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    Worn in Midwest Shrine Game just weeks after tragic auto accident claimed two teammates' lives

    1964 Mike Ditka Game Worn Chicago Bears Jersey with Rare Memorial Armband, MEARS A10. This Chicago Platinum Night auction will close just days after the fifty-first anniversary of a tragedy that shook the defending World Champion Chicago Bears franchise to its foundation, an automobile accident in rural Indiana that claimed the lives of star running back Willie Galimore and tight end Bo Farrington. The pair was thrown from their Volkswagen Beetle after skidding out of a curve while racing toward St. Joseph's College to meet curfew for Bears training camp. Ditka remembered the heartbreaking event in his book, In Life, First You Kick Ass:

    "I was 24 years old, and the next morning I went down to the morgue with my teammates Rick Casares and Bill George, and I looked at the bodies on the slab. There was not one mark on Willie, not one mark. And Farrington had a cut on his face. It was devastating to me. It was devastating to the team. We should have been really good in 1964, but we went 5-9, and it was like our soul had been cut out."

    Our consignor Ron Cardo was an eighteen-year old batboy in the visiting clubhouse of Milwaukee County Stadium in the early 1960's, and helped out when the Green Bay Packers came to town for the two or three home games they played there every season. He was on hand for the 1964 Midwest Shrine Game, the fifteenth edition of an annual preseason charity contest that survives to this day, benefiting the Shriners' Hospitals for Children. For the sixth consecutive year, on August 22, 1964, the Chicago Bears were the visitors.

    It was a few weeks after the contest, in which the Packers defeated the defending World Champions by a score of twenty-one to seven, that Cardo was sorting through the white uniforms of the County Stadium staffers and came upon the jersey presented here, worn by one of the greatest figures in Bears franchise history and bearing the memorial armband that paid tribute to his fallen brothers. Cardo wisely retained it as a souvenir. We are aware of no other surviving jerseys that recall that calamitous turning point in team fortunes.

    The white durene garment exhibits solid game wear and utilizes the classic Bears design favored to this day--navy and orange tackle twill numerals on front, back and shoulders, striped sleeves, the left obscured here by the four-inch wide mourning band. Lower left interior tail holds the proper "King O' Shea [size] 48" manufacturer's label.

    Ditka's number "89" would finally be honored with retirement by the Bears in 2013, the fourteenth and last (according to the team) that will ever earn that distinction. Galimore's number "28" is likewise counted among that elite Windy City brotherhood. This remarkable offering that links the pair ranks with the most desirable Bears relics ever to surface in the collecting hobby. Letter of provenance from Ron Cardo. LOA from MEARS, A10. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2015
    30th-31st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,744

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