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1938-39 Bob Feller Game Worn Cleveland Indians Jersey....

2011 November 10-11 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction- Dallas #7041

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Auction Ended On: Nov 11, 2011
Item Activity: 12 Internet/mail/phone bidders
2,635 page views
Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1938-39 Bob Feller Game Worn Cleveland Indians Jersey. He credited his arm strength to hard work on the Van Meter, Iowa farm where he grew up, entering the Majors as a fire-throwing seventeen-year old phenom with the 1936 Cleveland Indians. So Bob Feller was not yet twenty at the time the Indians issued this home white flannel to the future Hall of Famer for what would be a breakout 1938 season. Feller nearly doubled his innings pitched for 1938, winning seventeen games and setting an American League record with 240 strikeouts. In 1939, the historic season that saw the debut of Ted Williams, the farewell of Lou Gehrig and the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rapid Robert set the American League strikeout mark again, adding to it a League-best twenty-four victories and equal number of complete games.

We believe that Feller wore this jersey for both the 1938 and 1939 Cleveland Indians seasons, as the outline of a Baseball Centennial patch on the left sleeve would suggest. The patch had been stripped for minor league secondary usage, as was the logo "C" over the heart, replaced with an "F" for the Fargo-Moorhead (ND) Twins of the Class D league where a minor leaguer received the shirt as a hand-me-down. The consignor has taken steps to have each of these farm club alterations undone, acquiring a genuine vintage Centennial patch for the sleeve and carefully aging the red and black felt letter "C" logo over the heart to match the original rear number "19." It is on the jersey verso that we find the "38" year attribution, in the form of red digits embroidered directly into the jersey tail.

A quick check of the 1938 roster will indicate that Feller in fact wore number "14" for the 1938 season, switching to the number "19" for which he is best known (and which is retired by the Indians) for 1939. This fact, along with the previously discussed Centennial patch, strongly indicates second-season Major League usage, and that the present digits are a 1939 team-instituted change. Matching the tail's year attribution is a red embroidered "Bob Feller" sewn directly into the flannel of the interior collar. Proper "Spalding [size] 42" tagging is located below. Solid wear is evident throughout, with a few minor stains doing little to distract the eye. Matching Indians pants not attributed to Feller are included.

Hall of Fame flannels will always enjoy a devoted and active collecting base, and those rare few pre-war specimens will intensify the attention even further. But a pre-war gamer from the first great season of the era's most dominant pitcher, the earliest Feller representation known, turns this opportunity into a once-in-a-lifetime event. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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