Early home pinstripes from the noble Iron Horse1920's Lou Gehrig Game Worn New York Yankees Pants. As the New York Yankees cut the ribbon on the greatest ballpark ever constructed on April 18, 1923, another paradigm-shifting event in the fortunes of the franchise was happening just a few miles away on the campus of Columbia University. Famed scout Paul Krichell had elected to forgo the pomp and circumstance of the Yankee Stadium grand opening to watch a young collegian set a school record by striking out seventeen Williams College batters. That young man was Lou Gehrig.
In truth, Krichell was not overly impressed with the sturdy German's pitching, but rather the power of his left-handed slugging, the tape measure home runs unlike any he'd ever seen short of Babe Ruth himself. Within months, Krichell had the young Gehrig's autograph on a playing contract, a signature that would forever alter the course of Yankee history.
Presented is one of the first garments issued to Lou Gehrig as a member of the New York Yankees, a determination we are able to make by the unique embroidered script that reports, "Gehrig HL" in heavily faded red embroidered script at interior waistband, the rather artful, looping style a perfect match to a pair of "circa 1925" pants worn by Yankee right fielder Bob Meusel, sold in a major competitor's auction in 2009. The particular format of "Spalding" label beside the embroidery is likewise a perfect match to the Meusel representation.
The garment exhibits the manner of heavy wear one would expect from the game's most determined competitor, with a scattering of small holes and stains that may or may not be game related. A size "40" indicator is sewn into the fly button path. It appears that one of the buttons at the waist has been repositioned, and another added, strong Gehrig traits considering the narrowness of his waist relative to his famously large backside that earned the Iron Horse the considerably less regal secondary nickname of "Biscuit Pants."
Included is a 1992 letter from renowned game used uniform pioneer Dick Dobbins, who estimates that "these pants are from the era of 1923 or 1924," a determination bolstered by the fact that "the pants were acquired with a shirt that appears to have come from these years," and due to the absence of a date indicator that later models would carry. They are the third pair of Gehrig pants Heritage has had the good fortune to offer, each of the others commanding just over, or just under, $50,000. But the exciting prospect that the presented pair may be the very first ever worn by Lou Gehrig in Major League competition, or to begin his fabled 2,130 consecutive game streak, supplies unique appeal to the offered model, as Platinum Night bidding is certain to confirm. LOA from Heritage Auctions. LOA from Dick Dobbins.
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