October 15, 1972 turned out to be quite the landmark day in baseball.
An ailing Jackie Robinson was honored before the World Series game in Cincinnati between the Reds and Oakland A’s, tossing out the first pitch to Johnny Bench and addressing a baseball crowd for what turned out to be the last time in his life.
It was also the day of one of the greatest catches in World Series history and the glove used to make it is about to hit the auction block.
Joe Rudi’s Rawlings model XFG1H mitt, now signed and authenticated, is among the items coming to Heritage Auctions’ next major catalog sale. It’s expected to sell for $10,000 or more.
Rudi, who won three straight Gold Glove awards and was twice a runner-up for American League MVP while the A’s were racking up World Series titles, made a play that’s still talked about 50 years later.
Rudi homered in the third inning of Game 2 at Riverfront Stadium to give the A’s a 2-0 lead but the Reds were rallying in the ninth. Tony Perez singled and Denis Menke drove a ball that appeared certain to either leave the yard or bounce off the wall for extra bases. Battling the sun (yes, World Series games were once played in daylight), Rudi timed his leap perfectly and made a brilliant backhanded grab.
The glove has “Rudi” in faded vintage black marker on one finger of the glove, which Rudi later signed “Joe Rudi, game used, 1972 World Series, “The Catch” ’72 All Star.”
It comes with a letter of authenticity signed by the longtime outfielder and another from PSA/DNA glove expert Dennis Eskin.
Bidding will open April 20.