Rajah hangs on to his lucky uniform...and it comes through for him1961 Roger Maris 61st Home Run Game Worn New York Yankees Pants. In the game of baseball word association, the call of "1961" will always elicit the response of "Roger Maris," but we'd do well to remember that that historic sixty-one home run season was actually the continuation of a torrid streak that had begun upon the humble North Dakotan's arrival in the Bronx a season earlier. This is a pair of pinstriped flannel pants worn during that first season at the House that Ruth Built, one in which the new arrival topped all American Leaguers with 112 runs batted in and a .581 slugging average to claim the Most Valuable Player Award.
But that's only part of the story.
Major League ballplayers are a notoriously superstitious breed, cautious of changing anything at all while on a hot streak for the fear of upsetting the cosmic energy that's held in balance by quirks of habit or dress. One can't help but wonder if this factored into the reappearance of Roger Maris' lucky 1960 uniform within his 1961 New York Yankees wardrobe. While multi-season wear was certainly not unprecedented in the Yankees clubhouse, or in any number of others, the vast majority of Big League uniforms saw secondary use at the minor league level instead.
The most noteworthy exception unearthed to contradict this rule of thumb unearthed in the modern hobby proved to involve Maris himself. Almost a decade ago, a savvy collector's study of his pinstriped number "9" jersey with 1960 date tagging proved to be a perfect match to photography from the October 1, 1961 game in which the Yankee outfielder claimed the single season home run record. Did Maris save his 1960 uniforms because he had won the American League MVP in them, thinking they held magic he could harness for 1961? And, even more importantly, was he right?
That jersey realized a price of $302,000 in a 2004 auction, a figure which would be considered a bargain nearly a decade later. This jersey is not presently for sale, nor is there any indication that this might soon change. Here we present an attractive fall-back plan for those collectors intent upon participation in this epic tale of anxiety and achievement on the game's greatest stage.
Presented are the pinstriped New York Yankees uniform pants Roger Maris was wearing as he sent a Tracy Stallard fastball into the right field seats to break his tie with the immortal Babe Ruth on the final day of the 1961 regular season. Like the jersey auctioned in 2004, the unique pinstripe pattern of the pants is the key to its historic designation. Home New York Yankees uniforms are like fingerprints and snowflakes--no two are identical, allowing definitive photo matches that would be impossible with the team's road model, or just about every other team's uniform. The attribution to the historic event is confirmed by the experts at MEARS, the leading game used uniform authentication firm.
The pants exhibit rock solid wear from a pair of American League MVP campaigns, inclusive of two pennants, one World Championship, and the sport's most coveted single-season record. Interior waistband is embroidered in Yankee navy, "Maris 9, 36, 60," the digits denoting jersey number, waist size and year respectively. The "Spalding" tag at center has been lost in the passing half century, but the "Set 1 1960" flap tag below remains. LOA from MEARS, Authentic.
1961 Roger Maris 61st Home Run Game Worn New York Yankees Pants.
*A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.
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