A new-to-the-hobby Willie Mays jersey believed to have been created for use during the Giants’ final season in New York was recently consigned to auction, where bids are already approaching six figures.
When the Giants moved to San Francisco, one of their top minor league affiliates was located in Tacoma, WA where a new ballpark, Cheney Stadium, had been built. In a letter of provenance, the jersey’s consignor stated that Giants officials approached Bon Marche’, a local department store where worked. The big league club was looking to promote the minor league affiliation and suggested that employees wear Giants uniforms in the store, hoping to generate photos and stories in the local media.
“They sent us a box of old uniforms, which were handed down from the pro level club from a few years prior,” the consignor wrote in his letter of provenance. “I was lucky enough to grab Mays’ jersey and (Joe) Margoneri matching pants. When we were told that we could keep the uniforms, I immediately knew I had something special and put it away in a drawer for 60+ years.”
The current high bid on the jersey is $86,316. With Grey Flannel’s buyer’s premium added in, the price is already over $100,000 with 22 days remaining in the auction.
The number “57” is embroidered directly onto the jersey in black stitching, indicating the year of issue. Located inside on the rear collar fold is a felt tag with the player name, “Mays” embroidered in black chain-stitching.
The sleeves are fashioned in a “set–in” style and cut to a mid bicep length of 1 ½”, a preferred Mays trait Grey Flannel says is confirmed by period images.