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    Fenway flannel from the greatest hitter that ever lived

    1951 Ted Williams Game Worn Boston Red Sox Jersey. Perhaps no year in post-war Major League history was quite as memorable as 1951, a season that saw the debut of pantheon players Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, the departure of another in Joe DiMaggio, and the most famous home run ever struck, Bobby Thomson's miraculous Shot Heard 'round the World. Though the Yankees would continue their remarkable streak of dominance en route to their record of five straight Championships, the Splendid Splinter was posting another season for the ages at Fenway despite a nearly career-ending injury in the 1950 All-Star Game.

    Williams' collision with the Comiskey Park scoreboard as he tracked a liner off the bat of Ralph Kiner snapped a bone in his left arm, and when his cast came off, he couldn't fully extend his elbow. Williams strongly considered retirement during the offseason, but Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey sent trainer Jack Fadden down to visit his superstar slugger in Florida to convince him to give the game one more chance.

    One month into the 1951 season, Williams' batting average stood at a paltry .226, and rumblings began that the game's greatest hitter had lost the distinction, but month two quickly put an end to those doubts as Teddy Ballgame added eighty-two points to his average, showing consistency and power as he went deep seven times between May 21st and June 20th. By the All-Star break, he was batting .341 with sixteen home runs and a stellar .610 slugging percentage. That figure would ultimately settle at an American League-topping .556 by season's end, the eighth of a dozen times Williams would pace the Junior Circuit in that power statistic during his career. His League-leading 144 walks further verified the fact that Williams remained the most feared slugger in the sport.

    Presented is a white flannel jersey worn at Fenway during that make-or-break season, one that could very well have been Williams' last if not for his late spring surge. The classic Old English text "Red Sox" arches gently across the chest in red and navy felt, giving way to his fabled number "9" similarly applied to reverse. A vintage American League Golden Anniversary patch replaces the one removed at season's end. Only here, and in six replaced buttons and repaired button anchors (a rather aggressive three-point MEARS deduction), does the jersey diverge from its original state. Some loss to the red piping accounts for the final point lost in the MEARS grading, thus it should go without saying that the jersey is far superior to its technical A5.5 rating. Sleeves are custom-shortened as to Williams' preference, and the proper tagging appears at lower left front tail: "Tim McAuliffe Inc., Wilson [size] 46." Interior tail holds a "50" year swatch, though the experts at MEARS believe, as do we, that the jersey was worn in 1951 based upon the original stitching path of the 50th Anniversary patch, which is still visible under magnification. There is a possibility it saw action both years. A bold blue sharpie autograph on the chest completes the display.

    Though the .406 season of 1941 season will always shine brightest in Williams lore, his bravery and perserverance during this campaign a decade later perhaps even more effectively demonstrated the grit that transformed a lanky teenager into the sport's most effective offensive weapon. Fellow American sports icon Vince Lombardi said it best: "It's not how often you're knocked down, it's how often you get back up." For the elite collector seeking to bring some inspiration into his collection, this relic provides it in full measure. LOA from MEARS, A5.5. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,618

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