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A special relic from the heart of "The Streak"

Early 1930's Lou Gehrig Game Worn New York Yankees Cap. The anniversary of a special milestone in the career of the fabled Iron Horse will be celebrated on August 1st, the day this important relic finds a new owner in our Chicago Platinum Night auction. Seventy-six years earlier the Yankees were hosting the lowly St. Louis Browns in the rubber match of a three-game series in the Bronx. Gehrig blasted the 448th home run of his career in the first inning, and later followed with a single, a double and a rare triple, establishing the contest as the second and final game in which the Hall of Fame first baseman hit for the cycle. Remarkably, the feat was lost on the sportswriters of the day, who instead focused on teammate Joe DiMaggio's thirty-first homer of the season likewise clubbed that afternoon, putting the young star on pace to eclipse Babe Ruth's 1927 record. But, of course, Gehrig was well accustomed to life in the shadow of his compatriots.

But in the twenty-first century collectibles market, the humble legend has finally gotten his due, often matching or even outpacing on the auction block the men to whom he played second fiddle in pinstripes. We fully expect the offered lot to be one of the most coveted and contested in this elite sale, a spectacular representation of a Yankees cap worn during the heart of the greatest durability streak of the pre-war era.

A 1992 letter of provenance traces the history of the cap back to the father of the letter's author, a man named Earl Benham who was active in show business during the height of the vaudeville era. Benham was close friends with William Gaxton, a star actor and comedian of the 1920's and 1930's New York stage. Gaxton lived on the edge of Central Park at 12 East 86th Street, in the same building as Hall of Fame Yankees manager Joe McCarthy. As a devout Yankees supporter, Benham often encouraged Gaxton to request autographed baseballs from his neighbor, and at some point this special cap likewise was secured by Gaxton from McCarthy for his friend.

This wonderful memento of the bravest man ever to wear Yankee pinstripes exhibits a solid season (or more) of wear, the navy wool as soft as suede after its long service to the superstar slugger. The visor and leather headband remain solid yet pliable, the latter neatly embroidered "L. Gehrig" in the clubhouse tailor's distinctive script. A small tear in the headband barely skirts the left edge of the embroidery, and a couple small moth holes to the crown of the cap are likewise innocuous. Certainly this cap is superior in condition to the other Gehrig model we had the privilege to offer in our February 2013 Platinum Night auction, where it commanded a final tally of $191,200. Letter of provenance from son of original owner. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


Service and Handling Description: Clothing, Costumes & Jerseys (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
August, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 3,562

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