1959 Elston Howard New York Yankees Game-Used Road Jersey (with Pants and Stirrups)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $10,072.50
New York Yankees road jersey worn by catcher Elston Howard in 1959. While all Elston Howard New York Yankees jerseys are both rare and highly prized by collectors, the offered example is especially noteworthy for its impeccable provenance. This jersey, which comes with a matching pair of pants and stirrup socks, was issued to and worn by our consignor during one of his minor-league seasons in the early 1960s. Ideally, he has provided a letter of provenance with the jersey in which he details its history. In part: "I played for the Yankee minor league system from 1963 to 1966. As was the custom, minor league teams were the recipients of major league uniforms no longer deemed worthy of use at the major league level. One year I was assigned Elston Howard's road uniform. At the end of the season, the clubhouse manager indicated that the uniform would not be returned to inventory and that I could have it. That is how I came into possession of this item."
As is common for Major League uniforms that have been sent down for use in the minors, the original front lettering ("New York") has been removed; however, the original number "32" on the reverse, which is appliquéd in navy felt, remains intact. The original player's name and year ("Howard '59") are chain-stitched in navy upon a gray strip tag in the collar. Located on the left front tail is a "Wilson 44" label. Aside from the removal of "New York" across the front, the gray flannel jersey is original as issued, with no other alterations. As one would expect, the jersey displays heavy use throughout, including numerous light stains on the front and reverse and a number of tiny holes to the felt numerals. The matching gray flannel pants feature a "Spalding" label in the waistband, adjacent to which are a "38" size tag, a laundry tag, and a flag tag that reads "Set 1 1959." Written in black laundry marker upon the waistband is the name "Risley" and the number "26." Heavy wear is evident throughout, including a number of moderate-to-heavy stains. Together with a pair of navy stirrup socks.
Elston Howard, in addition to being one of the Yankees' top players during the late 1950s and early 1960s, was also the first African-American player to appear on the Yankees roster. Howard made his debut with the Yankees in 1955 and quickly established himself as one of the game's top all-around players. Beginning in 1957, Howard appeared in nine straight All-Star Games and in 1963 he became the first African-American player to win the American League MVP Award. Howard batted over .300 on three different occasions, including a career-high .348 in 1961, and also garnered consecutive Gold Glove Awards as a catcher in 1963 and 1964. During his thirteen seasons with the "Bronx Bombers," Howard helped lead the club to nine pennants and four World Championships, with his performance in the 1958 fall classic earning him the Babe Ruth Award as the outstanding player in the Series. After his playing career was over, Howard served as a Yankee coach until his death in 1980. In 1984 the Yankees officially retired Howard's number "32," making him one of only sixteen Yankee players ever so honored by the club. This is the first Elston Howard jersey we have ever offered and one that is entirely new to the hobby, making it an especially desirable example as well. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,500+. SOLD FOR $10,072.50