SCP Auctions April 2011 Internet Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
PLEASE NOTE THAT SINCE THE PUBLISHING OF THE PRINTED CATALOGUE THIS JERSEY HAS BEEN AUTHENTICATED AND GRADED BY MEARS A9.5. IT HAS ALSO BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE UNIFORM STYLE DATES FROM 1931-33 WHICH IS CONSISTENT WITH IMAGES OF GROVE WEARING A SIMILAR, IF NOT THIS SAME JERSEY DURING THE 1931 WORLD SERIES.
Some called him “Bob”, others “Mose”, but today he’s almost always referred to as “Lefty”. For 17 years Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove unleashed his terrifying fastball and devastating curve upon American League hitters, winning twenty-plus games eight times and leading the Philadelphia Athletics to three pennants and two Series victories.
A sandlot star in the Baltimore area in the 1910's, Grove first caught the eye of Jack Dunn, most notable for having signed one Babe Ruth. Dunn’s reputation for discovering top-notch talent was further enhanced when brought Grove to the Baltimore organization in 1920 where he went on to compile an impressive record of 109-36 before ever appearing on a major league diamond. Grove remained in the minor leagues through the 1924 season until Dunn finally agreed to sell Grove's rights to the Philadelphia Athletics for $100,500, the highest amount ever paid for a player at that time, including "The Babe". As an integral part of the Baltimore Orioles minor league system, Grove was going to prove that his lower level accomplishments were no fluke. Once his major league career with the Athletics finally began at the age of 25, he would help them to three consecutive pennants (1929 to 1931), as well as two straight World Championships (1929 and 1930). Grove would eventually pace the circuit in ERA a record nine times, in strikeouts for seven consecutive seasons, four times in wins, three times in shutouts and three times in complete games. Yet, despite these remarkable accomplishments, never has a pitcher been more dominant than Grove was in 1931. Powering the Athletics to a third straight league pennant, Grove's 31-4 mark, 2.06 ERA, 175 strikeouts, 4 shutouts and 27 complete games were all league bests. If this didn't cement Grove as one of the finest pitchers on the circuit, his combined mark of 46-4 during the period from July 25, 1930 through September 24, 1931 (the best ever 50 decision stretch), would leave no room for discussion.
Offered here is Lefty Grove’s circa 1931 Philadelphia Athletics home uniform. After close to 80 years of exceptional preservation, we are privileged to offer it, as what we feel is among the finest pre-war baseball uniforms the hobby has ever seen. Manufactured by Spalding, the cream-colored jersey is constructed of thick flannel. Above the manufacturers tag in the collar is Grove’s last name in large, finely scripted red stitching. On the left breast is the team logo “A” in blue on cream felt. Grove’s number “10” appears on the back in blue felt. Other than a small vintage team repair under the “A” on the jersey front, there are no alterations of any kind or notable condition faults. The matching pants feature nearly identical tagging and name stitching in the waistband. The uniform’s physical state appears to have changed little since Grove last wore it. Every aspect of the jersey is unchanged, including all six original buttons. The condition of both uniform pieces is superb, with obvious, but not excessive wear that gives it ideal display quality. The jersey’s provenance is equally exceptional. It was purportedly discovered in a trunk full of Lefty’s personal effects many years ago by a Grove family friend. The trunk had been left behind in the attic of Lefty Grove’s home in Lonaconing, Maryland after the Grove family had vacated the residence. Given Grove’s stature as arguably the greatest left-handed pitcher of all-time, the era in which it was worn, and it’s remarkable original condition, we feel that this uniform is among the elite museum caliber baseball garments that exists in private hands. Includes a detailed LOA from MEARS (Grade A9.5).