Like all suburban boys with mothers that wouldn’t let them touch a football, growing up I my first taste of glory on the sun spotted, dew drenched grass lots of my hometown’s baseball fields. In those days I could barely make contact with an underhand pitch, let alone actually pay attention to the game for any longer than a couple of outs, and so it was out on those diamonds that I wandered into my early, innocuous delusions of grandeur. The game itself was irrelevant, but for that hour or two each weekend I could pretend that I was Sammy Sosa in the backfield, long before steroids, adolescence, and an actual score card took away my wide-eyed love for the game.
It’s been about eight months since I first saw the above photo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig wearing Yankees sweaters on Kiyoshi’s blog, but I don’t think there’s been a week that’s gone by that I haven’t come back to it. The photo has become one of my favorite fall points of reference, but it’s also been quite a curiosity, leaving me to wonder where exactly those sweaters come. At first I suspected they were just something that the players might have ordered for themselves to wear on off days. But then a couple weeks back while watching a football game, the idea came to me that maybe the sweaters were some sort of warm up gear for the players, akin to the windbreakers and nylon jackets that we see today. With this in mind, I began searching and that one photo of Ruth and Gehrig quickly lead to others. Images of players sitting on the bench wearing cream colored cardigans covered in logos, team photos with all the players wearing identical navy sweaters, teams taking the field in matching shawl collar sweaters.