1985 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles Signed Game-Used Jersey - MEARS A10

Sold For: $9,988

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1350

Item Year: 1985

Category: Game-Used Jerseys & Equipment

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Baltimore Orioles road jersey worn by Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. during the 1985 season. Graded a perfect A10 by MEARS. This is one of the finest Cal Ripken Jr. jerseys in existence, especially with regard to provenance. Our consignor obtained this jersey directly from professional photographer Alan Sessarego, who covered the Orioles during the mid 1980s. In his accompanying three-page LOA, dated June 25, 2006, Sessarego details how he obtained the jersey. He writes, in part: "As a professional photographer, I had covered Orioles Spring Training at Miami Stadium for the local newspaper in the mid 1980's. I was then hired by Ray Knight, World Series MVP for the Mets, who had been signed as Orioles' third baseman, to photograph him at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore during the regular season. I had been trading players my photographs for their game worn gear, and also purchasing such items. I had actually owned two of Cal Ripken's jerseys...The jersey you purchased has been in my personal possession for almost 20 years. I personally obtained Cal Ripken's autograph on this jersey at Memorial Stadium. It is certainly a fine piece of baseball memorabilia from a sure Hall of Fame player." In addition to his letter, Sessarego has also provided two photographs of him posing with Cal Ripken Jr. outside Memorial Stadium and a photo of him at Memorial Stadium taking pictures during a game. While its provenance is exceptional, even without provenance the jersey speaks for itself and is equally impressive on its own merits. The gray knit jersey is lettered "Orioles" across the front and features the number "8" on both the left breast and reverse. "Ripken" is lettered on the reverse, directly below the number. All letters and numerals are appliqu�d in orange on black tackle twill. Both a "Sand-Knit 44" label and a Sand-Knit exclusivity label (reading in part "Designed & Tailored Exclusively for the Baltimore Orioles") appear on the left front tail. Located on the interior rear tail are two white strip tags. The first displays the year and size of the garment in black stamped numerals, "85 44Z." The second tag features the name "Ripken" written by hand in vintage black marker. Ripken has beautifully inscribed the jersey in black marker (grading "9/10') on the rear tail: "Cal Ripken Jr. - 'Shortstop.'" Although 1985 marked only Ripken's fourth full season in the Majors, he was already established as one of the game's premier players, with both a Rookie of the Year Award and Most Valuable Player Award displayed on his mantel. He also entered the season having played in 441 consecutive games, which, unbeknownst to everyone at the time, would provide the foundation that would eventually lead to his breaking Lou Gehrig's long-standing record ten years later. Ripken enjoyed another banner season in 1985, finishing the year with 26 home runs, 110 RBI and a .282 average. He also appeared in his third of an eventual nineteen consecutive All-Star Games. The fact that Ripken played in an era when steroids and performance enhancing drugs appear to have been the norm for most of the game's top stars is unfortunate; however, knowing that he has never, even remotely, been linked to such practices has only enhanced his stature and made his record of 2,632 consecutive games played all the more remarkable. In addition to his "Iron Man" reputation, Ripken is one of only 27 players to have reached the 3,000 hit plateau and his 431 lifetime home runs ranks him among the top 50 all-time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007 in his first year of eligibility. Graded A10 by MEARS. This is one of only twelve graded Cal Ripken Jr. jerseys listed in the MEARS census. It is also one of only four to merit a grade of A10. This is both an exceptional and extremely well documented Ripken jersey dating from his early career. LOAs from Troy Kinunen/MEARS and James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++. SOLD FOR $9,988

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