Spring Premier Auction 2013
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
"I'm just a ballplayer with one ambition, and that is to give all I've got to help my ball club win. I've never played any other way." - Joe DiMaggio
From 1936-1951, less three years in the service during Word War II, Joe DiMaggio gave his all to the New York Yankees, helping them win 9 World Championships. Often described as a “picture player” Joe DiMaggio epitomized grace on the baseball diamond-- both at bat and in center field. “The Yankee Clipper” used an unusually wide stance in winning two batting championships and three MVP awards. In 13 seasons he amassed 361 homers, averaged 118 RBI annually and compiled a .325 lifetime batting mark. But the numbers are only a fractional component of Joe DiMaggio’s immeasurable legacy. “It is not for DiMaggio’s records that we remember him,” wrote Ira Berkow of The New York Times. “He is best remembered for the persona of Joe DiMaggio. He remains a symbol of excellence, power and, to be sure, gentleness.” DiMaggio became an American hero at a time when Americans, weary from the Great Depression, had little to feel heroic about. He was an idol when America struggled with idealism. Exuding grace and elegance in a game that less than two decades prior had been blemished by a gambling scandal, DiMaggio defined an era of American resurgence, helping to pick up a beleaguered nation by its boot straps. Years after his retirement, and even to this day, fans marvel not only at his exploits on the diamond, but also at his extraordinary traits as an American.
1951 will forever stand as a definitive year in the history of the New York Yankees franchise. Not only does it represent the hub of the Yankees record run of five consecutive titles, but it also signifies the lone convergence of two of the team’s most iconic figures. The 1951 season would be the curtain call of the “Yankee Clipper”. It has often been reported that he wanted to retire before he became an “ordinary” player. Bone spurs in his heel also hastened his retirement. 1951 also marked the arrival of the “Oklahoma Kid”, Mickey Mantle, who bore the weight of unbridled expectations to fill the gap in centerfield. So convinced of Mantle’s promise were the Yankees that they assigned their young prodigy uniform number “6,” the next in a sequence that included Ruth (#3), Gehrig (#4), and Joltin’ Joe (#5). Though some referred to 1951 as a season of change for the Yankees, the end result was more of the same, another championship title.
Here then is this striking grey flannel New York Yankees road jersey and pants that were worn by The Yankee Clipper in that bittersweet final season. The uniform originates from Joe DiMaggio’s personal collection of career mementos, and along with a 1951 home ensemble, is one of only two DiMaggio uniforms in the world with direct player provenance. The jersey is simply stunning in its understated DiMaggio-like elegance. Remarkably well preserved, both pieces show light, but definite game use, retaining near-perfect overall presentation quality that defies the imagination. From the embroidered “DiMaggio 1951” on the collar to the Wilson Size 46 tagging on the front or the iconic American League 50th Anniversary patch on the left sleeve, every element is as it was the immortal DiMaggio donned it for a final time in that historic season more than 60 years ago. The matching pants are similarly a combination of notable game use and outstanding condition, with “Size 38, 1951” and “DiMaggio” embroidery flanking the Wilson wash tagging on the waistband. As a MEARS A10 designation suggests, the jersey and pants represent an almost unparalleled level of provenance and ideal original condition. This is a Smithsonian caliber piece of Americana that will fulfill the highest aspirations of any purveyor of the finest available treasures from America’s National Pastime.
LOA from the Estate of Joe DiMaggio.
Additional LOA from MEARS (A10). Click here to view LOAs.
This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.