1965 Willie Mays Game Worn San Francisco Giants Jersey, ME...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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Mays launches career-best fifty-two homers en route to second and final National League MVP!1965 Willie Mays Game Worn San Francisco Giants Jersey, MEARS A9. He was rated number two on The Sporting News' list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players of the Twentieth Century, topped only by the iconic Babe Ruth. There are many who would contend that it was Mays deserved top billing--in the end, it comes down to your particular definition of "greatness." That Babe Ruth was the most noteworthy figure in twentieth century baseball is impossible to dispute. And it's true that he was the game's premier pitcher before he became the game's premier slugger. But if baseball's "five tools" is the metric--hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning, throwing and fielding--Mays' superiority is clear.
Win, place or show, the Say Hey Kid is properly considered an essential component of any quality baseball collection, and those with a concentration in game used flannel should be deeply tempted by this elite specimen, arguably the most desirable representation subsequent to the Giants' 1958 relocation. The evidence backing this claim is difficult to dispute, as 1965 represents Mays' second and final National League MVP season, the first having come during the glorious World Championship campaign of 1954 in the Big Apple.
The Hall of Fame outfielder's stat line for '65 is awash in the bold ink of Senior Circuit supremacy, Mays' fifty-two long balls likewise a personal best. His .645 slugging percentage and 360 total bases likewise led the National League.
This home white beauty exhibits "moderate to heavy wear" from a tense pennant race with fellow California transplants the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would ultimately edge out the Giants by two games. But the classic design is effectively unchanged from those Polo Grounds days, with black-on-orange identifiers announcing "Giants" on the chest and the fabled number "24" on verso, properly retired by the franchise in 1972. The minor separation of stitching on these rear digits accounts for the sole point deducted in MEARS' soaring assessment. "Mays" appears in embroidered script on a felt swatch affixed to interior collar, while a "Tim McAuliffe" label rests atop twin subtags denoting vintage ('65) and size (42). And we should direct attention to the stubby sleeves favored by 1960's sluggers, abridged to showcase Mays' bulging biceps on those rare warm days that the northern California climate allowed.
In every regard, this is a Cooperstown-quality garment that finds the greatest talent of the post-war era at the absolute pinnacle of his peerless abilities. LOA from MEARS, A9. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
Guide Value or Estimate: $150,000 - up.
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