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1942 Ted Williams Game-Used Jersey Featured on Antiques Roadshow

The latest episode of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow series featured a real treat: a 1942 game-used Ted Williams Red Sox jersey. It’s amazing how similar it is to the current Bosox design!

In a very Uni Watch moment, the jersey’s owner says he thinks it’s from 1946, but the appraiser tells him it’s clearly from 1942 because of the “Health” patch on the left sleeve, which all big league teams wore in ’42.

You probably know this already, but just in case: Hale America was a national initiative that encouraged Americans to build stamina and strength in an effort to meet the challenges of World War II. It called for people to engage in simple exercises such as cycling and hiking, and also encouraged the formation of community softball and soccer programs. There was even a Hale America golf tournament in 1942 (which is the subject of an enduring USGA bookkeeping controversy).

Nowadays, the world “hale” barely exists in modern discourse, except maybe for the NYC-based Hale and Hearty Soups brand. Funny that it was once used as the centerpiece of a national wartime-mobilization campaign.

(My thanks to James Gilbert for letting me know about this one.)

Comments (12)

    This is super interesting. I am really curious about the Hale America program promoting community soccer programs? I didn’t think community soccer was a concept in the united states until Gen X were teenagers and the formation of the NASL.

    “Hale” is also the origin of the second syllable in “wassail”! The Old English standard toast when lifting a glass was “Wæs hæl!”–be well! (“Wæs” was an OE synonym of “be” that partially survives in the modern past-tense forms “was” and “were.”)

    I always thought it was a bit odd to use “Hale”, otherwise a great word, when the other guys were famously very into the similar sounding and etymologically-related “Heil”.

    I’m sure no one thought about it at the time, but the fact that someone hemmed the tail of the jersey to fit a shorter person cut the value in half blows my mind.

    So here is a UniWatch anecdote: when I graduated Hampshire College in 1992, I had a choice of what to wear (no caps and gowns were required). My original plan was to purchase a Mitchell and Ness Ted Williams 1942 replica flannel jersey (my thesis was about baseball, so it seemed appropriate). This was before the “Cooperstown Collection” and stuff, and I would have had to get the jersey from M&N’s store, and it wasn’t going to be cheap.

    I mentioned my plan to my uncle who was in the textile business, and he pointed out that the M&N jerseys were wool and Orlon blends, but that wasn’t publicly used in 1942, and suggested that I would be paying for a “false” replica. So I settled on a suit, which was probably the right choice.

    But I tell you, when this came up on the Roadshow it really made me sit up and pay attention!

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