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    Boston maker's label assures 1954 vintage!

    1954 Hank Aaron Game Worn Milwaukee Braves Rookie Cap, MEARS Authentic. Historic headwear made its way to this Platinum Night auction through the son of the former owner of West Park Cleaners at 35th and Vliet in Milwaukee in the 1940's and 1950's. That gentleman's lengthy letter of provenance wistfully recalls sorting Braves uniforms and jackets for cleaning, searching for abandoned tips in the jackets of the Milwaukee County Stadium ushers. Many of the players became personal clients of the cleaning service as well, and the letter identifies Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Del Crandall and Lou Burdette among the regulars.

    The offered cap can be pinpointed to the rookie season of the future Home Run King by a pair of significant details. The label at interior headband from Boston-based "Horace Partridge" sporting goods is a transitional style, used only in the first year after the team's departure from Beantown, thus bearing a production date of 1953. And the other detail is a vintage number "5" under the visor, scribbled out but still legible, with a number "12" written beside it.

    The MEARS letter explains the significance: "According to Baseball Almanac and the 1953 Milwaukee Braves program #5 was not issued during the 1953 season. In 1954, Hank Aaron was issued the numeral. Since the cap was supplied to the team in 1953 but the number was not issued, it can be assumed with a high degree of confidence that this cap was indeed issued to Hank Aaron for his rookie 1954 season. During the 1954 season, Aaron requested and was granted #44 to be worn as his jersey numeral. Nobody else was number #12 in the 1954 [season], but Ray Crone wore #12 during the 1955 season. Thus, MEARS believes this cap was worn by both Aaron (1954) and Ray Crone (1955)." A size tag reads, "7 3/8."

    It's been nearly a decade since Heritage auctioned a number "44" jersey from Hank Aaron's debut season for $167,300, a figure which would almost certainly be dwarfed were it to resurface at auction today. This well-worn gamer will have to suffice until then, and remember that the number "5" establishes this as the earliest known Major League garment attributable to the iconic Babe-buster. Add the spectacular provenance to the mix, and we're left with one of the most thrilling Aaron-related finds in recent memory. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. Letter of provenance from son of Milwaukee laundry owner. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,032

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