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    The style worn to record 3,000th hit in his final game

    1971-72 Roberto Clemente Game Worn Pittsburgh Pirates Jersey, MEARS A8.5. The style will be instantly familiar to any fan alive for that brief span of months when the Pirates legend supplied the full spectrum of emotion to his followers, beginning with a 1971 World Championship, then 3,000 Hit Club membership, and finally the tragic fatal plane crash on December 31, 1972. While the relatively simple design of the white knit pullover precludes the option of photo matching, the possibility that this is in fact the final jersey worn by the martyred Hall of Famer must be noted.

    "Pirates 21" is applied to the chest of the jersey in classic black and yellow tackle twill, with number "21" repeated similarly on verso. It should be stressed that these identifiers are original and unaltered--in fact, the only deviation from its original state comes in the form of removed year tagging that once appeared beside the appropriate "Rawlings [size] 42" and washing instructions labels at lower interior rear tail. This alteration is explained in a 1980 signed letter of provenance on Pirates team letterhead from staffer Mike Boylan who writes,

    "This is a statement of the authenticity of the 1972 home Pirate shirt No. 21 which was worn by Roberto Clemente during the 1972 season. The tags were removed following the 1972 season for the purpose of donating the shirt to a Pirate affiliated American Legion baseball team."

    This missing tagging accounts for a single-point deduction from the experts at MEARS, with the other half-point due to a small ink mark on the jersey front and light staining on reverse. Otherwise the shirt is 100% original and unaltered, beyond Clemente's own shortened tail modification, with no caveats to note. MEARS characterizes the wear as "moderate," and consistent with Major League play.

    Like the truest legends of our National Pastime, Clemente's significance extends far beyond the chalk lines of a ballfield, effectively the Jackie Robinson of the fastest-growing demographic in the United States. It's a fact that suggests a rosy outlook for those collecting with an eye toward investment potential. LOA from MEARS, A8.5. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2014
    31st-1st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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