Though plainly spelled out in navy blue athletic felt, “20th REGT” may not be easily pinpointed to a specific unit without photographic confirmation. It is possible that the unit designation could refer to the 20th Armored Regiment or even to a state national guard unit. When we first saw photos of the jersey, shared by U.S. Army Veteran, Terry Aiken in June of 2021, the initial thinking was that the jersey was used by the 20th Infantry Regiment. Known as the “Sykes Regulars” (so named for their first commander, General George Sykes), the 20th Infantry Regiment’s lineage dates back to the Civil War with combat experience beginning with the first Battle of Bull Run, though our jersey dates from a much later period. If this jersey is indeed from the 20th Infantry Regiment or “Sykes” Regulars, it would have been in use prior to their deployment to the South Pacific as part of the Sixth Infantry Division.
Our collection of baseball photographs sourced from a 20th Infantry Regiment veteran showcases unit personnel playing the game in both New Guinea and on Luzon in their relaxed combat uniforms. Unfortunately, no images showing domestic baseball play were included with the group.
Based upon the jersey’s pattern, sleeve length, tails and the unusual sun collar design, it is apparent that this uniform top was made in the early 1940s at the very latest and likely pre-dates WWII. In terms of condition, the base gray flannel displays signs of heavy use and countless launderings. The tag in the collar is devoid of markings entirely which further complicates our ability for precise dating and identification .
This jersey was acquired from an antique store in Missouri and when it was originally made available for sale, included the matching trousers. When it was purchased, the trousers were already sold leaving the jersey behind.
- Buttons: The five buttons are gray-colored plastic, convex, two-hole “cat eye” style.
- Material: The base material is road gray wool-flannel.
- Soutache: Red-white-red 1/2-inch rayon material, doubled around the collar and down the button placket, ending in an rounded “V” pattern below the fifth button
- Lettering: Small blocked lettering with serifs in blue athletic felt.
- Numerals: 9-inch single digit, athletic felt “2.”
- Sleeves: Eight inches, non-gusseted inset.
- Sun Collar: 1-inch in height.
- Tag: A faded manufacturer’s information tag (with style and size) is sewn sewn inside and below the back of the collar.
*This jersey was graciously donated to the Chevrons and Diamonds Collection by Terry Aiken, U.S. Army, 1997-2006