To some it's known simply as "the national pastime", but to collector Sal LaRocca baseball has been an all-consuming passion. A life-long love affair with the Dodgers has seen him build up an incredible collection of memorabilia over 68 years, and it's set to sell at auction for a seven-figure sum.
Such is the size of the collection, LaRocca is selling it through the sports memorabilia specialists Lelands in four instalments. The first sale, which ends on December 17, consists of 90 lots which will all appeal to any Dodgers fan and baseball collector.
One of the sale's star items is a game-worn 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers Sandy Koufax jersey. Although Koufax had a relatively short career and was forced into retirement at the age of 30 due to an arthritic condition, he is remembered to this day as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. He is the youngest ever player to be indicted into the Hall of Fame and was the first major-league player to pitch four' no-hitters'.
Other notable lots in the first sale include the earliest-known Brooklyn baseball ticket dating from 1883, a field program and ticket from the last Dodgers game at Ebbets Field (before the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958), a 1934 Hack Wilson-signed Brooklyn Dodgers contract and a 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series baseball signed by Babe Ruth.
For collectors looking to invest in memorabilia it should prove the perfect opportunity. The market for baseball memorabilia has exploded in recent years, with record-breaking prices becoming a regular occurrence, and Lelands are certainly expecting fireworks by the end of the sale.
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