1976 Phil Niekro Atlanta Braves Game-Used Home Jersey - Earliest Example Graded by MEARS

Sold For: $2,644

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1343

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Atlanta Braves home jersey worn by Hall of Fame knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro in 1976. Graded A9 by MEARS. This jersey holds the distinction of being the earliest Phil Niekro jersey ever graded by MEARS. It is also a scarce "style" jersey, worn by the Braves only for the four-year period 1976 through 1979. The white knit pinstripe jersey is lettered "Braves" across the front and features the number "35" on both the left breast and reverse. All letters and numerals are appliqu├ęd in blue-on-white tackle twill, edged with red embroidery. A National League "Centennial" patch appears on the right sleeve. Both the year and jersey size ("76 44") are chain-stitched in blue upon a white strip tag in the collar. Located directly above the strip tag is a "Wilson 44" label. The jersey is completely original, with no alterations, and displays heavy wear throughout, including light toning and discoloration, as well as shrinking, to both the front letters and reverse numerals. Niekro started thirty-seven games in 1976, finishing the year with a 17-11 record and 3.29 ERA. Like most knuckleball artists, Niekro was extremely durable and finished his twenty-four year career ranked in the top five in both games started (716) and innings pitched (5,404). He retired in 1987 with 318 wins, 3,342 strikeouts, and a 3.35 ERA. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997. Graded A9 by MEARS (base grade of 10, but minus a half point for the toning/discoloration to the letters and numerals, and another half point for the shrinking of the letters and numerals). This is one of just six Phil Niekro jerseys listed in the MEARS census. LOA from Troy Kinunen and Dave Grob/MEARS. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500+. SOLD FOR $2,644

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