Spring Premium Live and Catalog Auction 2018 Closing May 5
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/28/2018

No one ever expected that Ralph Branca would forever be tied to one of the greatest upsets in Brooklyn Dodgers history. Immediately after WWII, Branca was one of the most promising players in the Dodgers organization. Brooklyn's Italian-American population eagerly identified with the New York native as one of their own, and after winning 21 games to lead the Dodgers to the World Series in 1947, Ralph Branca was the toast of Brooklyn. He was one of the mainstays of the Dodgers starting rotation for the next four years, and by 1951 the 25- year-old was looking forward to a long successful career in Dodgers blue.

Then came October 3, 1951. The hated New York Giants had spent the last month of the 1951 season chipping away at what looked like an insurmountable Dodgers lead, and when the season ended, both teams were knotted in a tie. After splitting the first two games of the best-of-three series and forcing a deciding Game 3, the Dodgers sent Don Newcombe to the mound. Newcombe was masterful for 8 innings, holding the Giants to just one run. Then, in the bottom of the 9th with the Dodgers up 4-1, Newcombe tired, giving up a bunch of singles and a run. Now with the score 4-2 and two men on base, Brooklyn manager Charlie Dressen summoned a tired and heavily worked Ralph Branca in to face Bobby Thomson. What happened next was the most dramatic moment in sports history: a three-run home run that ended the 1951 season for both Branca and the Dodgers.

For the 1952 season, following the heart-breaking loss to the Giants, the Brooklyn Dodgers had Branca change his number from “unlucky” number 13 to number 12, despite the opposition from Branca. For the 1952 regular season, the Dodgers wore a different style jersey and switched to the style jersey offered here for the World Series. Offered is the Brooklyn Dodgers road jersey was worn by Ralph Branca during the 1952 World Series against the New York Yankees, although he did not appear in any games.

As custom with a Brooklyn jersey, “Dodgers” runs across the front in blue felt script and dual lines of blue trim runs around each sleeve end as well as up the front and around the neck. A MacGregor Goldsmith size 46 label is sewn inside the collar along with a white strip tag with “Branca” chain stitched in red. The back of the jersey has “36” in blue felt which signifies it having been re-issued to another player after it was used by Branca. The jersey shows good game use with overall toning to the gray flannel and areas of light staining. There is some puckering and light fading to the felt graphics and some loose threads visible. Branca himself has even signed this jersey in bold blue marker on the front. Any game used Brooklyn flannel dating from the Boys of Summer Era Dodgers is something special. Branca would start the 1953 season with the Dodgers and switched back to his familiar number “13”, which under examination, displays faint remnants of the “13” being removed. It is most likely that Branca wore this jersey during spring training before being issued a new jersey. Branca was released in July of 1953 by the Dodgers and picked up by the Detroit Tigers. This jersey comes with a letter of provenance from Dave Oliphant, who was a member of the Dodgers organization in the 1950s and personally received this jersey. There is also a LOA from Sports Investors, who have photo matched this jersey to the 1952 World Series and a LOA from Steve Grad of Beckett Authentication (A89870) for the signature.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $47,872.50
Number Bids: 29
Auction closed on Sunday, May 6, 2018.
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