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    Description

    The only known Koufax gamer worn at Ebbets Field!

    1956 Sandy Koufax Game Worn & Signed Brooklyn Dodgers Jersey, MEARS A9.

    "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.

    And while several home white flannels have made their way from the City of Angels to the hobby's auction block--and a couple road grey models from Koufax' first three seasons before the Bums' western relocation--there is only a single jersey known to have been worn by Sandy Koufax upon the hallowed grounds of Ebbets Field.

    You're looking at it.

    Of the six home white Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys ever issued to the Hall of Fame southpaw (assuming the standard practice of two homes and two roads per season), this is the sole survivor, imbuing the National League Championship-season relic with a significance nearly impossible to overstate. Let's remember that Koufax was born and raised in a neighborhood about three miles from where he wore this garment. For a team that saved the soul of our national pastime in 1947 with the introduction of Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn yet again provided enormous inspiration to that highly diverse borough when Koufax took the field, throwing fire.

    As Robinson before him, Koufax' role as a hero of his under-represented demography would become less and less of a focal point as his Hall of Fame abilities broke down cultural barriers. Still, one can't help but imagine what it must have meant to a young Jewish boy in the Ebbets Field grandstands in 1956, swollen with pride at the sight of a fellow member of the faith standing on the mound at the center of it all, wearing this shirt.

    The format is as iconic as it gets, a blue felt "Dodgers" in script rising above the long-since retired number "32" in red on the chest. Those immortal digits are repeated in blue on verso. Lower left front tail bears Koufax' embroidered surname below a "Rawlings Hall of Fame Flannel" maker's label and "44" size identifier. Flip the tail over and you'll find the vintage supplied by a "Set 1 1956" flap tag anchored by a washing instructions label at interior. The sleeves are cut short in a style similar to that which Koufax wears in the official 1956 team photo. Snider (at Koufax' right shoulder), Reese and Robinson wear a similar fashion.

    The experts at MEARS assess game wear as light to moderate, appropriate for a workload lighter than that which he'd assume in Los Angeles. Only the loss of a button and some soiling at the tail reduce the MEARS grade, each by half a point. Otherwise, the jersey remains in fine, original condition but for a black sharpie signature on the chest notated, "1956 Brooklyn Dodgers" in Koufax' hand. LOA from MEARS, A9. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (autograph).


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    29th-30th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,935

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