Dating photographs hats
When Ruth struck his record-setting blast, Forner caught it.Afterward, he took the ball to the clubhouse, where the Yankee star not only signed it but added the date and achievement. Sometime earlier, the hatter had purchased – for a record price of 0 – another ball that had been signed by then-President Harding, Christy Mathewson ,and other luminaries during the Giants pitcher’s 1921 Polo Grounds farewell.The Warner family held onto the Ruth ball until the late 1940s, when it was given to the Baseball Hall of Fame.In 2011, the Mathewson ball sold for ,500 at a New Jersey auction. The last Inquirer advertisement mentioning his stores appeared that same year, a two-line help-wanted notice for a “girl cashier.” By then, tastes were changing, though, apparently, my mother failed to notice.Warner also conducted handicapping contests – hats were awarded to anyone who could pick all the winners on a night’s fight card.(Joe Harris, a Daily News handicapper for decades, was an early winner.) One baseball season, he promised free hats – a style that sold for .85 – to any major-leaguer who finished the season with a batting average at or above that number.A marketing genius, the diminutive Warner was among the first to recognize sports’ enormous potential to move merchandise.
Warner had latched onto the Yankees slugger in 1921, when Ruth set a home-run record with 59.
Frank Fitzpatrick has been an editor and writer at the Inquirer since 1980.
A onetime beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles, and Penn State football, he also has covered nine Olympics.
Splashy newspaper ads appeared almost daily on the sports pages. One Inquirer ad, from just before the October 1929 stock-market crash, included photographs of six Philadelphia Athletics stars in various Truly Warner styles.
“The House of Mack visits the Home of Truly Warner, 1307 Market Street, and selects their new Fall Bonnets,” read the accompanying copy.