Winter Auction 2015 closing February 7
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/8/2015

    This Remarkable Flannel Jersey Represents One of the Oldest Known and Authenticated Joe DiMaggio Jerseys in Existence, One of the Two Oldest Pinstripe DiMaggio Flannels, and IS the ONLY Known Surviving DiMaggio Jersey from the 1942 Wartime Season.

After a phenomenal 1941 season that featured his 56 game hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio was the most popular baseball player in the country. His $43,750 salary, shocking at the time it was revealed to the press, now seemed appropriate for the man who came to epitomize the professional Yankee machine. Then, just 2 months after New York beat Brooklyn in the World Series, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. was at war. Suddenly, the Italian-born parents of America's favorite ballplayer were declared "Enemy Aliens". Besides his father's fishing boat being confiscated, the elderly DiMaggio's were not even allowed to visit their son's restaurant located on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Baseball tried to continue on, but the draft took a steady toll on every Major League team. While on one hand baseball helped American morale, the sight of 16 big league teams stocked with healthy, athletic men seemingly immune from the draft made many people bitter. The one ballplayer who drew the most criticism was Joe DiMaggio. Throughout the summer of '42 Joltin' Joe did his best to ignore his critics and played every single game that season, batting .305 and hitting 21 homers as the Yankees took the pennant. By the time New York met the Cardinals in the World Series, DiMaggio, hurt by the accusations of not doing his part for the war effort, had decided to join the Army Air Corps. The Yankee Clipper went from $3645 a month superstar to $43 a month as an army private. This stunning white pin stripe flannel jersey was worn by DiMaggio during that last season before he enlisted. MEARS, the leading vintage uniform authentication experts, have collected and studied 1942-dated photographs of the Yankee Clipper and established that he wore two different home jerseys that summer, noted as "Jersey #1" and "Jersey #2". The pinstripes found on the Yankees home jersey act almost as fingerprints, as the famous blue stripes fall differently in relation to the graphics, sleeves and placket on each jersey. Using the pinstripe alignment as a guide, MEARS states "there is a very high probability that the jersey identified as Jersey #2 could be the offered jersey" and their illustrated worksheet documents their findings. The front of the classic home pinstripe jersey features the timeless intertwined "NY" in navy felt. The buttons are deemed to be the original ones and are still firmly affixed to the jersey. The Spalding label is sewn inside the collar along with a size "44" strip tag. The fact that the Yankee Clipper wore a size 44 is proven by existing examples of his 1936, 1939, 1941 and 1946 game worn jerseys. "Joe DiMaggio" is chain stitched in black on a white strip tag sewn below the size. A faded "Joe DiMaggio" signature is just below that. The sleeves of this jersey are tailored to a 5" length or full bicep cut, consistent with photographs of DiMaggio taken during the 1942 season. The left sleeve features a patriotic shield patch with three stars on a navy blue field above the word "HEALTH". This patch was worn during the 1942 season by all Major League baseball teams as part of the nation-wide "Hale America" program to promote physical fitness. Besides MLB, many other professional and college teams sported this striking patch. After the '42 season the patch was changed to a more generic shield with red stripes replacing the word "HEALTH". Since the second patch was used for three seasons, this single-year version is much sought after in and of itself. The one affixed to this jersey is restored but is a 1942 period-correct patch. To further date the jersey, the year "42" is chain stitched in navy blue on the inside rear tail of the jersey. The back has DiMaggio's famed number "5" in navy blue felt, the last time that number would be seen on a Yankee jersey until he returned from war in 1946. Because the Yankees, like every other MLB team, sent their old jerseys to their minor league teams to use, DiMaggio's "5" had been stripped off and replaced with a "4" sometime after the '42 World Series. The "5" present on the jersey today is a replacement. The same can be said of the navy "NY" on the jersey's front. That said, it is a minor miracle that any jersey, let alone a DiMaggio jersey, has survived from the 1942 season. Wartime rationing severely restricted sports supplies and uniforms were recycled and used up more frequently than during the depression years. Often when the minor league teams finished with them they were then donated to armed forces baseball teams stationed all over the world and used until they literally fell apart. This DiMaggio specimen has somehow been spared that sad fate. Condition-wise, the jersey exhibits heavy use. Remember, Joe DiMaggio played every single game of that 1942 season and this jersey reflects his dedication to the game. Clubhouse repairs and light staining are evident throughout this stunning piece. This is a Cooperstown-worthy flannel and a piece of wartime American history, worn by the best ballplayer in the game during the last good season before the war took away the best talent. As stated earlier, MEARS has thoroughly examined this piece and awarded it their grade of A6.

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Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $50,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $165,900.00
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Sunday, February 8, 2015.
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