Thirty-eight years of age when he broke into the major leagues, Bob Thurman was one of those unfortunate players with a career that overlapped the end of the Negro Leagues and the beginning of integrated baseball, and therefore he never received proper credit for his accomplishments. Thurman's career batting average ballooned from .246 to .271 with the addition of three seasons with the Homestead Grays, but even that doesn't tell the entire story. Thurman was offered a contract with the Grays based on his exploits playing ball with the U.S. Army in the Philippines, and also starred with the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rican winter league. After his contract was sold to the New York Yankees, Thurman toiled in the minor leagues for four seasons, his contract transferred to the Chicago Cubs, who appeared not ready to integrate.
In the early 1950s, Thurman, feeling he had reached a dead end in his pursuit of a job in the majors, agreed to a lucrative contract with a new professional league in the Dominican Republic. There, he led the league in home runs and RBI, but was suspended from organized baseball until he returned in 1955. After hitting .323 with 14 home runs in the Puerto Rican winter league, playing with the Crabbers alongside Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds, beginning his major league career at the age of 38. Despite his major league career ending in 1959, he continued for six more seasons in the minor leagues. But he played his best baseball in the Puerto Rican winter league, where he is the league's all-time home run hitter, and a member of the Hall of Fame.
Presented here is an incredible complete uniform from the "Estrallas Importadas" - a Puerto Rican All-Star team, identifying Thurman as an "import" from outside Puerto Rico. According to Carribean baseball expert Ryan Christoff of Cuban Baseball Auctions, the Puerto Rican league divided their All-Stars into domestic vs. imports for a few seasons, and it is likely that this uniform dates to 1955-56.
Included here is a heavy flannel jersey and pants, white socks and red stirrups, a classic baseball undershirt, and a pair of heavy long johns (for those frigid Puerto Rico afternoons). All exhibit heavy signs of wear, with some tiny holes (particularly in the underclothes). Felt lettering bearing Thurman's name and uniform number are applied to the reverse of the jersey, his number 11 in bold red against the link pinstripes. The Empire brand five-button jersey is in outstanding condition, with some stains and signs of wear and a few repairs. Some blue staining appears on the jersey and the pants, which are well-worn. Similar blue staining appears on the undershirt, a three-button Rawlings model with 3/4 sleeves. With a full LOA from MEARS, an outstanding full Puerto Rican Winter League all-star uniform, from that league's all-time home run king.