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    Description

    Includes Hurley's Washington State letterman's sweater!

    1933 George Hurley Boston [Washington] Redskins Game Worn Jersey--The Very First Redskins Jersey! We should begin this lot text with an acknowledgment that passions run hot on the issue of rebranding professional sports teams due to the shifting social sensitivities of the American public, and to state clearly that Heritage Auctions takes no official position on the issue. It's not our place. We are historians, and our intent has always been to educate and elucidate rather than to drive any political narrative. But it would be intellectually dishonest to ignore the enormous role that athletics has played in our shared cultural history, or the remarkable timing of this jersey's hobby debut.

    Just a few days before this lot copy was written, the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball announced that it would be abandoning the nickname it had represented for over a century, six months after the Washington Redskins of the NFL likewise bowed to years of pressure to drop its own name out of respect for those with Native American ancestry. It seems likely that this trend will continue. No matter where one's personal opinion on the matter may lie, it is a simple statement of fact that an era is coming to an end, and endings can often find us looking back to where it all began.

    For the Redskins of the National Football League, it all began right here, with one of the most extraordinary gridiron rarities that Heritage has been privileged to present to the collecting community. The offered jersey once belonged to Washington State University alumnus George Hurley, who played two seasons of Depression-era professional football in Boston. During his rookie season of 1932, Hurley wore a rather plain blue jersey as a member of the newly-founded Boston Braves, headquartered at the National League park where a baseball team of the same name spent their summers. But, in 1933, a relocation of the team to Fenway Park inspired a name change to carry on the Native American theme while likewise referencing the Red Sox baseball club that called that stadium home. Thus, the Boston Redskins were born.

    With the new home field and new name in 1933--Hurley's second and final pro season--a new uniform format was instituted, perhaps the most physically beautiful in a century of NFL history. We have never encountered another example and are unsure if any others still survive. We can be virtually certain that none could match the offered example for quality.

    The garment resembles a long-sleeved sweater in its cotton-blend construction, the red body and black and yellow trim representing the first appearance of the franchise color theme that survives to this day--the team was decked out in blue and yellow during the franchise's sole, founding season as the 1932 Boston Braves. Certainly the most eye-catching design point of this jersey is the spectacular felt Indian head patch that adorns the chest, a format that would (with minor alterations) serve as the team logo for the next eighty-six years. A yellow felt number "28" is applied to verso.

    Original buttoned crotchpiece remains remarkably intact, and the jersey exhibits no tagging nor any indication that it ever existed. Three period team repairs appear, but otherwise the jersey is free of any condition issues--no moth holes or staining so commonly found in ancient textiles. This is a gloriously perfect specimen.

    Beyond the official records that find Hurley listed as number "28" for the 1933 Redskins, attribution is assured by the offensive lineman's letterman sweater from Washington State, a hefty wool garment likewise surviving in superior condition and included in this lot. Interior collar bears an Olympia, Washington manufacturer's label and an embroidered swatch reading, "G Hurley." LOA from Heritage Auctions.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 39
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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