Every baseball player yearns to play in the World Series. From those early years spent playing tee-ball and Little League to more competitive games played on the collegiate and minor league levels, it’s every ballplayer’s dream to compete in the Fall Classic.
Likewise, for baseball collectors, there are perhaps no more sought-after pieces of memorabilia than those that commemorate a World Series game. Better yet, a World Series win. And the older the better. As Major League Baseball closes in on its 113th postseason – remember, no World Series was played in either 1904 (business rivalry) or 1994 (players’ work stoppage) – it’s the perfect time to look at a valuable postseason item that’s headed for auction later this month. The piece in question was worn by the late, great “Joltin’ Joe” DiMaggio nearly 71 years ago.
The 1947 MLB campaign produced its fair share of notable moments, none bigger than Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier on April 15 to become a fixture in the Brooklyn Dodgers lineup on his way to earning a well-deserved induction into Cooperstown. But as with every season, it’s the last team standing that gets the most recognition and in ‘47, DiMaggio’s Yankees outlasted Robinson’s Dodgers in a classic seven-game battle.
After dropping the first two games of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, Robinson and “Dem Bums” battled back to take Games 3 and 4 at Ebbets Field. It was in Game 5, however, on October 4, when DiMaggio made his mark. Stepping up to the plate with the score tied at one in the fifth inning, DiMaggio belted a solo home run to left field. It proved to be the deciding run as the Yankees prevailed, 2-1. From that very contest comes one of the Yankee Clipper’s game-worn jerseys. Also signed by the Yankee Clipper with signature authentication provided by PSA/DNA, the coveted jersey goes up for sale on September 26 via Heritage Auctions.
There is one catch, however: It is NOT the same jersey he wore in the pivotal fifth inning at-bat.
Per Heritage’s catalog description:
“For reasons known only to DiMaggio himself, he had changed jerseys by the time he victimized Bums ace Rex Barney with that fifth inning long ball, and nowhere else in the Series or in the subsequent season do we find the Hall of Fame center fielder wearing this garment, capping its full service to baseball royalty at four innings maximum. One suspects that the jersey felt either uncomfortable or unlucky to DiMaggio, but the unique shape of the letters “W” and “R” in “NEW YORK,” and the particular placement of the “Y” in relation to the button nearest to it, are unmistakable in early game footage, establishing this as one of a literal handful of unaltered, photo matched Joe DiMaggio gamers.”
Despite not being the home run jersey, it nevertheless remains a World Series gamer worn by the Yankees’ legend. It is one he wore in a game in which his masterful swing proved to be the difference. That makes it a valuable piece of baseball memorabilia and MLB history. Pre-auction estimates have the jersey fetching as much as $400,000. The beautiful autograph included, which was penned by DiMaggio in bold blue sharpie shortly before his death in 1999, only adds to its allure and collectibility.
“We see hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘Joe D’ autographs every year, but rarely do we find his autograph on something so personal and of such great significance as this item,” explained PSA Principal Authenticator Kevin Keating. “This signed jersey of the Yankee Clipper, photo-matched to a World Series game, is profoundly special and represents a rare opportunity for someone to acquire a historical treasure, the likes of which is normally found only in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
The online auction closes on Friday, October 19. Any pre-sale estimates from the fans?