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    Hammerin' Hank joins another exclusive Club!

    1970 Hank Aaron 3,000th Career Hit Game Worn & Signed Atlanta Braves Jersey, MEARS A10--Photo Matched! Only six men in the full history of Major League Baseball have earned a key to both the 500 Home Run and 3,000 Hit Clubhouses, and this is the jersey that Hank Aaron was wearing when he became the first. The Atlanta Braves were in Cincinnati for a Crosley Field doubleheader against the Reds on May 17, 1970 to conclude a four-game series, and the superstar slugger wasn't feeling his best. He'd fielded phone calls until three in the morning, and his stomach was upset. "I'm a little nervous about this," he admitted to reporters. "I didn't eat much."

    He had become the eighth member of the 500 Home Run Club less than two years earlier, but somehow his position on the precipice of this new milestone seemed even more daunting. Only two players had recorded their 3,000th hits since 1925. The 500 Home Run Club didn't even exist back then.

    And for all of his brilliance, Aaron was never one to seek out the spotlight, nor did the spotlight tend to seek out him. Atlanta was hardly a baseball Mecca, and the Deep South was still not the ideal geography for a black man to chase fame. Only his fellow players seemed to fully understand just how special he was. "As far as I'm concerned," said Mickey Mantle, "Aaron is the best ballplayer of my era. He's never received the credit he's due." But as Aaron showed up to the ballpark sitting at 2,999, that was about to change, at least temporarily.

    A standing-room-only crowd of 33,217, the highest attendance for a Reds home game in nearly a quarter-century, watched Aaron go 0-for-4 in the top half of the doubleheader as the Braves fell to the leaders of the National League West by a final score of 5-1. But the anxious crowd didn't have to wait much longer, as Aaron stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning and scorched a hard grounder back up the middle that was gloved by Reds second baseman Woody Woodward too deep in the infield clay to make the throw to first.

    A brief ceremony interrupted the game as Braves president Bill Bartholomay and the only other living member of the club, Cardinals legend Stan Musial, left their box seats and met Aaron at the pitcher's mound where he was presented the milestone sphere to a thunderstorm of applause. You'll find a picture of that ceremony in the provided letter of authenticity from Resolution Photomatching, Aaron flanked by Musial and Bartholomay as he places a kiss upon his souvenir. It is one of two photographs used by the service to establish a definitive link between the offered garment and one of the most noteworthy achievements in Hammerin' Hank's spectacular career.

    The road grey flannel jersey is a rather understated design, but the patterning of the fabric provides for multiple data points as definitive as a fingerprint. "Braves" is applied in two-tone script to the chest, and the immortal double fours similarly applied to verso. Classic team logo patch remains affixed to left sleeve, and interior collar bears embroidered swatch reporting, "40 Set 1 70." Lower left front tail is tagged, "Spalding [size] 40" above a washing instructions label. Solid, consistent game wear is evident. A bold black sharpie signature at right ribs completes the aesthetic report.

    While Hank Aaron's long (and many would say "continuing") reign as baseball's Home Run King will remain his primary distinction within the historical annals of our national pastime, we'd argue that this jersey that cut the ribbon on the 500/3,000 Club speaks even more clearly of his supreme significance to the sport. It's a relic of profound significance, one of the most important that Heritage has had the honor to present. LOA from MEARS, A10. LOA from Heritage Auctions. LOA from Resolution Photomatching. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from Beckett.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 45
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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