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When it comes to baseball apparel, there aren’t many styles left untried. From the early days of woolen lace-up shirts and knickers to modern-day polyester jerseys and pants, players have worn almost every fabric and uniform length conceivable.
In 1849, the New York Knickerbockers were the first team to wear baseball uniforms, complete with wool trousers, leather belts, white flannel shirts, and straw hats. Baseball gloves appeared in the later part of the century, along with cleats and colored, team-specific stockings. In the 20th century, numbers appeared on the fronts and backs of jerseys and pin-striping gained popularity. Additionally, the “59Fifty” ball cap became the official cap of Major League Baseball (MLB), and batting helmets were made mandatory.
For those interesting in collecting baseball apparel, jerseys, caps, gloves, and full uniforms are popular memorabilia. Other items to look for include patches, jackets, shoes, and batting helmets. Overall, keep in mind that game-worn gear almost always holds more value than replica gear, and signed gear is typically worth more than unsigned.
A 1938 New York Yankees jersey worn by Lou Gehrig gathered $329,000 on a Robert Edwards auction in 2011
The Detroit Tigers still use the Old English-style “D” logo on their uniforms—first seen on jerseys around 1896
In baseball’s early years, players who wore ball gloves to protect their hands from injuries were considered sissies