Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Coolest Jersey You Didn't Know You Could Buy

One of the things that bothers me, as a fan of the Packers' Lambeau-era uniforms, is how thoroughly forgotten they have become by the team.

The navy and gold with gold shoulder yokes was the look which defined the Bays for much of their first three decades, including a couple World Championships.

You wouldn't know that, however, from looking around the Packers Pro Shop. The Packers sell all manner of Lombardi Green and Gold, and they have recently started showing some love (if not historical fealty) for the Acme Packers of 1921. But there's an awful lot of history between those two points, and it's largely being ignored.

Sure, you can buy a blue and gold Favre throwback jersey, but that's a 1994 throwback, not 1944. Mitchell & Ness has at times made Tony Canadeo jerseys - a 1949 navy and 1946 white - but those have been out of production for years.

Enter HR Derby. They're an outfit in western New York state, near Niagara Falls, specializing in throwback jerseys of all kinds. Aside from their website, they also maintain a store on eBay.

HR Derby carries the standard Mitchell & Ness baseball flannels, but also a line of custom-made historical football jerseys in a number of styles, but - and here's where it gets good - they also do custom orders, which means they can make just about any classic football jersey you want.

For years, I've been lobbying for a 1940s Hutson throwback over at the Database, but never with any success. So, finally given the opportunity to own one, I couldn't resist.

jersey front

It's absolutely stunning. Deep navy and vivid gold are a beautiful combination, sadly unused in the NFL today.

jersey back

Now, the design's not perfect. The gold yoke should be higher in the front, exposing some of the gold collar, as seen on this 1943 photo of (left to right) Tony Canadeo, Irv Comp, Lambeau and Hutson:

This low yoke is more reminiscent of the first 1937 version, as seen here on Arnie Herber and Hutson:

This wouldn't be a problem, except that it probably means that my 1940s numbers are inaccurate for this jersey. But that's fairly fine nitpicking.

I can't recommend these guys highly enough. But if you're thinking of ordering one yourself, you should be aware that the process takes a long time. HR Derby has the base jerseys themselves manufactured by Southland Athletics (who outfitted, among other NFL clubs, the Cowboys of the 1960s and 1970s), before HR Derby sews on the letters, numbers and other insignia.

Southland Athletic tag

This results in amazing quality but also means you have to wait until HR Derby compiles enough custom orders to meet Southland's minimum. In my case, it was about six months from the time I placed my order until delivery. I've heard of others having to wait longer than that. But once you actually receive the jersey, you'll find they're well worth the wait.

And heck, since Mitchell & Ness no longer sells Canadeo jerseys, HR Derby is picking up the slack there as well. This beauty (perhaps the same Southland batch as mine?) recently sold on their eBay store.

If anybody over at the Packer Pro Shop is reading this, you should really work out a deal with the guys at HR Derby. I know I'm not the only one who's been wanting one of these for a long, long time.


paulle33 said...

Today the classic logo is used on all the equipment bags and shaving kits that are issued to the players,coaches and staff for away games. U notice in the logo the cities of Green Bay and Milwaukee have a star over them. Of course thats when the Packers played their home games in Green Bay and Milwaukee

Anonymous said...

HR Derby is out of your self a favor and don't get your hopes up!

Chance Michaels said...

Thanks for the heads-up.

Such a shame; they did nice work.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I recommend hr derby as well. I have an absolutely great 1969 Browns Leroy Kelly white Jersey that I've worn to Browns games, complete with NFL 50 sleeve patch. Would like to still get the brown Jersey made, but they are hard to contact and you do have to wait some time for the finished product. -Kirk.