1945 3rd Army Championship Flannel: Red Circlers of the 71st ID

One of the most historically significant baseball uniforms of WWII, the Red Circlers of the 71st Infantry Division were the Third Army Champions, losing to the OISE All Stars in the ETO World Series. This jersey belonged to Herb Bremer (image source: Goldin Auctions).

Though not from the same player, these pieces were used by two members of the 71st ID Red Circlers (image source: Goldin Auctions).

In the realm of vintage game-worn baseball uniforms, collectors are apt to seek out the legends and stars of the game and the same holds true for military baseball players. However, in terms of legendary military games and participating teams. This uniform set from the runners-up in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) World Series Championship.

Listed with Goldin Auctions, the bidding for this uniform closed on January 29, 2017 with 13 bids and a final selling price of $2,572.50. The jersey and trousers, though were issued to the Red Circler’s team, they are not part of the same set as each piece is inscribed with a different player’s name. The jersey from this set was used by former St. Louis Cardinals catcher, Herb Bremer who had 70 major league games (played in 1937, ’38 and ’39) having to split time behind the dish with Bruce Ogrodowski and Mickey Owen and Don Padgett in that span. Though he never played another major league game after 1939, Bremer’s career continued in the minors with Columbus (American Association), New Orleans and Little Rock (both of the Southern Association) until he was inducted into the Army mid-way through the 1943 season. Bremer would help the Red Circlers, batting .333 in league play, in advancing to the ETO World Series (defeating the 76th ID in the 3rd Army Championship) where they would be defeated by the OISE All Stars.

The trousers, though not named to Bremer, were part of his uniform group and attributed to him (according to the auction listing’s accompanying authentication). It is likely that the trousers that something befell the trousers that Bremer was issued and his teammate Milt Ticco) supplied one of his extras. Ticco, a 1943 graduate of the University of Kentucky, began a seven year professional baseball career in 1946 (in the Cincinnati and Brooklyn organizations) and two seasons (1946-’48) in the National Basketball League.

There are two noteworthy and unique features of this uniform group that set it apart from other military baseball uniforms. First, the tags that are in both the collar of the jersey and the waistband of the trousers include “Special Services U.S. Army,” which is the entity that sourced the uniforms (from several different fundraising events). Rather than having an issued shoulder sleeve insignia (as would be sewn to combat or dress army uniform), this jersey has a custom chain-stitched (on flannel) patched affixed to the jersey’s left sleeve.

 

Uniform Features:

Jersey:

  • Buttons: Six white plastic, concave, four-hole buttons adorn the placket.
  • Material: The base material is lightweight white wool-flannel.
  • Soutache: A single, thing line of black rayon material encircles the collar and extends down the placket to just below the sixth button. The single line soutache is on the sleeve cuffs, slight above the edge of the sleeve.
  • Lettering: Heavy black athletic felt block letters (with serifs) spelling out T H I R D  A R M Y, indicating the Red Circler’s victory over the 76th Division Onaways in the 3rd Army Championship series, played August 11-13, 1945.
  • Numerals: Heavy red athletic felt digit “9” is centered on the back..
  • Sleeves: Four inches long, non-gusseted with vent holes.
  • Tag: An early 1940s Rawlings manufacturer’s information tag (inscribed with Red Circler’s first baseman’s name) is sewn inside and below the back of the waistband along with the size tag (38) and the “Special Services U.S. Army” tag.

Trousers:

  • Buttons: White-colored plastic, concave, four-hole.
  • Material: The base material is lightweight white wool-flannel.
  • Soutache:  None.
  • Tags: An early 1940s Rawlings manufacturer’s information tag (inscribed with Red Circler’s catcher, Herb Bremer’s name) is sewn inside and below the back of the collar along with the size tag (44) and the “Special Services U.S. Army” tag.

Additional photos:

*Listed at Goldin Auctions; Lot #318 and sold on January 29,1917 for $2,572.50.

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