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1971 Ron Santo Chicago Cubs Signed Game-Used Home Jersey
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $15,275
Chicago Cubs home jersey worn by perennial All-Star third baseman Ron Santo in 1971. Graded A9.5 by MEARS. Ron Santo jerseys are exceedingly rare (even rarer than Ernie Banks jerseys, of which few are known) and seldom offered at public sale. Their limited supply is evidenced by the fact that this is just one of only two Ron Santo jerseys ever graded by MEARS. (Coincidentally, the only other example is also a 1971 Chicago Cubs home jersey that is graded A10.) It must be noted that this jersey is believed to have been worn by Santo on Ron Santo Day, which was held at Wrigley Field on August 28, 1971. It was originally purchased at auction (described as such by the auction house) by our consignor in 2003, but it was never accompanied by any supporting documentation, either by Santo or the team, that would allow us to definitively assert that it was worn on that date. It was accompanied by two vintage black-and-white photos (5 x 3.5 inches) of Santo posing on the field during the ceremonies at Ron Santo Day (note: photos are included with lot). We have been unable, however, to conclusively photo match the jersey at this time from these photos alone (the pictures are too small and therefore not clear enough to allow for a photo match), but it is very plausible that this is the jersey Santo wore on Ron Santo Day, and it is very likely that further photo research will yield a definitive positive confirmation. Regardless of its Ron Santo Day attribution, this is a high-grade example of one of the most coveted and elusive of all Chicago Cubs game-used jerseys. It is also the first Ron Santo jersey we have ever offered or seen. In the eyes of many, Santo is a Hall of Famer, though he has yet to be enshrined by Cooperstown. The white pinstripe flannel jersey features the Cubs' logo patch on the left breast and the number "10" on the reverse. All numerals are appliquéd in blue tackle twill. A Cubs team patch appears on the left sleeve. The uniform number, year, set number and size ("10-71-1-42") are chain-stitched in blue upon a white strip tag in the collar. Located on the left front tail are a "Wilson 42" label and the year, "1971," which is chain-stitched in blue. Santo has signed the jersey in black Sharpie (grading "9/10") on the left front tail, just above the manufacturer's tag. Aside from one of the original buttons having been replaced, the jersey is all original and displays moderate-to-heavy wear throughout, including two team repairs on the left breast. Ron Santo was not only one of the best third baseman of his era but one of the most popular Cubs players in history. Santo debuted with the Cubs in 1960 and over the next fifteen years he was a model of consistency, both at the plate and in the field. Santo averaged 23 home runs and 88 RBI per season over the course of his career, and retired with a .277 lifetime average. He was equally adept in the field, winning five Gold Glove Awards. A nine-time All Star, Santo retired in 1974 with 2,254, hits, 342 home runs, and 1,331 RBI. While those totals do not compare favorably to some of the inflated numbers posted by today's stars, it must be noted that at the time of Santo's retirement, only one third baseman in history had totaled over 400 home runs (Eddie Mathews) and only two had amassed more than 2,500 hits (Brooks Robinson and Lave Cross). Santo also had to cope with the problems of being a Type 1 diabetic, a condition which he kept hidden for much of his career and which later resulted in his losing both his legs. Despite the fact that he has been continually overlooked by Hall of Fame voters, Bill James lists him as one of the top 100 players in baseball history. The Cubs duly honored him in 2003 when they officially retired his number (he is one of only four Cubs players to have his number retired). Graded A9.5 by MEARS (10 point base grade, with a half point deducted for a replaced button). LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $15,275
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