The Shawl-Collared Baseball Cardigan For RL Magazine


My latest piece for Ralph Lauren Magazine is on the shawl-collared cardigan, which was the favored warm-up gear for baseball players from about 1900-1930. Origins of exactly how and why the shawl cardigan became associated with baseball are murky, and very few of the sweaters survive outside of photographs. I was able to talk to several baseball historians, including MLB’s official, in an effort to shed some light on the handsome sweaters, which were eventually supplanted by woolen varsity-type jackets.

Pegged on Babe Ruth, the piece is entitled “The Sweater That Ruth Wore.” Above is one of RL’s recent recreations, while below is the Babe in one of his Yankees sweaters. — CC


14 Comments on "The Shawl-Collared Baseball Cardigan For RL Magazine"

  1. Richard E. Press | April 9, 2014 at 11:23 am |

    Imagine the Babe replacing NY with RL.

  2. The problem with these pieces is that they work in historical context, but outside it they fall hard. Regardless, RL knows it is a niche item and will profit accordingly from it.

  3. A.E.W. Mason | April 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm |

    Lords Cardigan and Raglan didn’t exactly perform brilliantly at Balaclava, but perhaps they made up for it with their respective contributions to style.

    L Cardi

  4. RL has in the past offered great wool shaker knit sweaters like the one pictured above, some with “patches”, some not. FYI, the patches easily come off.

    Two of my favorite sweaters are late 1970s RL shawl sweaters, one navy, the other cream, neither have “patches”. I’d own the one pictured sans “patch”.

  5. I’m guessing on the timing, but a Lexington, KY based company called J. Peterman offered a very nice reproduction of these sweaters from about 2008-2012. Gray with an Old English P on the front. It turns out Mr. Peterman was a minor leaguer in the Pittsburgh Pirates organisation in the late 1960’s. Really enjoy all your historical pieces.

  6. That crest is vomitous. As a Red Sox fan, I’d rather wear the Yankees sweater.

  7. Christian, you must know some marketing types at RL. I would love to get feedback/stats on, “Are these RL crests really selling garments or primarily used for branding/ad shots?” I can’t imagine them selling well.

  8. Those crests are for ghetto-appeal . . .

  9. The Bambino wouldn’t turn any heads today if you saw him on the street. Some looks are just timeless. Smoking, for example, always seems to make whatever you’re wearing several factors cooler.

  10. Mcgill sweater Mcgill crest altered, check this out
    scroll down.
    I love the shoppers who work for RL

  11. I love how this look, especially with the neck tie and ves under. I wish ralph would come out with more, and hilfiger also. Even this in a different color i would buy them all. Looks very ivy league. check this one out, it started out at $1,500.

  12. Christopher Hosford | September 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm |

    It’s a good look, but, as a former Division I varsity athlete I have a built in prejudice against the hoi polloi wearing ersatz varsity gear. Just me, but it rankles unless I know it’s earned. Also, would love to know who the dapper gent is to the Babe’s left.

  13. Vern Trotter | January 3, 2018 at 1:06 am |

    Christopher Hosford,

    The player with Ruth is Al Devormer, a back up catcher with the Yankees in the early 1920s. I believe the location is Saratoga NY but I am not certain about that.

    The Babe started out as a catcher, then a pitcher before full time outfielder. Likely he bonded with the catcher.

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