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    1954 Al Kaline Game Worn Detroit Tigers Rookie Uniform, MEARS A9.5 After twenty-two seasons in a Tigers uniform, close to thirty as the team's television color commentator, and a front office position he holds to this day, Hall of Fame outfielder Al Kaline comes by his "Mr. Tiger" nickname honestly, second only to the iconic Ty Cobb in the team's pantheon. Kaline debuted at age eighteen midway through the 1953 season in a number "25" jersey, making thirty appearances that year, but 1954 is considered the All-Star slugger's official rookie campaign, an auspicious start for which he claimed the bronze medal in American League Rookie of the Year balloting.

    It was early in the 1954 season that Kaline was able to convince a departing Pat Mullin to surrender his number "6" jersey, and here we present what may very well be the very first shirt bearing that number ever worn by the man for whom the digit is now properly retired from the Tigers wardrobe. The soft white flannel exhibits solid wear from an emerging legend, with the classic Old English logo "D" over the heart and number "6" in proper format on verso. An embroidered swatch reading "Kaline A" appears at interior collar, while the correct incarnation of "Rawlings Hall of Fame Flannel" manufacturer's label remains affixed at lower left front tail, framed by a washing instructions tag and size "42" designator.

    While the jersey was not issued with a year identifier, it is confirmed by MEARS as a 1954 model through its sourcing with a matching pair of pants with identical "Rawlings Hall of Fame" tagging (size 34), including a flap tag announcing "Set 1 1954." Expert Dave Grob stresses in his MEARS assessment, "The absence of this year/set tag from the jersey is not an issue of concern for me." The pants exhibit heavy wear, with multiple team repairs and patching in the knee area, illustrative of Kaline's hard-nosed style of play. A pair of striped navy and orange wool stirrups also show heavy wear, and are likewise attributed to 1954 (and to Kaline) through its sourcing.

    Our consignor reports that the uniform was passed down through the family of Tillie Voss, a Detroit-born professional football player from the infancy of the NFL, with service to teams ranging from the Green Bay Packers to the Detroit Panthers to the New York Giants. The uniform was raffled in some manner of charity event attended by Voss, whose ticket was drawn for the prize. The uniform makes its hobby debut in this Platinum Night auction.

    The jersey garners a grade of MEARS A9.5, the only deduction a half-point for light soiling and toning typical of vintage flannel. The pants are assessed as "Authentic," the only rating issued by MEARS for pants. LOA from MEARS, A9.5.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2012
    2nd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,807

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