Philadelphia firm finds wool shirts hot again

MEMORABILIA

November 21, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Old-fashioned wool flannel baseball shirts, the kind worn until the 1970s, are hot.

That's good news for Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co., a Philadelphia firm that first made major-league uniforms in 1938.

It got out of the team uniform business in the 1970s but returned to flannels after someone brought in a couple of old shirts to be repaired in 1985. The company wondered if there was a market for old-style shirts and, after researching styles and fabrics, produced a small run. Now Mitchell & Ness offers more than 250 shirts, jackets, sweaters, caps and pennants covering the period from 1890 to 1969.

"The old-time shirts are made in an old-fashioned way," says Don Steele of Mitchell & Ness. "All the products we have are handmade in America. . . . It's not screen printing."

The company uses wool blends that were used in the 1960s by the major leagues because they're more durable than older blends.

Company president Peter Capolino says nostalgia has turned into fashion.

"Our company is dedicated to making historically accurate garments," he says. "Because nostalgia is hot and retro fashion is in, female buyers will make the fashion."

He says most women who buy the flannels buy large or extra large and have shirts that resemble mini-dresses.

The look isn't cheap: Prices begin at $175. The $5 catalog is a treasure trove of information on uniforms and baseball of a bygone era. For information, write Mitchell & Ness, 1229 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 or call (215) 592-6512.

All-Star shopping

Collectors who have recovered from the 1993 All-Star Game can turn their attention to next summer's game and the memorabilia available from the host Pittsburgh Pirates. Items range from pins and glassware to logo balls, pennants, shirts, caps and a Christmas tree ornament. Many items are under $10. For information, call (800) 333-1636.

Pro Set update

Pro Set, which has been operating under the Chapter 11 provisions of the bankruptcy code for the past 14 months, has filed a reorganization plan and expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year. The company has lost its license to produce the popular Parkhurst hockey cards. (Upper Deck got the license.) But its renamed Winston Cup series, Finish Line, was well-received by auto racing fans and was a sellout. Pro Set's fall lineup consists of its premium NFL card, Power, Pro Set NFL (due in early December) and Power Update (mid-December).

Quarterback bobbers

M. Phillips Ltd.'s latest trio of NFL bobbers includes quarterbacks Roger Staubach, Randall Cunningham and Troy Aikman. Each doll costs $39.95 and is limited to a run of 5,000. For every Staubach bobber sold, M. Phillips will donate $1 to the Naval Academy's athletic department. For information, call (415)

More big cards

Baseball season is over, but the cards keep coming. Upper Deck foil packs are back with a bonus -- large-format versions of popular insert sets: the 10-card 1990 Reggie Jackson Heroes set, the 15-card fifth anniversary set and the 27-card 1993 Walter Ioos Collection. Topps Full Shot is a 21-card set that includes Fred McGriff in his Atlanta uniform and National League Rookie of the Year Mike Piazza.

Coming events

Through Dec. 17, exhibit on Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Marquard, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.

Friday-next Sunday, card show to benefit St. Michaels Soccer Association (expected signer is Harold Baines), Talbot County Community Center (Route 50), Easton, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (410) 437-9927.

Saturday-next Sunday, card show to benefit Reisterstown Rec Council (expected signers include Rex Barney), Hannah More Park, Reisterstown, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4:30 p.m., (410) 833-5039.

CARD OF THE WEEK

Upper Deck brings its super-premium SP line to football with a 270-card set. Available in 12-card packs late this month, it will include more than 70 first-year players. Upper Deck says the print run will be 10 percent to 15 percent lower than that of Upper Deck football and will be sold only through hobby dealers. There is a 15-card All-Pro insert set.

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