Few items in the realm of sports memorabilia can double as historic pieces of American history but there’s not much doubt that label can be applied to one item now up for auction: a ticket stub from Ebbets Field dated April 15, 1947 — the day Robinson made his big-league debut against the Boston Braves, just five days after signing his Dodgers contract.
He went hitless that day in front of 26,623 fans, but scored the go-ahead run after reaching base on an error. But no mere box score can hold the weight of that April afternoon in Brooklyn.
Only a small number of stubs from that important day have managed to make it to the present day. The current bid is $185,000, not including the buyer’s premium of 20% that will be added to the winning number.
“The bearer of that ticket saw something extraordinary: Jackie Robinson’s professional debut, one of the most important moments in the history of sports — arguably the most important,” stated Dan Imler of Heritage Auctions. “That ticket stub, which is so scarce, really puts you in the moment.”
The Platinum Night Auction includes a few dozen tickets and stubs, representing important firsts, lasts and moments from more than 100 years of competition. In a growing market for physical tickets and stubs from past games, there are some doozies here. Four tickets carry estimates of $100,000 or more while 20 could bring $10,000 or more.
There’s another astonishingly rare ticket stub from Ebbets Field — this one dated April 9, 1913, which marked the first opening day at the ballpark, then home of the Brooklyn Superbas. It’s the sole known surviving stub from that historic day, a true one-of-one.
As reported earlier this month, one man went to Michael Jordan’s NBA debut game alone since a friend backed out. He kept the ticket—one that stands as the only full ticket currently known to exist. The current high bid? $250,000.
There are also tickets to the debut games of other superstars including Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Shohei Ohtani.
A ticket stub from Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in Hershey, PA back in 1962 has a current high bid of $10,000 even in low grade.
There’s a one-of-a-kind ticket stub from the 1967 NFL Championship Game—the famous “Ice Bowl” in Green Bay, signed by Vince Lombardi.
The auction includes multiple autographed tickets to Tom Brady Super Bowl appearances, one from the day Johnny Unitas threw his first touchdown pass, a 1984 Olympic Basketball full ticket with Jordan’s autograph, a ticket from Kobe’s 81-point game and a display featuring ticket stubs from Mickey Mantle’s 18 World Series home runs.
Other tickets from World Series games dating back more than 100 years—even the clinching game of the 1919 affair tainted by the Black Sox scandal.
Bidding is underway, with the auction consisting of thousands of items set to close over a two-night period, Feb. 26 and 27.