Los Angeles Dodgers home jersey worn by Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax in 1958. Graded A7 by MEARS. This is one of only a small number of 1950s Sandy Koufax jerseys we have ever seen and the only example from 1958, which was the Dodgers' first season in Los Angeles. According to an accompanying signed letter of provenance from a former owner named Chris Kurtz, this jersey originates from a gentleman who was the head of field maintenance for Dodger Stadium. In part: "I received this Sandy Koufax jersey as a birthday gift around 1984 from a family friend Tony Martin. From what I remember, Tony played minor league baseball for the Dodgers back in the day and I thought he got it from that affiliation with the ball club. I since found out that Tony's father was head of the field maintenance at Dodger Stadium back in the 1950's and he somehow got possession of the jersey." Kurtz goes on to relate how, in 1987, he took the jersey to a card show in San Francisco at which Sandy Koufax was appearing and had Koufax sign it for him (two photos of Koufax posing with Kurtz and the jersey at that show are included in the lot). In 2002, Kurtz sold the jersey at auction, where it was purchased by our consignor and in whose sole possession it has remained until now.
The white flannel jersey is lettered "Dodgers" across the front and features the number "32" on the left breast and reverse. All letters and reverse numerals are appliquéd in blue felt. All front numerals are appliquéd in red felt. The name "Koufax" and the year, "58," are chain-stitched in blue on the left front tail. Positioned directly above the name and year are a "Rawlings Hall of Fame Flannel" label and adjacent "42" size tag. Located on the interior left front tail are a laundry label and an adjacent flag tag reading "Set 1 1958." Koufax has signed the jersey in blue Sharpie (grading "8" on the right breast. The jersey is original as issued, with no alterations. Moderate wear is displayed throughout, including a number of small tears (some of which are repaired), a large repaired tear to the left sleeve, and a few small moth holes.
This jersey is significant in that it dates from Koufax's first season as a member of the Dodgers starting pitching rotation. Although Koufax began his career in Brooklyn in 1955, he only saw limited action his first three seasons with the Dodgers. It wasn't until the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958, when Koufax finally cracked the starting rotation, that his celebrated pitching career truly began. Koufax started 26 games in 1958 and finished the year with a record of 11-11 and a 4.48 ERA. While he struck out 131 batters in 158 innings, he was still coming to grips with his control, as evidenced by his 105 bases on balls. When it all came together though, beginning in 1961, Dodgers fans were treated to six of the most dominating seasons ever put forth on the mound, highlighted by his three Cy Young Award seasons of 1963, 1965, and 1966. During that 6-year span, Koufax won 129 games, lost only 47, and led the league in ERA in five times, including three seasons under 2.00. He also led the league in strikeouts four of those six seasons, including a then-record 382 in 1965. Unfortunately, an arm injury cut short his career after the 1966 season, and he retired with a lifetime record of 165-87, 2,396 strikeouts, and a 2.76 ERA. Graded A7 by MEARS (base grade of 10, with 3 points deducted for the tears and moth holes). LOA from MEARS. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Opening Bid $50,000. Estimate $150,000++.
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