Donruss has sliced up game-worn Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson uniform jerseys inserted in its soon-to-be-released Prime Cuts IV baseball card issue.
More than 400 swatches of a Lou Gehrig game-used jersey and 400 from a Jackie Robinson-worn Brooklyn Dodgers jersey and jacket can be found in the 2008 Prime Cuts IV Baseball, scheduled to release December 24. Boxes and cases are already showing up on eBay.
While some may recoil at the loss of whole historic pieces of baseball memorabilia, Donruss hopes their efforts will jump-start sales of the cards as 2008 winds to a close.
The Gehrig pieces hail from two important jerseys worn late in his career – a 1938 home flannel pinstripe uniform (both jersey and pants) and a 1939 road jersey worn by The Iron Horse. The road jersey was purchased by Donruss at an auction in 2003. According to the company, the jersey originally belonged to a longtime Yankees scout who was related to Hall of Fame catcher Gabby Hartnett.
The ’38 home jersey and pants show the thicker pinstripe of the day, and the uniform displayed significant wear. The collar featured “L. Gehrig” stitched in red, while the size “38” is also stitched in red in the inside tail of the jersey. The waistband of the pants also featured “L. Gehrig” stitching along the waistband.
Some of that red stitching can be found on a few Gehrig cards in Prime Cuts IV.
“We’re thrilled with the chance to bring Lou Gehrig to collectors one more time,” says David Porter, Donruss brand manager. “These historic pieces will no doubt be the cornerstone of many collections.”
The Robinson items came from 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers home jersey purchased by Donruss in auction in 2001 and featured “Robinson 52-2” in blue stitching near the tail of the jersey. The jersey exhibited game-use.
The Brooklyn Dodgers jacket was worn by Robinson in either the 1954 or 1955 season, and was purchased in auction in 2000. At the time of the sale, a COA from Robinson’s widow, Rachel, in which she writes the jacket was worn by Jackie and is “guaranteed to be authentic and original. Hope you enjoy it” accompanied the jacket.
Donruss is able to include both legends in Prime Cuts IV through terms of a contract signed to get both players’ game-worn items in Donruss Americana late last year. With one more usage available before the expiration of the contract on December 31, Donruss was able to get both Gehrig and Robinson in the Prime Cuts program.
“This is a big deal – for us and for collectors,” says Donruss Brand Manager Ben Ecklar. “To have even one of these players in a set is big. But to have both .and to have the quality of game-used items used by both, is really significant.”