Wednesday, November 25, 2015

1929-30 New York Americans Moe Roberts Jersey

After playing junior hockey for the Boston Unicorns of the United States Amateur Hockey Association in 1924-25, goaltender Moe Roberts made his NHL debut on December 8, 1925 substituting for the injured Doc Stewart in a 3-2 Bruins win against the Montreal Maroons while he was the Bruins practice goalie and stick boy! Roberts was a mere 19 years old at the time, making him the youngest goaltender to ever play in the NHL, a record which would stand for nearly twenty years until the 17 year old Harry Lumley made his debut for the New York Rangers in 1943-44.

Roberts would play one additional game for the Bruins on December 11th, a 5-3 loss to the short-lived Pittsburgh Pirates before Stewart was fit to return.

 photo Roberts Boston Bruins.jpg
Moe Roberts set an NHL record for being the league's
youngest player which stood for 18 years

Roberts then spent the seven seasons in the Canadian-American Hockey League, beginning with the New Haven Eagles in 1926-27 with a 18-14-0 record and a 2.00 goals against average. After one more season with New Haven, Roberts joined the Philadelphia Arrows beginning with the 1928-29 season. Oddly, he had a losing 12-21-7 record that season despite a 1.76 goals against.

For the 1929-30 season, his goals against average rose more than a goal per game to 2.94, but his record improved to 20-18-2 as the Arrows found their offensive game, doubling their season total from 60 to 120.

Roberts would spend one more season with the Arrows in 1930-31 before returning to New Haven for the 1931-32 season. He also returned to the NHL for one game with the New York Americans on March 10, 1932 to replace an injured Roy Worters, a 5-1 win over the rival New York Rangers.

After playing the 1932-33 season for New Haven, Roberts joined the Cleveland Indians of the IHL for the 1933-34 season. He was limited to 35 games as he was recalled by the Americans of the NHL for another 6 games.

Moe Roberts Indians photo MoeRobertsIndians.jpg
This photo is signed with Roberts' given name "Maurice", but we question, based on the hairline and shape of the players face, if this really is Roberts during his time with the Cleveland Indians in 1933-34

He would play the entire 1934-35 season with the newly renamed Cleveland Falcons before an unsettled 1935-36 season where Roberts played 13 games for the Falcons, 1 game for the Syracuse Stars and 15 for the Rochester Cardinals, all of the IHL.

Roberts Rochester photo Roberts Barons 2.png
Roberts during his brief spell with Rochester

The Falcons were renamed the Cleveland Barons for the 1937-38 season and Roberts would play for the Barons for the next six seasons, where Roberts enjoyed a run of success with four winning and one .500 record during the six, which included Calder Cup championships in both 1939 and 1941.

Roberts played the majority of the 1941-42 season with the Barons as well as 3 games with the Pittsburgh Hornets after 16 seasons before his military obligations with the United States Navy due to World War II took him away from the game.

Roberts Barons photo Roberts Barons.png
Roberts won two Calder Cups with the Barons

Five years after his last game, Roberts suited up for 24 games for the Washington Lions of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League before retiring from active play.

He returned to the game as the arena manager of the Milwaukee Gulls of the USHL in 1950-51 and then became the assistant team trainer for the Chicago Black Hawks the following season, which included putting on the pads during practice.

It was while on the Black Hawks staff on this date in 1951 that their goaltender Lumley, the same player who broke Roberts record as the youngest goaltender in NHL history, was injured in a game against the Detroit Red Wings. Roberts was pressed into service on an emergency basis 18 years after his last NHL appearance, setting a record as the oldest player in NHL history, which stood until Gordie Howe surpassed him in 1979. Roberts remains the oldest goaltender in league history.

Roberts final NHL totals were 10 games played with a 3-5 record and records at one time for being both the youngest and oldest players in the NHL. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.

Today's featured jersey is a 1929-30 New York Americans Moe Roberts jersey. We will admit, this photo gives us some trouble. Roberts only played for the Americans in 1931-32 and 1933-34, but during those seasons, according to our favorite source, the Americans wore jerseys with "AMERICANS" across the front with less sleeve stripes beginning in 1930-32.

Roberts is pictured here with a jersey featuring "NEW YORK" as the main cresting, which was used by the franchise from 1925-26 through 1929-30, all of which had more sleeve stripes, including several thin ones as pictured below.

Based on the pattern of striping on the body below the "NEW YORK", one stripe of one color with all the stripes below being a different color, we believe this was the style worn by the Americans from 1927-28 to 1929-30 and photographed with a blue filter, which would render the red areas darker and the blue areas lighter. We then colorized the photo to reflect this belief.

Now, why would Roberts be wearing a two year old 1929-30 jersey in 1931-32? Were teams not quite so fussy back then? Would a one game call up be given whatever spare jersey was around? Would a one game call up even be photographed in the first place? Perhaps this picture is from 1933-34 when Roberts was with the team for six games, making this 1929-30 jersey even more of an anomaly. We have our favorite opinion, but no way of knowing the real story behind this discrepancy.

Roberts New York Americans photo Roberts  Americans 2.jpg

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