New York Yankees jersey hits $564,930 auction home run
The jersey of Yogi Berra, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history has gone under the hammer
One of the most widely identifiable of all professional sports uniforms - the pinstriped New York Yankees home uniform Yogi Berra wore during the 1956 World Series perfect game pitched by Don Larsen - has sold at auction for an astounding $564,930.
The iconic uniform, which is prominently visible in a now-famous photo of Berra embracing Larsen after the final pitch of the perfect game, was purchased by a private collector.
Held in private hands for more than half a century, the sale's top lot was consigned to Grey Flannel Auctions' April 14 Summer Games Auction by a Florida man, Ronald Stevenot, who had been given the uniform to wear as a 17-year-old hopeful trying out for the Yankees' rookie team in 1959.
"The minute I first held the uniform in my hands, I had a strong feeling it might be the one Yogi Berra wore during the '56 World Series perfect game," said Grey Flannel's president Richard E Russek.
Russek took the uniform to Grey Flannel's headquarters in New York, where he and his team of experts compared the uniform to a blow-up of the famous World Series photo. To the naked eye, it was a convincing match, but further verification was required.
The uniform was then painstakingly compared to DVD "stills" of the perfect game.
"Every Yankee pinstripe is like a fingerprint to when the jersey was worn," Russek explained. "We compared the way the pinstripes matched up to the 'N' and 'Y' on the front, how they matched up to the collar and the sleeves, and it was an exact match.
"We then had our proof that it was unquestionably the uniform Berra wore as catcher during the 1956 World Series perfect game."
Other top baseball lots in the April 14 auction included a 1972 Roberto Clemente game-used Pittsburgh Pirates home jersey with team letter, $36,716; and an Ichiro Suzuki game-used and autographed bat from 2001, the year Suzuki was Rookie of the Year, American League MVP and batting titleholder for the season. It clinched a winning bid of $17,365.
Held in Westhampton, New York, the 1,072-lot absentee, phone and Internet auction ran until 7am the following morning. The books closed at $2,139,321.
Elswhere on the baseball collectibles markets, a signed baseball bearing the autographs of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig recently auctioned at Cordier Antiques & Auctions in Pennsylvania, US.
The historic ball, signed by the stars at an exhibition game at Dexter Park, was caught by one lucky bidder for a bargain $4,500.
It was certainly a great investment. Other Ruth autographs, like this one which is currently available on the market, can command much higher prices and offer good value appreciation.
Last year, Babe Ruth's 'most important bat' auctioned in the US, swinging towards an incredible final hammer price of $537,750.
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Image: Grey Flannel Auctions