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    Description

    One of three (and the earliest) known!

    1938 Mel Ott Game Worn New York Giants Jersey, MEARS A8.

    Nice guys finish last.

    Well, not always. Though Leo Durocher's famous quip is most commonly attributed to a conversation regarding the universally beloved Ott's struggles as the Giants manager in the final seasons of his Big League career, few players in baseball history were as consistently successful as Mel Ott during his playing prime. On the short list of his most impressive accomplishments, Ott finished first in team rankings for home runs eighteen consecutive seasons (1928-45), the only man in baseball history to build a streak of that length in any of the Triple Crown categories. The youngest player to reach 100 home runs, and the first National Leaguer to reach 500, Ott wore the Senior Circuit career home run crown for three decades, and was enjoying the second season of that reign as he sported the presented road grey flannel treasure.

    Unusually small in stature for a power hitter, and utilizing a bizarre high-stepping batting style that would give a modern-day batting instructor fits, the native Louisianan was an unlikely candidate to rewrite the National League record books, a fact that made him all the more popular amid a Big Apple fanbase flustered by the dominance of the Giants' pinstriped neighbors. In Ott, the Polo Grounds faithful found their champion. Six times Ott would outpace all National Leaguers in long balls, including the 1938 season from which this jersey derives.

    It was given as a gift to our consignors by the family of the 1938 Giants bat boy, who took the shirt home as a souvenir at the close of the season. It is arguably the most significant game worn baseball jersey "find" of the past few years, one of just three Ott representations known to exist, and the only one predating his transition from player to manager. Certainly it is the only example that finds the Hall of Fame slugger in his prime.

    Armed with the knowledge that Major League players in this era were issued two home and two road uniforms annually, we can calculate that the jersey saw approximately thirty-seven or thirty-eight games of action in 1938 and participated in half of Ott's sixteen home runs at opposing ballparks. Clearly the solid game wear supports such speculation, though the jersey remains 100% original and unaltered, losing two points on the MEARS scorecard only for the loss of the blue piping at the collar and button path.

    The classic Old English "New York" is applied to the chest in blue felt, with the number "4," the second retired by the franchise (after Carl Hubbell), similarly affixed to reverse. Particularly thrilling is the left sleeve patch heralding the impending arrival of the World's Fair in New York City, an artful silhouette of the Trylon and Perisphere that appeared on Giants, Dodgers and Yankees jerseys this year.

    Interior collar holds the proper "Spalding" manufacturer's label with a size "42" flap tag beneath an embroidered "M. Ott" in red sewn directly into the jersey body. The "38" vintage is similarly executed at interior rear center tail.

    Of all the Hall of Fame legends to wear the uniform of a New York City franchise during the Live Ball Era, none is as challenging to collectors as Mel Ott, nor is any member of the fabled 500 Home Run Club as uncommon. For the breed of elite collectors whose dreams of ownership have occupied that rocky ground between faint hope and grudging resignation, we are pleased to present this singular opportunity. Don't expect another. LOA from MEARS, A8. LOA from Heritage Auctions.







    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,233

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Feb 21, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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