Rickey, Steinbrenner, Yogi and other Yankees dress in classic uniforms belonging to collector Barry Halper (Photos by Richard Pilling – sorry for the poor scanning quality)
Looking through some of my old Sporting News preview guides the other night, I came across this interesting photo set from the 1985 issue. The article, called “Uniforms of Yesteryear”, tells the story of Barry Halper, a New Jersey businessman and collector who, at the time of the article, owned more than 800 classic uniforms, including 146 worn by Hall of Famers such as Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Joe DiMaggio.
Somehow, the good folks at TSN were able to get together a group of Yankees to pose in some of the more impressive uniforms. The players, as you can see in the image above, were even kind enough to don false mustaches for the photo shoot (oh, and sorry for the poor quality of the scan… it’s the best I could do right now). In that photo, George Steinbrenner is wearing the tuxedo and hat of former Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert. You can also see Barry Halper himself at the far left in a camel-hair coat originally owned by Babe Ruth.
The rest of the photo set focuses on the individual players. Sadly, there is no second picture of the Boss. Instead, we’ll just have to be content with the following (and, again, sorry for the scan quality):
- Yogi Berra, in John McGraw’s 1905 World Series uniform
- Rickey Henderson, in Ty Cobb’s 1914 Tigers uniform
- John (The Count) Montefusco, in Cy Young’s 1903 Boston Americans uniform
- Jeff Torborg, in Shoeless Joe Jackson’s 1919 White Sox uniform
- Mike Armstrong, in Pud Galvin’s 1879 Buffalo uniform
And, as an added bonus, Woody Harrelson George Brett wearing an old Red Sox uniform of Babe Ruth’s.
According to Wikipedia, Halper’s collection was sold in 1998. Major League Baseball bought many of the items and donated them to the Hall of Fame. The other items were sold via auction through Sotheby’s, collecting almost $22 million. The FBI did end up investigating some of the pieces as stolen. No matter what, though, at least we were given the treat of seeing Rickey Henderson, Yogi Berra, and George Steinbrenner wear turn-of-the-century unis *and* false mustaches. It doesn’t get much better than that.