1953-55 Wiesbaden Flyers Gray Jersey
Determining exactly which branch of the armed forces the Wiesbaden Flyers team belonged to will take a bit of research. When this jersey was listed for sale at auction, it was identified as an Army piece. Diving into the history of the U.S. military presence at this former Luftwaffe base is a bit convoluted since it was captured by the 80th Infantry Division in March of 1945 and renamed Wiesbaden Army Airfield. There has been an Air Force (USAAF, USAFE) presence at the base since May of 1945 with a permanent Air Force Base (Lindsey Air Station, formerly Gersdorff Kaserne) being established in 1946 across from Wiesbaden, sharing the runways and ground facilities.
Due to the separation of the installations (Wiesbaden and Lindsey) it is most-likely that the Flyers team was part of the U.S. Army installation rather than the USAF (which split from the Army in 1947). Though the USAF was established and distinctly separate, the Army did and still maintains an aviation branch – of which the “Flyers” roster was constituted.
At first glance, one can easily discern the influence of the successful, perennial National League champion of the late 1940s through 1950s team from Brooklyn, the Dodgers. Borrowing from the Dodger’s script (established in 1938 and still in use today), Wiesbaden is spelled out in royal blue athletic felt with small, white block lettering attached to the tail of the “n” presenting the team name. The 1/4″ royal blue soutache borders both sides of the placket, extending around the collar and squared off below the fifth button.
The buttons of this jersey are concave gray plastic with four holes that are common among jerseys made by Rawlings and other suppliers to the major and minor leagues. To avoid unnecessarily cutting a hole in the lettering, the third button hole departs from the standard vertical slots in favor of a horizontal orientation (however the button is missing).
The sleeves have a more common inset design with a shorter length (approximately six inches from the shoulder seam to the edge of the cuff) that was becoming commonplace in the 1950s designs. A single line of the royal blue soutache encircles the cuff directly at the edge. There are two vent holes in each of the armpits.
- Buttons: The five buttons (the one beneath the “B” is missing) are gray-colored plastic, concave, four-hole. The button hole beneath the “B” is horizontal in order to clear the lettering.
- Material: The base material is light-weight road gray wool-flannel.
- Soutache: 1/4″ rayon double line on each side of the placket, extending down to just below the bottom button, squared off. Single line soutache encircling the sleeves, at the cuffs’ edge.
- Lettering: Blue athletic felt script lettering (naming the home city) with small, white athletic felt block lettering (over the extended tail of the “n”) spelling out the team name across the chest, on both sides of the placket.
- Numerals: Large blue athletic felt block “1” and “3” numbers the jersey’s back.
- Sleeves: Inset-style with a length (from the edge of the shoulder) of six inches.
- Other features: Non-gusseted with vent holes.
- Tag: Red 1950s-era “Rawlings” with size (“40”).
Note: Listed at auction in mid-November, 2018, the seller’s valuation was exceedingly high either due to being influenced by exorbitant pricing for professional ballplayer’s jerseys on the market or they are simply price gouging. This page will be updated with any price changes or the final value predicated upon a sale.
Source: eBay Auction Item #113405738130, Originally listed November 28, 2018, for: $298.00