Like dozens of other major leaguers, he’d been away from the game since 1942 but with World War II over, Joe DiMaggio was back in pinstripes and back in the New York Yankees lineup as the 1946 season opened. Now, the jersey that he was wearing during the team’s home opener about to hit the auction block.
Heritage Auctions is offering the white home flannel jersey, with DiMaggio’s name stitched in the collar, in its upcoming Fall Sports Collectibles Auction where it’s expected to sell for at least $200,000. The jersey was signed by DiMaggio at a much later date.
The jersey will be among the premier items in the auction, which is set to open October 28.
After three years in service, largely in a morale-boosting role, DiMaggio’s return had been eagerly anticipated and he didn’t disappoint more than 54,000 fans at Yankee Stadium on April 19, 1946.
In the bottom of the ninth inning of a game against the visiting Washington Senators, DiMaggio doubled to left field to score Snuffy Stirnweiss with the tying run. Johnny Lindell’s sacrifice fly to center brought Tommy Henrich home for a 7-6 win. DiMaggio ended the day with three hits in five at bats, two of them doubles.
The jersey has been photomatched, with the key image taken prior to the game when DiMaggio is seen with his son, Joe Jr. in the dugout.
His name is stitched into the collar with his signature below it. A Spalding tag on the size 44 jersey is still attached. The number 5 on the back has been replaced and, according to Heritage, the interlocking “NY” on the front could be as well. Six of the seven buttons are original.
The jersey comes with autograph authentication from PSA and Beckett and a letter from Resolution Photomatching is also included.
It’s part of one of the larger auction events of the year at Heritage, one that will close over a three-day period November 18-20.