An innovator in terms of longevity, the relief role and knuckleball, Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm was an integral part of the Orioles’ transformation from the lowly St. Louis Browns to baseball’s powerhouse. This Baltimore Orioles home jersey was worn by the ageless hurler during the 1959 season, a campaign in which Wilhelm paced the big leagues with a 2.19 ERA. A scarce survivor as an early flannel gamer, this Memorial Stadium relic holds infinite appeal as an all-original Wilhelm apparel item, undoubtedly one of very few! The felt identifiers and proper “Wilson” tagging remain intact, while excellent game wear is evident and documented on an LOA from Baltimore/Washington memorabilia expert Phil Wood. More on our website.
The cream-colored flannel zippered garment features “Orioles” angled across the chest in orange-on-black felt with a lengthy paraph accenting the script-style mascot name. In orange-on-black felt block-style numerals, “15” is sewn to the back and left front, while black piping lines the collar and zipper path. Within the collar, a white felt swatch has “15 1959” embroidered identifiers, while the vented left front tail is home to a “Wilson” size “42” label. There are six holes (as tailored) under each arm to facilitate ventilation. The original chain-stitched “laughing Bird” patch is missing from the left sleeve, although the orange felt outline remains. Evidence of game wear includes scattered minor stains and minimal color fading. Wood states in his LOA: “it’s safe to say the number of game worn Hoyt Wilhelm Orioles jerseys in the known collecting universe can likely be counted on one hand. The collectability of this jersey is off the charts.”