AUCTION NAME: REA Fall 2014

AUCTION IS CLOSED.
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LOT 1200:  1927 Wilcy Moore NY Yankees game-used road uniform (jersey, pants, and hat) Ex-Halper
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Description

 

CURRENT BID:  $37,500.00

Start:  4/8/2009 11:00:00 AM EST 

End:  5/3/2009 3:00:00 AM EST

Auction is closed

  STARTING BID:  $10,000.00

BID COUNT:  18 (Bid History)

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DESCRIPTION
Offered here is that rare sports garment whose appeal, due to the legendary stature of the team, transcends the world of sports collecting. Presented is a complete New York Yankees road uniform (jersey, pants, and hat) worn by pitcher Wilcy Moore during the club's historic 1927 baseball season. Although other New York Yankees 1927 jerseys are known, this particular ensemble is especially noteworthy for the fact that it is a complete uniform, including the matching pants and cap. The cap, in particular, is a very significant item on its own, and the pants are an extremely rare and noteworthy accompaniment to the jersey. The jersey is graded A9 by MEARS. The significance of this jersey is further predicated upon the importance of the player who wore it. Wilcy Moore was one of the club’s top pitchers in 1927, fashioning a record of 19-7 with a league-leading ERA of 2.28. He also distinguished himself in the 1927 World Series, leading all pitchers in innings pitched (10.2) and ERA (0.84) while winning one game and saving another.

Wilcy Moore will forever be remembered as one of the premier pitchers on the 1927 Yankees. Moore came to the Yankees in 1927 as a thirty-year-old rookie and appeared on the mound in an incredible fifty games for the Yankees in 1927, leading all pitchers in appearances that year. He was used primarily as a reliever, but also started twelve games, and finished the season with nineteen wins and a League-leading thirteen saves. His ERA in the 213 innings he pitched was a League-leading 2.28. If there were a Cy Young award in 1927, Moore probably would have won it. He was the ace of the Yankees pitching staff during the historic 1927 season.

One of the great baseball stories of the 1927 season relates to Moore's hitting, or more aptly, his lack of hitting. Moore was so noted for being a terrible hitter that his teammate, Babe Ruth, made a bet with him early in the 1927 season. Ruth bet $300 to Moore's $15 that Moore would not hit a home run all season long. The Babe was so sure that this was easy money; he even told reporters "My money's as safe as a church." When Moore finally did connect for a home run, it was a glorious event that surprised everyone, especially Ruth, and allowed Moore to collect Ruth's $300. With the money from the bet, Moore bought two mules for his farm. He named one "Babe" and the other "Ruth." If you look up Moore's pathetic lifetime hitting record, with his anemic .102 lifetime batting average, you will see that this was the only home run he managed to hit during his entire career.

The gray-flannel jersey is lettered “Yankees” across the front in blue felt letters. Moore’s name (“Moore W. W.”) is chain-stitched in red within the collar. Also located in the collar is a “Spalding” label. The size (“44”) is chain-stitched in red along the base of the right front tail. As noted by MEARS, based on style alone, this jersey can be definitively dated to either the 1927 or 1928 season. We believe that this jersey is a 1927 jersey, as opposed to possibly being a 1928 jersey. All of the authentic 1927/1928 New York Yankees uniforms in the hobby today originate from the fabled Barry Halper Collection. Many years ago Halper purchased a Yankees equipment trunk of uniforms containing a Lou Gehrig jersey, as well as jerseys of Dutch Ruether, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, Waite Hoyt, this Wilcy Moore uniform, and a couple of others, directly from the Yankees longtime former equipment manager Pete Sheehy. At the time Halper sold a few of the uniforms privately, including the Wilcy Moore, and kept the Gehrig and several others (which were sold in the famous 1999 Halper auction). We know that the Dutch Reuther jersey could only date from 1927 (as opposed to 1928) as he was with the Yankees in 1927 but not in 1928. Common sense dictates that Pete Sheehy probably would not have mixed up the uniforms from the 1927 season with the uniforms from the 1928 season when storing them away in the trunk long ago, and that all of the jerseys in the equipment trunk, including Wilcy Moore's uniform, therefore date from 1927.

The jersey displays moderate wear, including a small tear along the rear tail and slight fading to the letters on the front (common to all known 1927 Yankees jerseys). Aside from one of the buttons having been replaced the jersey is completely original with no alterations. The matching gray pants also feature Moore’s name (“Moore W. W.”) chain-stitched in red along the waistband. A “Spalding” label is located to the right of Moore’s name. The size (“38”) is chain-stitched in red along the button-fly flap. The pants display significant wear, including soiling and a large tear on the back of the left pant leg. The navy wool cap features the club’s “NY” logo embroidered in white on the front and dates from the 1927 era. The cap bears no name, manufacturer’s label or size tag and displays moderate-to-heavy soiling. The jersey has been graded A9 by MEARS (base grade of 10, with a half point deducted for the replaced button, and another half point deducted for the small tear on the back). The pants have been evaluated and designated “Authentic” (MEARS doesn’t grade pants). The cap has been evaluated and is designated “Attributed to Wilcy Moore” based upon the fact that it is an authentic 1927/1928 Yankees pro-model hat and that it came together with the jersey and pants. Currently, this is only the second 1927 era New York Yankees jersey ever authenticated by MEARS.

Major League jerseys dating from the 1920s are extremely rare, let alone those worn by top players on significant championship clubs. In terms of mystique, one would be hard pressed to find a finer uniform than the offered garment. While one can argue whether or not the 1927 Yankees are the greatest ball club ever, no one can deny the fact that they are the most famous. Everyone, even the most casual fan, has heard of the club’s fabled “Murderers' Row” lineup and knows of Ruth’s then record sixty home runs. The Yankees are baseball’s greatest franchise and the 1927 club represents the height of the team’s unprecedented glory.

The uniform is accompanied by two photographs of Moore wearing a similar (possibly identical) Yankees uniform. The photos have been matted and framed together to total dimensions of 14.25 x 12 inches. This item appeared as Lot 1346 in Robert Edward Auctions' April 2008 sale, where it realized a final sale price of $64,625. It has be consigned to this auction, along with a number of other items, by the original purchaser. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $25,000+.
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