Major auction of moments and memories 75 years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier
They play their home games some 3,000-plus miles away from our borough.
But their history is alive and well in Brooklyn.
The Dodgers wear Los Angeles on their chest – and have done so since their first game – April 18, 1958 when they defeated the Giants 6-5 before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Yes, the Dodgers may just be memories for most in Brooklyn.
And Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage is bringing those Dodger memories to life with an on-line auction through Saturday, February 26th.
“The tale of Jackie Robinson’s first meeting with Brooklyn Dodgers President on August 28, 1945, has been recounted and reshaped so many times it long ago slipped from memory to mythology,” Ivy told the Eagle.
“It is testament to Rickey’s sophistication and foresight that he chose a ballplayer who would become a symbol of strength rather than assimilation,” wrote Jonathan Eig in The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season in 2008. “It is testament to Robinson’s intelligence and ambition that he recognized the importance of turning the other cheek and yet found a way to do it without appearing the least bit weak.”
At the end of March, 1946, one month before his debut as one of the Dodgers’ minor-league Montreal Royals, Jackie filled out a standard questionnaire provided by the American Baseball Bureau.
“It was a standard questionnaire,” Ivy said, “the usual details, height, weight, hobbies.”
“That questionnaire,” Ivy said, “is at the top of the list of our auction items.
“What sets it apart,” he continued, “is one answer Jackie wrote – ‘To open the doors to Negros in organized ball,’ it’s an amazing piece.”
The estimated value of the questionnaire, according to Ivy is $1M plus. Today it’s sitting at $1.3M.
The auction features all one would want from a Robinson and Dodger event – a signed baseball from Robinson, Gil Hodges’ signed 1951 contract, beautiful-conditioned cards, including a 1948 Leaf Robinson rookie card graded PSA NM-MT 8.
“And the auction features something seldom seen at auction,” said Ivy. “A ticket stub from Ebbets Field dated April 15, 1947 – the day Robinson made his big-league debut against the Boston Braves — just five days after signing his Dodger contract.”
He went hitless that day in front of 26,623 fans, but scored the go-ahead run after reaching base on an error.
The estimated value of the ticket stub is $100,000 according to Ivy; and it’s already exceeded $185,000.
Another piece of history is included in this event – a copy of Robinson’s book, Wait Till Next Year, in which the author penned a note for his teammate – and friend – Pee Wee Reese.
Robinson wrote: “Pee Wee, whether you are willing to admit what your being just a great guy meant a great deal to my career. I want to sincerely hope all the things you want in life be yours. Best to the family, Sincerely, Jackie Robinson.”
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer.
The auction is open now, HA.com – live – and it is an extended bid auction.
And the memories stand the test of time.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter @AndyFurmanFSR
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