baseball and the service team uniform items as the catalog of designs continues to expand. For collectors like me who would never don a 70+ year old garment for daily wear, acquiring an honest reproduction of the for my personal enjoyment is a great substitute as I leave my collection to be preserved for posterity.
Last fall, I had the opportunity to display my collection and though I was quite pleased with what I had to display, I felt that a few other items would fill in some gaps where my items were insufficient in conveying the narrative of the connection between baseball and the armed forces. I was a little reluctant at first, but as I began to prepare for the event and arrange my display, I found that adding in one of my reproduction jerseys and ballcaps was a nice augmentation to the original uniforms and artifacts that would be shown. I placed a 1943 Great Lakes Naval Station home jersey (as worn by Bob “Rapid Robert” Feller) and a 1957 Naval Academy ball cap, both from Ebbets Field Flannels.
If you are seeking your own military baseball items, I have provided a list and images of the EFF current catalog:
- Third Army Red Circlers – 1945 Home Jersey
- 7th Army Air Force 1944 Road
- Great Lakes Naval Station 1943 Home
- Great Lakes Naval Station 1943 Road
- U.S. Marine Corps. 1943 Road
- Great Lakes Naval Station 1918 Ballcap
- 1957 Naval Academy baseball team cap (discontinued).
For those who treasure historical commentaries on the game and its uniforms, I encourage you to follow Ebbets Field Flannel’s blog.
Posted on February 26, 2016, in Equipment, Hall of Fame Players, Replicas and Reproduction Vintage Baseball Uniforms, Uniforms and tagged Ebbets Field Flannels, Replica Vintage Baseball Uniforms, Replica Vintage Military Baseball Uniforms. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.