Southpaw Al Downing was a major league pitcher for 17 seasons, playing for a total of four different teams: Yankees (1961 to '69); Athletics and Brewers (1970); and the Dodgers (1971 to '77). He posted an overall record of 123-107 with a career ERA of 3.22 and 1,639 strikeouts. His best season occurred in 1971, his first in the N.L., when he posted a 20-9 record for the Blue Crew and finished third in the Cy Young Award balloting. Three years later, on April 8, 1974, at Milwaukee County Stadium, he served up Hank Aaron's record 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's longstanding mark. This lot features Downing's 1974 twice-autographed and game-worn Los Angeles Dodgers road jersey, which very well could be the one he was wearing that fateful night of April 8, 1974.
The jersey shows considerable use with the famed "Dodgers" scripted across the front in blue tackle twill above Downing's uniform number "44" in red. His number 44 is also on the back in blue tackle twill positioned directly below his last name in the same fashion affixed directly to the shirt. The shirt has the appropriate W.A. Goodman & Sons [size] 46 tagging on the rear inside collar. An additional, oversized gray cloth tag is present on the left front tail area and reads "Set 1 '74" embroidered in Dodger Blue blue. The jersey shows moderate fraying of the delicate red and blue stitching on the front and back, with some light buckling of the tackle twill pieces, but remains essentially as-issued and problem free. Downing has signed the jersey on both the front and back in thin-point black marker and added "1974" beneath his signature.
Part of the esteemed Delbert Mickel estate collection. Autographs pre-certified by PSA/DNA.