Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    The Japanese ace records first victory in MLB debut!

    2014 Masahiro Tanaka First Major League Game Worn New York Yankees Jersey.

    Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu.

    It's an ancient Japanese proverb that translates to the English, "If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub." It's the philosophy that brought the greatest pitcher in the Nippon Professional Baseball League to America, to measure himself against the best in the global sport, under the brightest spotlight the Major Leagues could provide. While the stat lines for Masahiro Tanaka in his native land suggested a brand of dominance barely credible even with the evidence of videotape-twenty-four and zero in 2013 with a 1.27 ERA-there was no shortage of doubters in the press rooms and front offices of the sport, with many questioning whether Tanaka's brave decision to take on the sport's toughest challenge was overly optimistic.

    Rarely, if ever, has such a question been answered so instantly and emphatically by a Major League rookie, one who finds himself (at the time of this late June writing) well in contention for both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award. The Rookie of the Year appears to be a virtual certainty. Pitching's Triple Crown is likewise within easy striking distance. Today, Masahiro Tanaka's tally of eleven victories leads all Junior Circuit aces, as does his microscopic 1.99 earned run average. Nine strikeouts separate him from the League leader, his 113 tied for third place. It's the most auspicious rookie pitching performance since Whitey Ford took to the mound in 1950.

    One need only consider what the value might be of Ford's very first Yankees jersey might be today to calculate the potential of this singular, seminal artifact. And, in point of fact, that parallel might understate the issue. While Whitey Ford is a Yankees legend, Masahiro Tanaka is an international idol, the most famous player in his baseball-obsessed home country, a status he is approaching with every dominant performance in his adopted hometown. Rotation-mate C.C. Sabathia, winner of the 2007 Cy Young Award, stated it plainly: "Obviously, Tanaka is the best pitcher on the planet."

    Presented is what is now, and will likely always be, the most significant article of Masahiro Tanaka memorabilia on the planet, the documented one and only jersey worn as the Japanese ace made his first start, and recorded his first victory, in Major League Baseball. On April 4, 2014, Tanaka allowed just two earned runs in seven innings of work at Toronto's Rogers Centre, striking out eight Blue Jays to exit the game with a two-run lead, which would grow to four by the game's conclusion.

    His road grey jersey announces "New York" in navy and white tackle twill block lettering on the chest, and his number "19" on reverse. Lower left front tail is tagged "Majestic Athletic Authentic Collection" with "2014" and size "52" flap tags below. A Yankees inventory bar code appears just below the maker's labeling, affixed with an MLB Authentication sticker that provides ironclad documentation of the jersey's supreme vintage. A second serialized authentication sticker from Yankees marketing firm Steiner Sports does the same. A single game's wear is evident. Game number one, victory number one, for the greatest pitching talent in the world today. MLB Authentic EK845080. Steiner Sports 029190. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2014
    31st-1st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,049

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 3 days left to consign to the 2021 January 28 The Modern Sports Catalog Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I am very happy with the outcome and very thankful I went with Heritage!
    Sandy C.,
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search