An unsung hero throughout his Motown tenure, former third baseman Don Wert earned “Mr. Tiger” honors (1965) and an All-Star Game selection (1968) in the sizable shadows of teammates Kaline and Cash (among others). During Wert’s first six big league seasons (1963-1968) he wore this Tigers road ensemble as his club rose to American League prominence. Tailored by the Brooks Robinson Sporting Goods Co., the gray flannel ensemble features proper felt identifiers. In 1965, it was Wert who became the lone third baseman during the decade to interrupt Robinson’s run of fielding percentage titles. Thus, it’s ironic that Wert wore game apparel with Robinson’s name and likeness on the label. But it was common for visiting teams to request “emergency” uniforms from Robinson’s company, who supplied name-brand garments from industry giants. This particular uniform shows moderate wear and, to Wert’s recollection, was the only one he was allowed to retain, as uniforms were returned to the team at the end of each season and re-distributed the following spring. Hand-written LOA from Don Wert. More on our website.
The uniform includes: Jersey a gray flannel button-down garment with “DETROIT” arched across the chest in navy blue twill and “8” sewn to the back and left sleeve in like fashion. On the left front tail, a “Brooks Robinson Sporting Goods” label is accompanied by a size “44” tag and the rear tail’s interior is home to a union label. There are four holes (as tailored) under each arm to facilitate ventilation; Pants gray flannel leg wear with a four-button fly, six belt hoops and two canvas-lined back pockets. Within the waistband, (2) flap tags respectively denote “36” and “24.” Additionally, there is a union label and a black marker notation of “8.” Also included is a pair of white cotton socks and blue knit stirrup socks. All original and unaltered, the items show moderate wear.
In addition to a handwritten LOA from Wert, we have obtained confirmation from former Brooks Robinson Sporting Goods Co. employee Bruce Genther, who offered the following correspondence:
”At Brooks Robinson Sporting Goods we often produced jerseys for players during their road trips to Baltimore. The reasons vary, but every once in a while, we would get a frantic request from the Orioles or from the visiting teams equipment manager to produce a jersey that had either been recently recalled from the minors or recently obtained via trade.
Many times visiting team equipment managers would only carry several extra jerseys and since Brooks Robinson was on the Advisory Board of Rawlings Sporting Goods in St. Louis and we also carried other major league uniform brands (i.e., Wilson, Spalding, MacGregor etc.) we could usually find a flannel jersey in the stock room (especially a grey road jersey like the Tigers wore in 1968 – plain jersey without any trim and plain block letters on the front in navy felt and a four inch plain block number on the right sleeve and a plain block navy felt number on the back). We had the capability to duplicate the lettering or numbering styles of any team and then hand cut the letters and numbers out of navy felt, apply to the jersey, have the letters and numbers sewn quickly and then of course add the brooks Robinson Sporting Goods label to the jersey front.”