Addendum (4/7/2020; 11 AM): It has been brought to our attention that the interior red stitching is missing from the front two numerals on this jersey. We have discussed this with MEARS, and while they noticed this upon their review of the jersey, they found it to be a minor manufacturing anomaly and not significant enough to warrant any deductions from the grade. Additionally, they reaffirmed their opinion that the jersey is original as issued, with no alterations, and worthy of the A9 grade.
Atlanta Braves home jersey worn by legendary slugger Hank Aaron during the historic 1974 season in which he broke Babe Ruth's long-standing all-time home run record. Graded A9 by MEARS. The white-and-blue knit jersey is lettered "Braves" across the front and features the number "44" on the left breast and reverse. All letters and numerals are appliquéd in blue-on-white tackle twill (with red Swiss embroidered edging). The Braves "feather" emblem adorns each sleeve. Both the year and jersey size ("74 42") are chain-stitched in black upon a white strip tag in the collar. Also located in the collar, directly above the tag, is a "Wilson 42" label. The jersey is original as issued, with no alterations, and displays heavy wear, including light, scattered staining on the front and reverse, and partial tears to the stitching of the "Wilson" label.
1974 was not only the most memorable season of Aaron's storied career, but one of the most historic in baseball history. Aaron ended the 1973 season with 713 career home runs, leaving him just two shy of breaking what many considered the game's most unattainable record: Babe Ruth's 714 lifetime home runs. Aaron didn’t make the fans wait long to begin celebrating that year, as he tied Ruth's home-run record in his very first at-bat of the season in Cincinnati. Two games later, in Atlanta, Aaron made history when he hit a two-run home run off of Dodgers left-hander Al Downing to become baseball's all-time home run king. The jersey Aaron wore when hitting his 715th home run resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame, making this Aaron home jersey the next best alternative from that record-breaking season. Aaron hit a total of 20 home runs in 1974, with 11 of those coming at home. In addition to his 715th career home run, Aaron also added career home runs 716, 718, 719, 721, 722, 724, 726, 729, 730, and 733 while wearing a Braves home jersey. While we will never know for certain, logic dictates that since players normally received only two home and two away jerseys during the regular season, at least one or more of those additional home runs hit at home by Aaron in 1974 were made while wearing this very jersey. Almost nearly as important is the fact that 1974 also marked Aaron's final season with the Braves. Aaron's last game with the club occurred on October 2nd against the Cincinnati Reds in Atlanta. Aaron went 1-3 with a solo home run in the Braves' 13-0 win that day; therefore, this jersey could conceivably be the one he wore not only in his last game with the Braves, but while hitting his 733rd and final home run for the club. (Aaron was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers one month later; nobody realized it was his last game with the Braves at the time.) This is an exceptional high-grade Aaron jersey, made all the more significant by its year of issue. Graded A9 by MEARS (base grade of 10, with a combined one point deducted for light staining and the partially broken stitching on the "Wilson" label). Opening Bid $10,000. Estimate (open).