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    Description

    An all-time legend debuts during the glorious World Championship season of '55!

    1955 Sandy Koufax Game Worn Brooklyn Dodgers Rookie Jersey, MEARS A9.5. "There are two times in my life the hair on my arms has stood up," reported famed Dodgers scout Al Campanis. "The first time I saw the Sistine Chapel, and the first time I saw Sandy Koufax throw a fastball." That experience came as Campanis assumed a hitter's stance in the Ebbets Field batter's box in December 1954 to see if the hype had been true. Koufax had reportedly broken the thumb of the Pittsburgh Pirates' batting coach Sam Narron at a Forbes Field tryout, where former Dodgers and current Pirates general manager Branch Rickey declared Koufax' left to be "the greatest arm I've ever seen."

    Though Campanis had served a brief tour of duty as a Major League player, the stunning velocity of the youngster's heater nearly buckled his knees. The Dodgers offered him a contract on the spot, with a hefty signing bonus that Koufax would use to fund his education in case baseball didn't pan out. Instead, what would follow was a brief but unequivocal age of dominance that made a hero of Koufax not just to the legions of Jewish sports fans eager for a new champion, but to a brave new frontier of Major League fans that awaited the Dodgers' relocation to Los Angeles.

    But while several Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys from the wardrobe of three-time Cy Young Award-winner have appeared on the hobby's auction block, most recently a 1965 flannel that commanded $262,900 in the May 2014 Heritage Signature auction, this is just the second Brooklyn model to emerge, and the only one dating to the glorious rookie and World Championship season of 1955.

    The road grey beauty could very well be, in fact, the very first jersey ever worn in Major League competition by the iconic southpaw, as Koufax would debut on June 24, 1955 in the fifth inning of a visit to the Milwaukee Braves. The twenty-year old lefty would display both his rookie nerves and his fighting spirit in that first appearance, recording a throwing error and loading the bases with no outs before striking out notorious Dodger killer Bobby Thomson and then inducing Joe Adcock into a double-play grounder to end the threat. With just a dozen appearances in 1955, Koufax may well have been issued only one home and one road jersey, but, at worst, the odds that the presented jersey is the one that Koufax wore in his debut is an even fifty-fifty. We also remind bidders that Game Seven of the 1955 World Series was played at Yankee Stadium, so celebratory locker room champagne may lurk deep in the fibers of the garment.

    It survives in 100% original and unaltered condition, the sole half-point deduction assessed by the experts at MEARS for "Light soiling/small hole" on the sleeves that only the closest of inspection will reveal. The aesthetics are effectively unimprovable, and instantly evocative of that most exciting time in New York City baseball. "Dodgers" is crafted from blue felt in that timeless script across the chest, the same material forming the number "32" on reverse that would never ride another player's jersey. Blue piping at collar, button path and sleeves remains complete and undamaged.

    Interior collar is properly tagged "MacGregor Size 44" above an embroidered red on white swatch reading, "Koufax." Interior lower button path reports the most delectable vintage: "Set 1 1955."

    It's remarkable how close Koufax came to being a mere footnote in baseball history, throwing his glove and spikes into the Dodger Stadium clubhouse trash can following the last game of the 1960 season, intent on turning his attentions to an electronics business in which he had invested. But, in the offseason, he made up his mind to give the sport one more shot. "That winter was when I really started working out. I started running more. I decided I was really going to find out how good I can be." He would record his first "breakout" season in 1961, winning eighteen and besting Christy Mathewson's fifty-eight year old National League strikeout record. He'd earn six All-Star rings and three Cy Young Awards before retiring at age thirty at the close of the 1966 season.

    They say that shooting stars burn the brightest, and those six extraordinary seasons were enough to convince the Hall of Fame voters to induct the Semitic superstar in 1972. But even Cooperstown lacks a Koufax relic with the seminal significance of this remarkable World Championship rookie jersey, one of the most important Dodgers relics ever made available for public sale. LOA from MEARS, A9.5. LOA from Heritage Auctions.






    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,785

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