Worn during the historic "Baseball Centennial" season!1939 Bob Feller Game Worn Cleveland Indians Jersey. The most terrifying arm to be unleashed upon Major League Baseball since Walter Johnson, "Rapid Robert" Feller charted a similar path as the Big Train to the game's pantheon, the prototypical hard-throwing hayseed made good. The 1939 Centennial season during which the twenty-year old right hander sported this road grey jersey was the first of a half dozen in which Feller would lead all American League hurlers in victories, posting twenty-four wins against just nine losses. League-leading tallies for strikeouts, walks and wild pitches provide some indication of the future Hall of Famer's methodology--power over precision. In Feller's own words: "I just reared back and let them go."
Contemporary hitters from Ted Williams to Stan Musial named Feller as the greatest pitcher they ever faced, a sentiment echoed by The Sporting News, which selected the Indians ace as the "greatest pitcher of his time," and number thirty-six on their famous 1999 list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. But despite such shimmering accolades, only a tiny handful of Feller's game gear has been rescued from history's dustbin to satisfy the modern collecting hobby. The presented jersey owes its survival to a second term of service with the Indians' Wilkes Barre farm club, after which it was retained by the family of the player who had been assigned the number "19" roadster. While the shirt was altered for this minor league term, an exacting professional restoration has reaffixed a properly formatted "Cleveland" to the chest and a genuine vintage Baseball Centennial patch to the left sleeve. The double-reinforced navy felt number "19" on verso is original to Feller's ownership, as is the chain-stitched "R. Feller" sewn directly into interior collar. Just below, a "Spalding" manufacturer's label dangles size "44" and "Dry Clean Only" flap tags. Lower rear interior tail provides the vintage in the form of an embroidered "39," again sewn directly into the jersey body. Sleeve ends are hand cut, but we cannot be certain exactly when. All original buttons are in place, and short of a few scattered small stains, there are no other condition issues to note.
While any opportunity to participate in the history of a Bob Feller game worn jersey is one to be taken very seriously, the particular vintage of this model sets it apart from and above the balance of that tiny population. This is a jersey that traveled to Fenway Park to visit a rookie Ted Williams, and to Yankee Stadium where a forlorn Lou Gehrig watched the action from the dugout steps. It's one of the most important garments ever handled by Heritage Auctions, and we're enormously pleased and honored to present it within this Platinum Night event. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
1939 Bob Feller Game Worn Cleveland Indians Jersey.
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