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1948 Cliff Mapes New York Yankees Signed Game-Used Road Jersey - Last Number "3" in Team History!
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,666.25
Historic New York Yankees road jersey worn by Cliff Mapes in 1948. What makes this jersey so special (over and above being a 1948 Cliff Mapes New York Yankees jersey) is that it was the last New York Yankees game-worn jersey to feature the number "3" before the club officially retired Ruth's number on June 13, 1948. Interestingly, Ruth's number "3" was the not the first uniform number retired by the Yankees. That honor belonged to Lou Gehrig, who had his number "4" retired in 1939 after the diagnosis of his tragic illness. In fact, between the years 1935 and 1948, number "3" was worn by six different players, with Mapes, in 1948, the last to don the Babe's former number. After the retirement ceremony at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 1948, which was captured for all posterity in Nat Fein's classic image, "The Babe Bows Out," Mapes turned in the offered jersey. Subsequently, both the "New York" on the front and the number "3" on the reverse were then removed and the jersey was sent down for use by one of the Yankees' farm teams, as was common practice at the time. (Upon very close examination under bright light, one can still discern the very faint outline of the original number "3" on the reverse.) Some time later, after the jersey had finally outlived its usefulness, the "New York" on the front was restored with vintage blue-felt letters. Except for the removal of the number "3" and the restoration of the front lettering, the grey flannel jersey is original as issued. Located in the collar are a "Wilson" label, an adjacent flag tag bearing the size, "44," and the name "Mapes" chain-stitched in black upon a grey strip tag. A "48" year tag appears on the inside of the left front tail. Mapes has signed the jersey in blue Sharpie (grading "9") in the collar, just below the name tag. This jersey once resided in the famed Barry Halper Collection and was always one of Barry's favorite items given its great significance with regard to Ruth. It was Barry who later personally obtained Mapes' signature in the collar, as was his custom with game-used jerseys. Our consignor purchased this jersey in the famous Sotheby's Halper auction in 1999 (the original auction lot label is still attached to the jersey) where it realized $2,185 and it has been in his sole possession since that time. The jersey displays heavy wear, including light soiling on the front and reverse, as well as few tiny tears on the reverse. Vintage New York Yankees flannel jerseys have always been highly coveted by collectors, even those worn by common players. However, few tell as significant a story as does this historic garment: the last New York Yankees game-worn jersey to bear Ruth's "3." LOA from James Spence/JSA (for the autograph only). Reserve $500. Estimate $2,000++. SOLD FOR $2,666.25
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