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1945-46 Stan Musial Game Worn US Navy Baseball Uniform....

2013 November 7 - 9 Sports Collectible Catalog Auction - Dallas #7085

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Auction Ended On: Nov 8, 2013
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1945-46 Stan Musial Game Worn US Navy Baseball Uniform. The young Cardinals superstar bravely enlisted in the defense of his nation on January 23, 1945, and while the turning tide of the Second World War resulted in his assignment to non-combat duties, the horrors of the conflict were never far from Musial's mind. In June of 1945, he was shipped to Hawaii where he would work on a ferry launch unit bringing damaged warships back into the docks of Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese threw down the gauntlet three and a half years earlier to draw the United States into the bloody conflict.

It was in the shadow of the sunken USS Arizona that Musial worked to keep morale high for those sailors and soldiers bound for or returning from the Pacific theater, sporting this road grey flannel uniform that is arguably even more historically significant than the birds and bat models he wore as he charted his path to Cooperstown immortality in the Majors. The design is fittingly sedate for the times, a simple block lettered "Navy" arching across the chest and the unfamiliar number "14" on verso, evidence that Musial got no special treatment, even in the choice of his jersey number. The garment shows strong wear and some scattered staining deriving either from play or storage, but there are no holes, tears or other structural issues. The matching pants are similarly tagged "Wilson [size] 36" at interior waistband and show even stronger evidence of play, with staining from infield clay as well as other effects, and an unrepaired tear in the seat.

In his famous January 1942 "Green Light Letter" to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a compelling, and ultimately successful, argument that baseball should continue on in spite of the War, writing in part, "I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before. And that means that they outhg to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than ever before." And while the loss to military service of legends like Musial, DiMaggio and Williams certainly altered the level of competition, the dedication of these men to their country strengthened the important belief that all Americans were in this together. Certainly we are unlikely to ever see our modern athletic superstars make a similar sacrifice. And while the jersey could be seen to represent the reason for his absence from the 500 Home Run Club, it is also a tangible tribute, unlike any other, to Musial's famous nickname. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Letter of provenance from Musial Family.
Letter of provenance from the Musial family.

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Heritage was thoroughly professional, and sensitive, in the handling of this portion of my collection.
David Ganz (Distinguished Past President of the American Numismatic Association),
New York, NY
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