It’s always exciting when we get to introduce a new category of authentic historic athletic clothing, and today we’re pleased to announce, at long last, the Ebbets Vintage Baseball Sweater.
If you’ve seen photos of players from the “Dead Ball Era,” which was dominated by the likes of Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and a young Babe Ruth (as a pitcher!), no doubt you’ve seen these sweaters. These full-length wool sweaters were advertised in sporting goods catalogs as “Shaker knit sweaters” or “cardigans” and often featured shawl collars, leather buttons, and were decorated with sewn felt lettering. This was the standard warm-up garment for baseball teams until the wool jacket gradually took over in the 1920s.
Of course we’ve been aware of these sweaters for years, but manufacturing them posed several unique challenges. Modern bulk knitting machines cannot produce a sweater that matches the character of the originals, and making them to order one at a time would be cost-prohibitive to all but a few customers.
Our search took me to Peru earlier this year. We teamed with a small group of artisan knitters, and using a wool/alpaca blend of yarn, created a sweater that closely matches the originals. The fabric produced by this yarn is the right weight, but not itchy. Finally, we are able to release the first group of teams to the public.
This initial group includes reproductions of sweaters worn by the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, and New York Giants. Only a limited number of sweaters of each style will be offered in this production run, but do not worry, we have plans to release other MLB teams, as well as some teams from the minor leagues, Negro Leagues, and Federal League in the new year.
These sweaters are bulky, weighing in at close to four pounds each. The fit is true to size and slightly loose, rather than form-fitting. Although we are producing the sweaters in Peru, they will be lettered-to-order in our American factory. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.
We will update you with additional teams we plan to offer in the new year.
Lastly, I would like to thank my friend and colleague Peter Capolino, founder of Mitchell & Ness, for his invaluable assistance to me on this project.
Jerry Cohen, Founder