A jersey worn by Joe DiMaggio in the 1942 season has sold for $169,400 in Goldin Auctions' February 7 sale in New York.
The lot is among the oldest surviving DiMaggio jerseys and the only specimen from 1942, his last season before the end of the war.
At the outset, public opinion was beginning to turn against athletes who did not fight. In addition, DiMaggio's parents, as Italian immigrants, were subject to strict controls on their movement.
He enlisted in 1943, but due to his extraordinary value to the Yankees he was given a safe billet in Hawaii, were he worked as a PE trainer.
Goldin commented prior to the sale: "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…
"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.
"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."
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