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1951 Leo Durocher New York Giants Game-Used Home Jersey
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $10,800
New York Giants home jersey worn by Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher during the club's 1951 pennant-winning season. This jersey has the unique provenance of having once been displayed at Al Schacht's restaurant in New York City! Al Schacht, known as "The Clown Prince of Baseball," opened his New York eatery in 1942, which soon became a popular destination for local sports stars and celebrities. Because the restaurant featured a baseball theme, Schacht decorated it with various pieces of sports memorabilia, including many game-used garments. (As most collectors will remember, a 1938 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees road jersey that appeared as Lot 7 in our May 2007 auction was also once displayed at the restaurant.) According to our consignor, his father-in-law was passing by the restaurant a short time after it had closed for good and witnessed workers bringing out piles of garbage to the dumpster on the street. Among the debris being carried out were many old uniforms. Being a baseball fan, he politely asked one of the workers if he could take some of the uniforms they were throwing away and he was told to help himself. This jersey is one of those uniforms he grabbed that day (all of the others are offered as four separate lots in this auction) and it has remained in the family's possession since that time.
The white flannel jersey is lettered "Giants" across the front in black on orange felt. The number has been removed from the reverse; however, one can still see the outline of Durocher's original number "2." Durocher's name and uniform number ("Durocher 2") are chain-stitched in orange upon a white strip tag located in the collar. A "MacGregor 44" label appears directly above the name tag. A flag tag reading "Set 1 1951" appears on the interior right-front tail. The National League 75th anniversary patch has been removed from the left sleeve, but, like the uniform number, the outline of the patch remains clearly visible to the naked eye. It appears that one of the original buttons has been replaced and two other buttons are missing. Heavy wear is displayed throughout, including stitch tears to the name tag in the collar, tears to the letters along the front, minor soiling, and scattered red stains along the right-front tail.
Despite the flaws (the number and patch can conceivably be restored), this remains a significant and rare Durocher jersey. Nearly all of the Durocher jerseys in the hobby today date from either his coaching tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers or his managerial tenure with the Cubs in the 1960s and 1970s. Durocher jerseys dating from his managerial career with the Brooklyn Dodgers or New York Giants jerseys are exceedingly rare. This is just the third Durocher Giants jersey we have seen at auction and the only home example. The fact that it dates to the historic 1951 season, in which the Giants won the pennant on Bobby Thomson's dramatic "Shot Heard Round the World" at the Polo Grounds, makes it one of the most desirable Durocher jerseys imaginable. In fact, if we assume that the players and coaches received two home and two away uniforms during the season, then the odds are at least fifty-fifty that Durocher wore this jersey during that memorable game. It may also have been worn during the World Series against the Yankees. This is a remarkable Durocher jersey in all respects, especially considering that it was literally saved from the garbage heap decades ago by one fortunate baseball fan! Together with a pair of 1951 Giants home pants worn by Clint Hartung that were also obtained from Al Schacht's restaurant at the same time. Located in the waistband are a "MacGregor 38" label, a white strip tag with "Hartung 26" (denoting the player an uniform number) chain-stitched in red upon it, and a flag tag reading "Set 2 1951." Heavy wear is displayed throughout, including a few small tears.
Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $10,800
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