As a kid, Jerry Cohen, founder of Seattle-based cataloger Ebbets Field Flannels, was enthralled by baseball uniforms. Even today, while some fans are dazzled by the trajectory of a Mark McGwire home run or the blinding speed of a Roger Clemens fastball, for Cohen it’s all about the apparel. His catalog reflects his passion: Launched in 1988, it sells reproductions of vintage uniforms for college and professional baseball, hockey, and football leagues.
So when Ebbets Field signed an exclusive marketing agreement with century-old sporting goods and uniforms manufacturer Stall & Dean Manufacturing Co. in spring 2001, it had special meaning for Cohen. “What makes this agreement so remarkable is that Stall & Dean originally manufactured many of the items we reproduce in our catalog,” he says.
The deal gives Ebbets Field exclusive use of the Stall & Dean name, as well as its considerable library of artifacts and photos. The photos are sprinkled liberally throughout Ebbets Field’s fall/winter catalog, about 300,000 copies of which the company mailed during the holiday season. Ebbets Field pays a fee to use the Stall & Dean name, but Cohen wouldn’t specify how much. The cataloger also has the uniform specifications, logos, and designs of Stall & Dean cofounder C.H. Dean.
Now that Ebbets Field has access to Stall & Dean’s library, Cohen plans to slowly introduce new product lines. For instance, the company will debut a basketball catalog in the spring. The new book will feature vintage reproductions of pre-NBA uniforms from the 1920s and 1930s, Cohen says.