Includes Greenberg family letter of provenance!1941-42 Hank Greenberg Game Used First Baseman's Glove. "Class tells," Jackie Robinson was once quoted as saying. "It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg." These two legendary figures are linked by far more than Hall of Fame credentials and a mutual admiration (Greenberg was among the only opposing players to welcome Robinson to the Majors in 1947), as each also rates among the bravest men ever to wear a professional athletic uniform. Before African-Americans became the prime target for racist fans, it was the Jews, and Greenberg in particular who drew the taunts and curses of spectators and opponents alike.
It has been rather convincingly argued that 1938 would have seen Greenberg break Babe Ruth's 1927 home run record, but seeing the danger that a Jew might assume this throne, opposing pitchers chose to walk the Tiger slugger rather than give him a shot at the Babe. And so Greenberg would finish the season with 119 free passes, the highest in the American League that season, and the greatest total of his career.
The offered relic finds Greenberg a few seasons later, right at the brink of his military enlistment that robbed the Detroit Tigers of their top talent for over four seasons. On October 16, 1940, Greenberg had been the first American League player to register for the nation's first peacetime draft, and he entered the service seven months later on May 7, 1941, exactly seven months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He would return after the war ended in 1945 to lead the Tigers to World Championship glory.
It is thus likely that the light to moderate wear evident on the presented Spalding 'Professional Level' 120 Model first baseman's mitt was primarily instilled during military base action. Greenberg had also transitioned to the outfield after the 1939 season, further bolstering the theory that the wear was not Major League in origin.
But any game used relic from this Hall of Fame leviathan carries enormous collecting appeal, and we believe this to be the only glove to carry family provenance. His sister-in-law Marilyn Greenberg is the author of the included letter, and though she likely incorrect that Hank "used this mitt while he was with the Detroit Tigers," the direct Greenberg lineage is the far more salient point. LOA from Joe Phillips. Letter of provenance from Greenberg family. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
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