SCP Auctions April 2008 Live Auction


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/15/2008
Lou Gehrig will forever be cast in the glare of New York Yankees teammate Babe Ruth's vast spotlight. But nothing about Gehrig's accomplishments should be minimized, from the 2,130 consecutive games he once played as the "Iron Horse" to his longtime link with Ruth as the enforcer of baseball's most prolific slugging duo.

Gehrig was a rock-solid 6-foot, 210-pound left-handed slasher who rocketed line drives to all sections of the park, unlike the towering, majestic home runs that endeared Ruth to adoring fans. And unlike the gregarious Ruth, Gehrig was withdrawn, modest and unassuming, happy to let his teammate drink the fruits of their tandem celebrity. But those who played with and against Gehrig understood the power he could exert over a game. As the Yankees' first baseman, cleanup hitter and lineup protection for Ruth, Gehrig was an RBI machine. He won four American League titles and tied for another and his 184-RBI explosion in 1931 is a still-standing A.L. record. His 13 consecutive 100-RBI seasons (he averaged an incredible 147 from 1926-38) were a byproduct of 493 career home runs and a not-so-modest .340 average. It's hard to overstate the havoc wreaked by Gehrig's bat. He topped 400 total bases in five seasons, topped 150 RBIs seven times, hit a record 23 grand slams, won a 1934 Triple Crown, hit four homers in one 1932 game and cranked out a World Series average of .361 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs. In 1927, when Ruth hit his record 60 home runs, Gehrig batted .373 with 47 homers and 175 RBIs winning the MVP award. The Ruth-Gehrig relationship powered the Yankees to three World Series championships, and when Ruth left New York after the 1934 season, Gehrig and young Joe DiMaggio powered the team to three more. But Gehrig is best remembered for the iron-man streak that lasted from 1925-39, when Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis' now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, ended his career prematurely and tugged at the heart strings of a nation. Gehrig, finally accorded the recognition that long had eluded him, died two years later.

The style of this road grey Yankees flannel jersey dates it to the pivotal 1933-34 period, when Ruth was in his final seasons in New York and the torch of Yankee greatness was being passed into a single hand. Manufactured by Spalding, this jersey is tagged exclusively for Gehrig featuring red chain stitching in the collar that reads "L. Gehrig." A "Spalding" manufacturer's tag resides to the right. Every technical aspect of the of this jersey appears as it was when last in the custody of Gehrig with the exception of the letters "YO" of "New York" on the front and Gehrig's number "4" on the back having been expertly restored. Each sleeve has been trimmed of approximately two inches of length, a customization attributed to Gehrig, and supported by numerous photographs from the era. Several small holes on the front and back have been patched on the interior with vintage material. The jersey shows signs of usage wear to an awe-inspiring degree, yet retains outstanding display quality and a sense of timelessness.

In the pantheon of sports memorabilia a jersey worn by Lou Gehrig has few peers. Columnist Jim Murray called Gehrig "Gibraltar in cleats" and sportswriter John Kieran said of him, "His greatest record doesn't show in the book. It was the absolute reliability of Henry Louis Gehrig. He could be counted upon. He was there every day at the ballpark bending his back and ready to break his neck to win for his side. He was there day after day and year after year. He never sulked or whined or went into a pot or a huff". Gehrig was the same in baseball as he was when he faced a fatal disease that struck him in the prime of his life. Ruth may have been rightfully dubbed "The Sultan of Swat" or the "The Colossus of Clout" among other things, but Gehrig's acclaim as "The Pride of The Yankees" has never been disputed. LOA from Richard Russek/Andy Imperato.
150,000 USD - 200,000 USD

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