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1913 Pittsburgh Federal League Jersey
Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $11,750.00
Presented is one of the most exciting newly discovered baseball jersey finds ever in the history of collecting! The fact that it is such an early jersey, dating from the heart of the deadball era, let alone a Federal League jersey, makes its recent discovery all the more unlikely and extraordinary. When this jersey first surfaced on eBay in the hands of a a noncollector in Nacin City, Iowa, collectors were initially extremely excited that this was a jersey from the Federal League, the renegade third Major League that was in existence only in 1914 and 1915. Only one or two Federal League jerseys are even known to exist, so the surfacing of any example, let alone one with such a striking design, would be the equivalent of finding one of the holy grails of uniform collecting. It would be a simple process for collectors to match the jersey style with photos and reference books to verify that this was a 1914 or 1915 Federal League uniform. There was one problem, however: it wasn't a 1914 or 1915 Federal League uniform. So when uniform collectors checked their reference books, they found that it did not match. Collectors were puzzled. What was it, then? This is where MEARS' interest in research paid dividends. It was a Federal League jersey! The Federal League was actually in existence for three seasons: 1913, 1914, and 1915. This extremely rare Federal League jersey dates from 1913, the League's very first year. Although many collectors are familiar with the history of the Federal League's short two-year existence as an "outlaw" Major League rival to the American and National League's in 1914 and 1915, few are aware that the Federal League was founded in 1913 as a minor league. This jersey dates to that historic first year and was worn by a member of the Pittsburgh Stogies during home games (the team changed its name to "Rebels" in midseason the following year). This is a museum-caliber rarity, the only 1913 Pittsburgh Federals jersey known to exist, and in fact, the only known 1913 Federal League jersey for any team. The white, flannel pinstripe jersey features the Pittsburgh Federal's unique gothic-style "P" appliquéd in faded green felt on the left breast and a turn-of-the-century style western yoke back (common for jerseys from this era). "Federals" is lettered in white cotton twill vertically down the front. A "Stahl & Dean" label appears in the collar; however, the name tag has been removed (the stitch outline of the tag is clearly visible above the manufacturer's label). The jersey is missing two front buttons; otherwise, it is original and unaltered, displaying moderate-to-heavy wear, including several stains on both the front and back tail. Pittsburgh was one of six inaugural Federal League teams in 1913 and remained in the League all three seasons (1913-1915). In 1914 the team kept the "P" on the left breast, but the name "Federals" down the front was removed. Interestingly, in 1914 the uniforms for Indianapolis featured the same "Federals" name-down-the-front design, thus the style was not unique to Pittsburgh. The fact that this jersey is one of the styles that actually says "Federals" as part of its design is a significant bonus for display. Any and all Federal League items are incredibly rare, especially jerseys. This is the only Federal League jersey listed in the MEARS census and, as mentioned in its accompanying LOA, MEARS is aware of only one other example (a Kansas City Packers jersey). Graded A7 by MEARS (10 point base grade, with 1 point subtracted for the missing tag, and two points subtracted for the two missing buttons). This is one of the most extraordinary uniform finds to ever surface (on eBay or anywhere else) and gives hope to all collectors that extremely important and historic finds can still turn up in unexpected places.This jersey was purchased by MEARS authenticator David Bushing directly from the original eBay auction in which it surfaced, and has been consigned to this auction by David Bushing, to be offered with a proper description. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).
Note: Though the quality of the image is poor, because we have it (thanks to SABR's Bill Hickman and to Marc Okkonen's book on the Federal League, in which it appears), the photo online is an image of 1913 Pittsburgh Feds manager Deacon Phillipe on the left in his 1913 Pittsburgh Federals jersey shaking hands with manager Bill Phillips of Indianapolis. SOLD FOR $11,750.00
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