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1964 Willie Mays Game Worn Fielder's Glove....

2009 April Signature Vintage Sports Memorabilia Auction #714

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Auction Ended On: Apr 24, 2009
Item Activity: 4 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1964 Willie Mays Game Worn Fielder's Glove. A decade after recording the most famous defensive play in the history of Major League Baseball, a World Series Game One feat of athleticism so brilliant that it is remembered simply as "The Catch," the Hall of Fame Giants center fielder was still proving his mastery with the leather, earning his eighth of a dozen career Gold Gloves. Though the terrain had changed, the center field acreage much diminished with the move from the Polo Grounds to Candlestick Park, Mays was forced to contend with the swirling winds churned from San Francisco Bay, bone-chilling cold and even the occasional intrusion of fog as thick as pea soup. Despite these obstacles, Mays always made it look easy, with speed to catch up to any fly ball and an arm to get it back to the infield in a hurry.

Presented is one of the rare few fielder's gloves owned and used by the legendary Hall of Famer to enter the hobby, a picture-perfect specimen with complete fidelity to Mays' preferred specifications and marvelous provenance to boot. The "Rawlings XPG 6 X" professional model glove exhibits terrific season-long wear, with a soft "Deep Well" pocket and sweat-darkened leather where the glove made contact with Mays' left hand. A vintage number "24" appears in marker on the exterior thumb, with "24 Willie Mays" applied in the same marker to the pinky and ring finger.

The glove comes to us from the son of National League umpire Doug Harvey, the same source which provided this auction with the incredible Sandy Koufax game worn fielder's glove. A notarized letter of provenance from the senior Harvey reads, "This letter verifies that the glove signed "Willie Mays" with the number "24" was given to me by Willie Mays during the 1964 baseball season. My crew chief was Jocko Conlan, and it was the third year of my umpiring career in the National League of Professional Baseball. I asked Willie for a signed baseball, and he sent the glove instead of a ball to my dressing room in a paper sack. I gave the glove to my son, Scott Harvey, for his birthday." In order to clear up any potential confusion, the glove is not actually "signed" by Mays--Harvey is simply referring to the markered "Willie Mays" identifier on the glove.

Fielder's gloves remain the most elusive prey for hunters of vintage game used baseball artifacts, and it's easy to understand why. While players were issued multiple uniforms and dozens of bats each season, most typically a player would use just one fielder's glove for the entirety of a season, and often beyond. The supply of such relics is unquestionably the smallest of all game equipment. And when one considers a short list of the greatest defensive ballplayers of all time, it's a certainty that you'll find Willie Mays' name near or at the top. Letter of provenance from Doug Harvey. Letter of provenance from Scott Harvey. Letter of authenticity from Joe Phillips.

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