"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."1934 Rogers Hornsby Game Worn St. Louis Browns Full Uniform. If it wasn't for Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby would be the name associated with Golden Age batting brilliance, as a quick inspection of the statistics would illustrate. Between 1920 through 1929, the hard-slugging Texan summitted the fabled .400 plateau three times, claiming the National League batting title all but three years of the decade. His averages of forty doubles and twenty-five long balls during this span paint the portrait of a hitter equal parts Cobb and Ruth, and provide a worthwhile challenge to Ted Williams' claim as the greatest hitter that ever lived. "I don't like to sound egotistical," Hornsby was once quoted to say, "but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
Heritage is pleased to present just the second Hornsby game worn jersey to reach the major auction circuit since 1999, and his first complete uniform. The St. Louis Browns jersey style (note the small letter "T" in "St. Louis, a single-season format) allows us to pinpoint its term of service to the 1934 campaign, during which the Hall of Fame legend furthered his reputation as the game's most demanding and feared manager, occasionally stepping in, when his frustration with his talent-deficient grew too great, to make thirty-one plate appearances and record seven of his final thirty-two career hits.
The heavy road grey flannel jersey boasts an artfully fonted "St. Louis" in brown and yellow felt across the chest, with number "11" applied to verso, digits Hornsby abandoned following the 1934 season. The pullover style retains its four original buttons and exhibits moderate game wear with some staining and scattered moth damage, accounting for the majority of points lost in the MEARS grading. Another point is lost for the removal of the left sleeve patch, evidenced by a faint outline of the stitching pattern (there was no sleeve patch in 1934, but MEARS suggests the jersey may have been reused in 1937, when patches were used). Proper "Spalding" label and "Hornsby" chainstitched attribution appears at interior collar. Distinctive double piping found at each sleeve cuff, with a single band around the collar.
The unique piping style is continued with the included pants, which are attributable to the 1942 Cooperstown inductee with another chain stitched surname at interior waistband. A "Spalding" label appears here as well. The pants likewise exhibit game wear, light staining and a scattering of moth holes which again are of little distraction.
The ensemble is completed with a very well worn cap bearing the Browns' logo in orange felt over the visor, and six orange spokes radiating from a slightly damaged orange button at top. There is no name or number present within the cap, simply "Rawlings" stamping at interior leather headband, though we have every reason to believe the cap was Hornsby's as well given the unquestionable attribution of the jersey and pants. Together it creates a display that would charm and thrill the baseball historian even in the absence of its regal heritage. But with style and substance, this is an offering that ranks among the finest in recent memory. LOA from MEARS, A7. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Style match photograph included (modern print).
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