Baseball’s 1947 season is known for the debut of Jackie Robinson, who broke down the game’s longstanding barrier. Robinson’s effect on the Dodgers was immediate and in the fall, Brooklyn found itself in an all-New York World Series against the Yankees.
The American Leaguers had a superstar of their own, though, and ultimately the Yankees would win their 11th championship in seven games.
Heritage Auctions says it has a major slice of history from October 4, 1947: the jersey Joe DiMaggio was wearing when he took the field for Game 5. Later in life, DiMaggio signed the road flannel button down in blue marker. It’s among the items Heritage is featuring in its Fall Auction, closing October 18-19, where it carries a pre-sale estimate of $400,000 or more.
Heritage says the jersey has been photomatched to footage taken during the early stages of Game 5 at Ebbets Field, a 2-1 Yankees victory aided in part by a fifth inning DiMaggio homer. He wasn’t wearing the same jersey when he struck that important blow, though.
Per the catalog description:
For reasons known only to DiMaggio himself, he had changed jerseys by the time he victimized Bums ace Rex Barney with that fifth inning long ball, and nowhere else in the Series or in the subsequent season do we find the Hall of Fame center fielder wearing this garment, capping its full service to baseball royalty at four innings maximum. One suspects that the jersey felt either uncomfortable or unlucky to DiMaggio, but the unique shape of the letters “W” and “R” in “NEW YORK,” and the particular placement of the “Y” in relation to the button nearest to it, are unmistakable in early game footage, establishing this as one of a literal handful of unaltered, photo matched Joe DiMaggio gamers.
The lengthy MEARS letter of opinion, available in full at our online listing, finds former staffer Dave Grob deducting three points for the minimal apparent wear, but Troy Kinunen corrects this ruling in his reevaluation. He properly defends the condition as appropriate for the unusual circumstances, much like the MEARS A10 rating he assigned to the Red Sox jersey sold in our August 2018 Platinum Night auction, which was worn for two games at most before Ted Williams answered the Korean War call in 1952. The official A9 rating for this DiMaggio gamer is, in our estimation, a far more equitable assessment for the garment in its historical context.
Bidding in the auction is set to open September 26.