Making every attempt to establish themselves and sever all ties with their St. Louis Browns predecessors, the Baltimore Orioles molded a fundamentally sound team and, along the way, made several different fashion statements. This 1955-1956 road jersey is a rare survivor from the style’s onset. Issued to bespectacled hurler Ryne Duren in 1955, the gray flannel zippered garment was likely worn by Jim Wilson in 1956. With felt identifiers, proper “Spalding” tagging and the original “laughing Bird” patch intact, this gorgeous gamer comes with an LOA from Baltimore/Washington memorabilia expert Phil Wood. More on our website.
The gray flannel zippered garment features “Baltimore” angled across the chest in orange-on-black felt with a lengthy paraph accenting the script-style city name. In solid black felt block-style numerals, “39” is sewn to the back, while black piping lines the collar, sleeve endings and zipper path. A vintage “Spalding” label resides within the collar, while the vented left front tail is home to embroidered identifiers reading “Duren 46 5 in.” There are four holes (as tailored) under each arm to facilitate ventilation. The original chain-stitched “laughing Bird” patch is remains on the left sleeve. Remarkable game wear attributes include minimal color fading about the felt components, perspiration-induced discoloration along the collar and partial separation of the “Spalding” collar tag. The number on the back is a replacement to facilitate subsequent minor league or spring training use. This rare Birds heirloom is from the club’s inaugural season of zippered jerseys and “Baltimore” road identifiers instead of “Orioles” (which occurred early in 1955 after the team opened in Washington with “Orioles” on the front). While Duren was most definitely issued this jersey, it’s unlikely that he ever wore it, as he made his lone appearance with the Orioles in September, 1954 and spent the next two seasons with minor league affiliates in Seattle, San Antonio and Vancouver. Instead, the jersey was likely worn in 1956 by pitcher Jim Wilson, who was roughly Duren’s size and wore the same number.