47th Quartermaster Regiment, K-company, Gilbert Mays Uniform

Negro soldier and ball player, Carl Mays’ WWII uniform set sold in July, 2018 for $284 (source: eBay Image).

Perhaps one of the best baseball uniforms or jerseys sold at auction in the past few years is this name set from one Gilbert Mays, formerly “Kilo” Company of the 47th Quartermaster Regiment, stationed at Camp Holabird, Maryland in the early years of World War II. The 47th QM Regiment would go on to serve gallantly in the European Theater participating in the massive supply line known as the Red Ball Express, according to Mays’ obituary.  One other aspect that makes this uniform special is that the 47th QM was an African American unit. While we are still researching Mays and this unit, the uniform is nothing short of a fantastic piece of history.

This uniform bears features that are consistent with other World War II baseball flannels. From the cut of the sleeves, the placket and soutache, this uniform is clearly from 1944-45. The condition is a little worse for wear in that it is heavily soiled and the thin black rayon soutache appears to be separating from the jersey (as is visible in the accompanying photographs).  Though it is difficult to discern in the images, one or two of the five concave, four-hole buttons seem to be missing.

Uniform Features:

Jersey:

  • Buttons: The buttons are gray-colored plastic, convex, four-hole. There should be five though one or more seem to be missing.
  • Material: The base material is light-weight road gray wool-flannel.
  • Soutache: A double line of thin black rayon material encircling the collar and down the placket. The closely-aligned double line soutache is positioned at the edge of the sleeve cuffs. As is visible in the images, there is some separation of the soutache near the collar and on the placket.
  • Lettering: Lightweight black athletic felt block lettering spelling out the team name across the chest, on both sides of the placket.
  • Numerals: Black athletic felt “3” on the center-back of the jersey.
  • Sleeves: 3.5 inches, non-gusseted without vent holes.
  • Tag:  No manufacturer’s tags.

A very typical WWII Army baseball uniform featuring an athletic felt numeral and thin black rayon soutache around the cuffs, collar and down the placket (source: eBay Image).

Trousers:

  • Buttons: Uknown.
  • Material: The base material is light-weight road gray wool-flannel.
  • Soutache: A single line of thin black rayon runs down the outer seam of the trouser legs.

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