While the transitions to expansion, division play and the designated hitter proved seamless and inconsequential to the fundamentally rock-solid Baltimore Orioles, several of the Birds players didn’t care for the 1971 orange knit uniforms. Quickly discarded after wear in just two 1971 games (one in Baltimore, one in Cleveland), the 1971 orange knit jerseys are decidedly scarce and coveted in the circles of collectors. Here is one of only a handful of those jerseys!
Worn by first base coach George Staller during those two September 1971 contests, the orange knit button-down garment features the script-style “Orioles” angled across the chest in black-on-white twill and “48” sewn to the back and left front in like fashion. Black-and-white piping lines the collar, while black-white-and-black striped polyester lines the sleeve endings. Absent of any tagging, the jersey was manufactured by Powers Athletic of Waterloo, Iowa and distributed by Brooks Robinson Sporting Goods. In 1971, Robinson was part owner of a sporting goods store in suburban Baltimore and the company supplied a full set of all-orange uniforms to the Orioles. Not well-received by the players, the uniforms ended up at the club’s minor league complex in Florida where the names were stripped and the jerseys were used in the Florida State League or in minor league spring training. Even images of this style are rare. Easily the most famous is the group photo of 1971 20-Game winners Palmer, McNally, Cuellar and Dobson. The jersey shows moderate wear and of the five original buttons, one has been replaced and one is cracked. The uniqueness of this jersey is unquestionable. According to uniform expert Phil Wood, to date, less than five of these are known to exist in private collections. Accompanying is an LOA from Wood attesting to the item’s authenticity and true rarity.