See also : Sport Baseball Sport uniform Babe Ruth Lou Gehrig
Chronology : 1920
1920 Babe Ruth Road Jersey
2012 SOLD for $ 4.4M by SCP
The players used two jerseys, a home jersey for the games on their field and a road jersey for trips. A jersey could be used throughout one season or more, which further increases their rarity.
Compared to the next period, documents allowing photo-matching are scarce. The experts thus pay the greatest attention to the details of making which allow an identification of the year or a range of years, rather than on the shears in the textile or on misalignments in the inscriptions.
On May 19, 2012, SCP Auctions sold for $ 4.4M a game worn jersey of Babe Ruth. A photo of the champion made in March 1920 shows him with a jersey identical as this example.
This road jersey had been exhibited for many years at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore. Its New York Yankees front marking is dated circa 1920. The maker was Spalding.
In very good condition, it retains its original identification with the name of Ruth.
BABE RUTH BIRTHDAY: Today on January 6 1895 the greatest player to play the game of Baseball was born. Here is the best piece of Ruthian memorabilia sold by @SCPAuctions for $4,415,658 World record for a piece of sports memorabilia #Baberuth @baseballhall @Yankees @MLB #MLB pic.twitter.com/Z5BL5bA2DF— SCP Auctions (@SCPAuctions) February 6, 2018
1928-1929 Babe Ruth Road Jersey
2019 SOLD for $ 5.6M by Hunt
The 'Yankees' mark on the front side enables to date the garment between 1927 and 1930. A label inside the collar is marked 'Ruth'. A number 3 has been erased at some point while leaving some traces.
The photos of Babe Ruth in 1927 show another placement of the buttons. The photo-matching orients rather towards 1928 or 1929. It is in 1929 that the Yankees began to sew a number on the jerseys to facilitate the identification of the players by the public. Ruth had received the number 3.
UPDATE: Babe Ruth NY Yankees Jersey added to Ruth Collection Live Auction at @yankeestadium. Professional model Yankees Road Jersey Worn by the #Bambino dates to the 1928-30 era with Potential to Set World Record Pricing in Excess of $4,000,000! @NewYorkYankees #SultanofSwat @MLB pic.twitter.com/0dx9NChNR4— Hunt Auctions (@HuntAuctions) April 23, 2019
1931 Lou Gehrig Home Jersey
2020 SOLD for $ 1.44M by Christie's and Hunt
The New York Yankees players generally had two home jerseys and two road jerseys available for the entire season. The player's name was sewn in round letters on the inside of the collar next to the Spalding tag. The tight pattern of vertical blue stripes on the front of home jerseys makes photo-matching easier than on road jerseys.
On December 16, 2020, Christie's and Hunt sold as lot 46 for $ 1.44M a home jersey from Gehrig, photo-matched in April and September 1931.
This thick woolen flannel garment had been roughly handled, starting with the shortening of the sleeves in the summer of 1931. The thinning of the flannel at the shoulders was reworked. On the back, a vintage number 4 has been sewn back in place of the original 4 which had early disappeared. Reversely the absence of inscription on the front is in conformity with the original state. It was graded A6 by MEARS.
A few years later, more attention was paid to the conservation of such relics. Given to a friend by a Yankees manager, a 1937 Gehrig road jersey remains in excellent condition, rated A9 by MEARS. It was sold for $ 2.6M by Heritage in 2019.
1937 Lou Gehrig Road Jersey
2019 SOLD for $ 2.6M by Heritage
The retirement of Babe Ruth in 1935 increases the attention of the supporters to Lou Gehrig. In 1936 Lou even participates in a casting to replace Johnny Weissmuller in the role of Tarzan the Ape Man. On the field, 1936 and 1937 are great years with two consecutive victories of the Yankees in the World Series.
Around that time, players usually wore two home jerseys and two road jerseys per year. After the season it was customary to give the uniforms to a training club for young players where it was modified as needed.
A jersey game used by Lou Gehrig in 1937 and afterwards modified in a farm club was sold for $ 870K by Heritage on August 19, 2017. Its lower grade A6.5 by MEARS was outweighed by a historical appeal : it was matched with the photo used as a model for the Gehrig Monument at the Yankee Stadium Monument Park.
In June 2018 SCP reported that they had achieved the private sale of a road jersey of Lou Gehrig, photo-matched with two games from August 1937. Escaping the nursery clubs, it had been presented to a friend by George Weiss, general manager of the Yankees, and had been kept by the family. The 2018 price has not been disclosed.
The matching had been done by Resolution Photomatching, considering that the alignment to the seam and buttons of the stitched Y beginning the word YORK is different for each jersey.
The same jersey was sold for $ 2.6M by Heritage on August 17, 2019, lot 56059. A document demonstrating the photo-matching in the press release prepared in 2018 by Resolution Photomatching is included in the catalog of Heritage and the original provenance is also with George Weiss. It is graded A9 by MEARS and Excellent by SGC, meaning that the only changes from the Spalding model are consistent with the known habits of the player.
1937 Lou Gehrig Jersey
2017 SOLD for $ 870K by Heritage
With Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig the New York Yankees were unbeatable. The personalities of the two teammates were nevertheless remarkably opposed. Ruth was a rebel and Gehrig a stoic.
On May 2, 1939, after one year and a half of worsening of his physical condition, Lou renounces to play. From June 1, 1925 to April 30, 1939 he had realized with the Yankees the sensational performance of 2,130 consecutive games in major league. Nicknamed The Iron Horse he was an example for the youth in the sequel to Christy Mathewson. His number 4 was withdrawn on 4 July 1939 by the Yankees.
On July 4, 1941, five weeks after his death, Gehrig was the first player and the second person after the manager Miller Huggins to be honored with a monument at Yankee Stadium Monument Park.
The image in his plaque and in the 1941 ceremony ticket is copied from a photo made in 1937. The attitude, both smiling and melancholic, is typical of the great player, as if he was knowing in advance his incurable fate.
The flannel jersey worn by Lou Gehrig on this photo and visible on the plaque and on the ticket was retrieved. It had been worn out and modified through about 40 games with the champion in 1937 followed by an unregistered but probably intensive use in a farm club. A NY mark conforming to its 1937 style was sewn close to the location of the original mark that had been removed.
The photo-matching is incontestable. This jersey graded 6.5 by Mears has the value of a relic.
1947 Jackie Robinson Home Jersey
2017 SOLD for $ 2.05M by Heritage
At the closing ceremony of the championship on September 23, 1947, a photo shows Jackie in a baseball uniform alongside his wife and a friend.
That game worn home jersey was treasured for half a century at first by Jackie and then by his widow. A great symbol of the movement that will lead to racial equality in the United States, it was sold for $ 2.05M by Heritage on November 19, 2017, lot 50001. Please watch the video shared by Heritage. It bears the number 42 which will be withdrawn by the MLB 50 years later as a reminder of Robinson's break of the race barrier.
The 1947 season ends from September 30 to October 6 with the World Series where the Dodgers are defeated by the Yankees in the seventh match. Rickey's choice had been relevant : Jackie Robinson was able to resist all insults up to and including the MLB's most prestigious event and his sporting qualities made him named Rookie of the Year.
1956 Sandy Koufax Jersey
2020 SOLD for $ 750K by Heritage
He was born in Brooklyn, in the vicinity of the Ebbets Field of the Dodgers with whom he debuted in MLB in 1955. The race barrier had been broken by the Dodgers in 1947 with Jackie Robinson. The hiring of Sandy Koufax, who was Jewish, was also appreciated in that cosmopolitan neighborhood.
His jerseys from the Brooklyn era, before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, are extremely rare. Two road grey jerseys worn by Sandy Koufax in 1955 have been auctioned : a MacGregor 1955 Set 1 for $ 570K by Heritage on February 21, 2015, and a Rawlings for $ 670K by Lelands on June 30, 2017. These two pieces are graded A9.5 by MEARS.
Heritage sold for $ 750K on August 29, 2020 as lot 80047 a home jersey of the Dodgers by Rawlings, marked Set 1 1956. It is characterized by cut short sleeves in the new fashion of that season for the Dodgers. It bears the number 32 assigned to Koufax, just like the two examples above, and was signed and dated by the player. It is in excellent condition apart from the loss of a button and some soiling at the tail and has been graded A9 by MEARS.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1958 Mickey Mantle Home Jersey
2023 SOLD for $ 4.7M by Heritage
In 1956 he was the Most Valuable Player with 52 home runs and an average of .353. He became the 12th batter in history to win the Major League Triple Crown, meaning that he was the best in the three categories : batting average, home runs and runs batted in. He was recognized by the Associated Press as the Athlete of the Year for all sports combined. He was again rewarded as American League MVP in 1957.
For that period, the photo-matching of New York Yankees jerseys is easy. The logo on the chest is composed of an N and a Y with curved branches, individually sewn by hand. Each piece is easily recognizable in the photos by the respective position of the two letters and by their positioning over the vertical stripes of the garment.
On January 23, 2020, Mile High Card sold as lot 1 for $ 650K a Spalding flannel home jersey dated 1955, on which the central bar of the N forms a narrow angle with the upper left bar of the Y. It is narrated in the pre sale article shared on January 1 by Sports Collector Daily.
This garment is matched with all of Mantle's photos in the Yankees Stadium from March 1956 to July 1956, with no prior use. The auction house estimates that Mantle achieved 17 homers with this jersey.
It is completely authentic except the large number 7 on the back which is not original. Such an alteration was a standard practice when a jersey obsoleted by a player was offered to a lower league club. It is graded A7 by MEARS.
A pinstriped home jersey got seven photo-matchings in 1958-1959 by Resolution Photomatching, starting with an award ceremony at the Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1958. Having never been modified for lower league action, this garment is fully original excepted one button. It is graded Superior/Superior-Excellent by SGC equivalent to 9.5 in numerical grading. The dark navy felt logo on the chest and the number 7 on the back are in the original position.
This piece of uniform was sold for $ 4.7M from a lower estimate of $ 4M by Heritage on August 19, 2023, lot 80094. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The NY Yankees were World Champions in 1958 but Mickey Mantle finished only on fifth position for the 1958 American League MVP award.
1964 Mickey Mantle World Series Jersey
2018 SOLD for $ 1.32M by Heritage
The home run scored by Babe Ruth in the Third Game of 1932 is unforgettable, first by Ruth's defiance or victory gesture even before holding his bat, and then because this fifteenth and last homer scored by Ruth in World Series was a record.
To equal and then exceed a record set by Ruth is an enviable feat. Mickey Mantle ran his 15th World Series homer in 1963.
In 1964 the World Series was won in 7 games by the St. Louis Cardinals against the New York Yankees. The three homers scored by Mantle were not enough to defeat the Cardinals but they set his record at 18 homers. This was Mantle's last World Series performance because the Yankees failed to qualify until his retirement as a player in 1968.
Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 were played in St. Louis and games 3 to 5 in New York. Mantle's homers were split between both sites, in games 3, 6 and 7. On August 18, 2018, Heritage sold for $ 1.32M from an estimate of $ 750K a jersey worn by Mickey Mantle, photo-matched with games 6 and 7, lot 80055. It is graded A9 by MEARS.
It was a common practice for the Yankees to wear new uniforms for the World Series. This jersey is therefore not photo-matched with previous games. A laundry mark indicates that it has also been prepared for the following season.
In an interview with Sports Collectors Daily during the National Sports Collectors Convention, the Heritage Auctions specialist underlines the extreme rarity of this type of piece. Please watch this video.
1968 Mickey Mantle Road Jersey
2022 SOLD for $ 2.2M by Heritage
On September 19, 1968, the New York Yankees meet the Detroit Tigers. The absolute classification on that date is led by Ruth and Willie Mays with Foxx and Mickey Mantle sharing the third position with 534 homers each.
Since his rookie year in 1951, The Mick is a very popular player but at 37 years old in 1968 he has lost much of his effectiveness. During the game with Detroit, he holds the bat while the pitcher is one of his fervent admirers, Denny McLain, a strong personality who is not afraid of controversy. McLain launches an easy ball to Mantle and The Mick achieves his 535th homer with which he can finally overtake Foxx.
There was nothing illegal in this complacent pitch despite a wink by the Tiger when The Mick reached the third base. McLain will be reprimanded by the Major League Baseball Commissioner. Mantle will achieve before the end of that year his 536th and final homer.
These records have been exceeded many times : Mickey Mantle is currently in 13th position for the number of homers in Major League. His difficult end of life is forgotten and he has become again the symbol of the post-war American dream.
The road grey jersey worn by Mantle against the Tigers was autographed by him on the upper chest to a friend and signed "The Mick". This fully unaltered uniform with moderate game wear is graded A10 by MEARS. It was sold by Heritage for $ 490K on February 25, 2017, lot 80014, and for $ 850K on August 29, 2020, lot 80050.
Tentatively associated also with Mantle's final MLB game with the Yankees on September 20 in Boston, it was sold for $ 2.2M by Heritage on February 26, 2022, lot 80087. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.