Cleveland Browns home jersey worn by legendary Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown during the early to mid 1960s. Graded A8 by MEARS.
The jersey, which is made from brown tear-away light-dureen fabric, features the number "32" on the front, reverse, and each sleeve. All numerals are appliquéd in white tackle twill. The crotch strap, which would have displayed both a "King O'Shea" label and a size tag, has been cut away (it was common for the crotch strap to be removed from game jerseys that were later used for practice). Despite the loss of the year tag (which was located on the removed crotch piece), MEARS notes in its accompanying letter that the style elements of the jersey, specifically the numbers on the sleeves, place its date of manufacture between 1961 and 1965 (1965 was Jim Brown's final season). Aside from the crotch strap having been removed, the jersey is original as issued, with no other alterations. Heavy wear is displayed throughout, including numerous team repairs on the front, reverse (particularly the numerals), and shoulders. The amount of use evident here is not surprising given its provenance. This jersey has been in our consignor's family since the 1960s and was originally obtained by his father, who was employed by the Cleveland Parks and Recreation Department. His father originally worked at League Park and then Cleveland Stadium (Cleveland Stadium was home to the Browns from 1946 to 1995). According to family lore, sometime during the 1960s his father attempted to get a football signed by members of the Browns. Since he worked there and saw them on a regular basis, all the players were happy to oblige. However, for some reason, Jim Brown, with whom he had had a friendly relationship, refused to sign the ball. Brown's refusal led to a heated argument between the two and they didn't speak for a while after that. After some time had gone by and both had "cooled down," Brown apologized to him and signed the ball. It was then that Brown presented him with one of his jerseys as a goodwill gesture.
Babe Ruth, Wilt Chamberlain, Wayne Gretzky. Every sport has its own icon, a larger-than-life figure whose performance on the field of play far surpassed that of any player before him. In football, that player was Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. Despite the fact that he played only nine seasons (1957-1965), Brown shattered nearly every NFL career and single-season offensive record on the books including rushing yards, total yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, and total yards from scrimmage. He also led the NFL in rushing a record eight times and was the first player to rush for over 100 touchdowns. Today, he still holds the career record for yards per carry (5.2) and is the only running back in history to average over 100 yards per game. As impressive as those numbers are, they fail to tell the whole story. Brown possessed an incomparable combination of size, speed, and power. In describing the Hall of Fame back, legendary sportswriter Red Smith once wrote “For mercurial speed, airy nimbleness, and explosive violence in one package of undistilled evil, there is no other like Mr. Brown.” Most of the defensive players from that era probably echoed that sentiment. Perhaps his most extraordinary accomplishment is the fact that in nine full seasons, playing at a position where injuries are common, Brown never missed a game. His postseason honors include nine consecutive Pro Bowl selections, the 1957 Rookie of the Year Award and four NFL Most Valuable Player Awards (1957, 1958, 1963, and 1965). Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In 2002 he received his highest honor when The Sporting News, in compiling a list of the top 100 football players in history, ranked Brown the greatest football player of all time. Graded A8 by MEARS (base grade of 10, with 2 points deducted for the missing crotch strap). LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open).