May 25th, 2016 Summer Games Catalog Auction (#46)
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This lot is closed. Bidding ended on 5/26/2016.

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The 13-year career of New York Yankees center Field Joe DiMaggio is as accomplished as any player in Major League Baseball history. All 13 seasons saw DiMaggio named an American League All-Star and three times was named the American League MVP. The Yankees won nine World Series championships during that span and DiMaggio was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. There is the old adage that records are made to be broken in sports, but DiMaggio’s hitting streak continues to test that theory. From May 15th to July 17th in 1941, DiMaggio hit safely in 56-straight games and hit .408 (91-for-223) with 15 home runs and 55 RBI. The record still stands today and in the modern era no baseball player has come within 10 games of the feat. Inside on the rear collar is a “A.G. SPALDING BROS” manufacturer’s tag with a size “44” flag tag attached. Below is a flannel strip tag with “Joe DiMaggio” embroidered on it in navy blue chain-stitching. On the back is the player number “5” in navy blue felt lettering. These parts of the jersey are completely all-original as issued. These three components are the keys to any quality game-used jersey. On the chest is the Yankees’ “NY” logo in navy blue felt lettering, and much like the majority of the front of this jersey, it has been professionally restored. The new sections of the front of this shirt have been professionally woven in an extensive, conservation process. The restoration was done with an eye for preservation with period Yankees flannel just above the fifth button down to the shoulder seams and then again on the lower front tail and has an overall museum quality display. With the restoration work done to the front of the jersey, photo-matching has become a very difficult task due to the limited amount of available images. We believe this jersey was worn by DiMaggio in either the 1940 and/or 1941 season and not in 1942 for the following reasons:


In 1939, the name in the collar was embroidered in red stitching in addition to the year being sewn into the rear tail. Because this jersey has the original name in the neck, this leads us to believe this shirt was issued for use after the 1939 season.


In 1940, there are examples of Yankees jerseys with the year sewn into the tail as well as it being a transition year from red stitching to navy blue stitching for the player identification. In our opinion, these facts lead us to believe this shirt was likely issued for use for the 1941 season, which was DiMaggio’s most memorable.


The “HEALTH” patch embroidered in red and blue on white stitching on the left sleeve was put on all professional, farm level and even collegiate baseball jerseys in 1942. This was the logo of the Hale America initiative, which was basically a “Shape Up!” fitness program that arose in response to America’s entry into World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This patch is original to this shirt. This leads us to believe that the patch was added in 1942 at somewhere else other than the NY Yankees, most likely a Yankees minor league affiliate.


Since the player name in the collar and the player number “5” on the back are original, the patch (along with the logo restoration) indicates this jersey went from the Yankees to the minor league level and was then restored back it's pro-level appearance. Documented authentic exemplars of 1942 Yankees jerseys that have entered the hobby have a "42" year tag sewn onto the rear center tail. In addition to that year tag, there’s an updated Spalding manufacturer’s tag. A photo-matched 1942 DiMaggio example, which has been authenticated by Dave Grob, entered the hobby last year proving this is the case.


In conjunction with the facts above, this leads us to believe that this shirt was issued for use prior to the 1942 season. This jersey is properly tagged, was presented to us as game-used and in our opinion, shows outstanding use. Accompanied by an LOA from noted jersey enthusiast Dave Bushing, who states that he believes that this shirt was in-fact worn by DiMaggio prior to 1942 and may have very likely been issued for use in 1941. To the best of our knowledge there is no other home DiMaggio jersey that has surfaced which can be conclusively be tied to 1941 and this shirt may in-fact be one of the most significant entries in the past 10 years.

Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $25,000
Price Realized: $85,602
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Thursday, May 26, 2016.
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