Unlike an overwhelming majority of trading cards, there is still a bunch of sports memorabilia worth a ton of dough. Much of it, at least from one particular online auction, provides a fresh glimpse into some of the most memorable moments in sports history, such as the sale of Babe Ruth’s contract from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, which prompted (some would say) an 86-year curse upon the Beantown franchise, and the robe Evander Holyfield wore when he beat Mike Tyson to win the WBA Heavyweight in 1996.
For Tablet readers, perhaps the item that will stand out most in Leland’s public auction (bidding ends June 30) is Sandy Koufax’s Brooklyn Dodgers rookie jersey, a beautiful grey-and-blue garment with felt lettering that’s nearing a $200,000 sale price ($177k+ as of this publishing). The auctioneer says that the jersey is one of only two in existence. What makes this jersey more significant, perhaps, is that the Dodgers won the World Series in Koufax’s rookie season, beating the Yankees in seven games. That year Koufax was just 19 years old, played on a salary of $6,000, and appeared in just 12 games (he didn’t actually play in the World Series). Of course the lefty would go on to have a Hall of Fame career, winning both the World Series and the Cy Young Award three times.
Did I mention he also chose to sit during Game 1 of the 1965 World Series in observance of Yom Kippur?
So if you’ve got a fat wallet or a deep, deep line of credit, g’head, bid away. Grey goes with everything.
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When They Were Kings: Greenberg and Koufax Sit on Yom Kippur
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.