Los Angeles Dodgers jersey worn by Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale during the club's historic first season in Los Angeles. This is an extremely early Drysdale jersey, worn in just his third season with the club, and we know of only one example that predates it. The white flannel jersey is lettered "Dodgers" across the front and features the number "56" 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 "Drysdale" 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." Graded A5 by MEARS. The jersey displays heavy wear, which is indicative of it having been later sent down for use in the minors. While used in the minors, Drysdale's original number "53" was removed from the front and reverse, and a new number was applied (it is not readily apparent what number replaced the "53"). Subsequently, after it was used in the minors, the number was once again stripped and changed back to Drysdale's original number "53" (the restored number is of a slightly different than the original "53"). Aside from the number change, the jersey is original as issued, with no other alterations.
Don Drysdale enjoyed a spectacular fourteen-year career (1956-1969) with the Dodgers, twelve of which were spent in Los Angeles. Along with fellow Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, Drysdale anchored one of the best pitching staffs in baseball during the early 1960s, leading the Dodgers to four pennants and three World Championships between the years 1959 and 1966. Like most young pitchers, Drysdale was still struggling to maintain consistency during his early career. After winning 17 games during his first full season with the club in 1957, he struggled during his sophomore campaign, finishing year with a record of 12-13 a 4.17 ERA. Drysdale's struggles in 1958 mirrored those of the club, which finished in seventh place; its worst showing since 1944. The following year Drysdale anchored a staff that led the Dodgers to its first World Championship in Los Angeles. Drysdale retired with 209 wins and a lifetime ERA of 2.95. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. Graded A5 by MEARS (base grade of 10, with 3 points deducted for the number change and 2 additional points for having been worn by a different player in the minor leagues). Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000++.
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