It’s not likely they’ll be making a comeback but those old-time baseball sweaters that pre-date warmup jackets have fascinated fans and collectors for decades. The heavy wool garments can be seen on old images including one of the 1924 pennant ceremony for the World Series champs of 1923.
Whitey Witt was an outfielder on that great New York Yankees squad led by Babe Ruth. Now, his old sweater is heading for the auction block.
It’s the Consignment of the Week from Heritage Auctions, which will offer the sweater in its two-day October catalog auction. The same sweater sold in another auction back in 2014 where it fetched $44,427.60. It’s been in a private collection since that time.
The sweater was originally sold by Witt himself and comes with a copy of a signed letter of authenticity from him, penned in 1988, the year he died. Witt was the last surviving member of the 1923 Yankees championship team.
The sweater is navy blue with a gray collar and cuffs. Still attached is the fancy, interlocking “NY” Yankees logo in gray felt.
The interior collar is tagged, “Bradley Knit Wear Major League.”
Heritage says the sweater “has a few small yarn pulls, but none of the staining or moth damage common in contemporary wool garments.”
It was originally sold to collector Rich Westcott who broke Witt’s entertaining SABR biography.
Witt stood 5’7 and weighed 155 pounds during his playing days. A fine hitter, he regularly batted .300 or close to that figure. He holds two notable distinctions: being the first Yankee to bat in a regular season game at Yankee Stadium and being knocked unconscious by a bottle thrown from the stands at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis during the 1922 pennant race.
Bidding for the sweater is set to open September 26 and conclude October 18-19.