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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/20/2012

This cap is quite possibly the earliest Sandy Koufax cap known, but therein lays only part of its significance. In addition to remarkable player provenance, the cap also represents some extremely rare style characteristics.

Originating from the personal collection of former Major League pitcher Karl Drews, the caps history has been thoroughly documented by his son John Drews. In Drews’ accompanying one-page notarized letter of provenance he details the hat's history. It reads in part, “My father Karl Drews played professional baseball for 21 years ...He pitched in relief for the Yankees in the 1947 season going 6-6 and had two appearances in the 1947 World Series ...He had his best season in the majors in 1952, winning 14 games and finishing 5th in the league with a 2.72 ERA. He finished his major league career in 1954 with the Cincinnati Reds. My father continued to play professional baseball with numerous minor league teams, eventually finishing his career in 1960 with the Mexico City Reds. When we were young our father brought home from his spring training site a hat that he said he got from a very young Sandy Koufax. He told us how he was a very young left handed pitcher who everyone had great expectations for and that he too thought would be a truly great pitcher one day. He told us how special this hat would be some day if Koufax had the type of career that the players and coaches envisioned. We kept the hat in our closet with other items from my father's playing days (there were no fancy hat boxes, bat holders, etc back then) ...All of this information is true to the best of my memory and recollection and those of my older sister as well. Although I have always treasured the hat, it does not have any real sentimental value to me like the other items that belonged to my father. It is for this reason that I have decided to sell the hat.”

This is a rarely seen Brooklyn Dodgers pro-model cap in that the body is comprised of a blue mesh material, as opposed to standard solid wool, and the bill is light green. The club's familiar style “B” is embroidered in white stitching on the front. A McAuliffe label appears in the rear of the headband. Koufax's uniform number ("32") is written in vintage black marker on the underside of the brim (Koufax wore number "32" during his entire career with the Dodgers). Examples of this mesh style cap are rarely seen in the hobby, however, a comprehensive analysis by MEARS produced a conclusive photo match to a similar cap worn by Duke Snider circa 1955.

Although John Drews did not recall the exact year his father returned with this cap, given the fact that Koufax debuted with the Dodgers in 1955 and the club's final season in Brooklyn was 1957, this cap can only date to that three-year period 1955-57 (which is consistent with the date of the Snider photo). Koufax signed with the Dodgers in December, 1954, just before his nineteenth birthday. Because he received a signing bonus of $14,000, league rules at the time required that he remain on the Dodgers official Major League roster for two years. Even though that rule greatly hindered his development, by 1957 he was a bona fide member of the Dodgers staff and therefore attended each of the club's spring training camps from 1955 through 1957.

Sandy Koufax game-used items dating from his brief period of time in Brooklyn are exceedingly rare and this cap may very well date from his 1955 rookie season. The cap displays heavy usage wear. There are a few small tears to the green cloth on both the side and top of the brim (which has hardened with age), and the metal on the top button is totally exposed. Sweat stains are visible along the both back of the cap and, much lighter, on the underside of the brim. As noted in the Drews letter, this cap had been in the Drews family for over fifty years. This is a remarkable Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers cap in all respects and is also very likely the earliest Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers game-worn item of any kind in existence.

Includes a detailed LOA from MEARS and the aforementioned notarized letter of provenance from John Drews (son of Karl Drews).

Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $11,306
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Sunday, May 20, 2012.
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