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don larsen

Auctioning a Piece of Post-Season Perfection Highlights Uniform Evolution

By Jason Turbow
October 8, 2012
4:45 pm
Categories: Gadgets, gear & games

 

In 1956, Don Larsen was paid $13,000 by the New York Yankees for a season's worth of work, which included throwing the first (and still only) perfect game in postseason baseball history.

Today, the uniform he wore on that historic afternoon, during Game 5 of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, goes up for auction. It is expected to fetch more than $1 million.

. . .

The proceedings . . . will run for 56 days — marking both the year the perfect game occurred, and the amount of time, 56 years, since then — through Dec. 5. . . .

[T]he Yankees' uniform design, alone among Major League Baseball, has seen no significant changes in well over a half-century. . . .

. . .

. . . The Collective Bargaining Agreement now maintains that players' pants not drop below the top of the heel.

. . . Once, baseball players wore white socks underneath colored sanitary hose. The reason: The dye for the stockings, far from colorfast, offered an assortment health risks should it come into contact with an open wound.

. . . (Another stylistic fad into which the Yankees failed to buy included uniform numbers on the fronts and sleeves of jerseys.)

. . . The Yankees continue to be the lone big league club to eschew names on the backs of their uniforms, both home and away, but in 1956, the practice was status quo. That changed in 1960, when the presence of slugger Ted Kluszewski probably made the Chicago White Sox equipment manager sorry about his team’s decision to become the first to so identify players. (It should be noted that the Yankees were the first team to utilize uniform numbers on a permanent basis, in 1929. They assigned numbers according to players' spots in the batting order.)

Larsen has already sold his cap, glove and shoes from that game, as well as the baseball used to strike out Dale Mitchell for the final out. They went in 2002, for a total of $120,750. In 2010, Berra's jersey from the same day sold at auction for about $565,000.

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"The San Diego Hall of Champions already validated it," he said. "In addition, we've done extensive picture matching of historical photos — of the stitching, the interlocking NY, how his name was sewn (stitched inside the uniform for identification purposes, not an external-facing nameplate) in relation to everything else. Honestly, this was probably the easiest match from any jersey we’ve sold because there are so many great images from that game for us to use."