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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/30/2011
Cal Ripken Jr. needs no introduction. His consecutive game streak, 3,000+ hits, HOF status, and his status as baseball’s good will ambassador makes him one of the most respected names in the game.
Respect is the key to this offering, as the villains in the hobby have made many attempts to bastardize Ripken’s good name. Since 2004, this is only the second MEARS A10 regular season Cal Ripken Jr. jersey evaluated by our company. In the same time span, over one dozen jerseys have been rejected by our company or deemed as “unable to authenticate”. Ripken is surely one of the most faked or unverifiable jerseys on the market.
For the MEARS January 20th-29th, 2011 Auction, we are happy to offer a 1985 Cal Ripken Jr. game worn home jersey, with direct provenance from a team photographer. His memories of acquiring the jersey and Ripken’s actual reaction to seeing it is captured in the accompanying notarized LOA excerpt posted.
The jersey details are:
1985 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles Home Jersey (MEARS #311477)
Player: Jersey is attributed to Cal Ripken Jr. via the front uniform number 8 found on the front (4 ¾” orange on black tackle twill), reverse uniform number 8 found on reverse (8” orange on black tackle twill), and the “RIPKEN” (3” orange on tackle twill) found sewn onto a nameplate. Baseball Almanac verified Cal Ripken Jr. as wearing number 8 during the 1985 season.
Dating (1985): Jersey is dated to 1985 as evidenced by the Rawlings supplied 1985 strip tag found on the manufacturers tag.
Manufacturer (Rawlings): Rawlings was a supplier of home jerseys to the Baltimore Orioles during the 1985 seasons. Other examples to enter the hobby include:
1985 Eddie Murray Home Rawlings (MEARS database)
1985 Cal Ripken Jr. Road Rawlings (MEARS database)
1985 Eddie Murray Home Pants Rawlings
Rawlings also supplied the Orioles with jersey during 1984 and 1986, supporting the trend of them as a manufacturing of Orioles jerseys during the relative time span. The style of the1985 Rawlings tag with addition of the year/set tag were verified by comparison to:
1985 K. Hernandez Cardinals
1985 Foli Rangers
1985 Eddie Murray
The above example was chosen to verify style of Rawlings tag for 1985 jerseys.
Construction: The construction of the jersey is consistent with Rawlings supplied examples supplied to major league teams during 1985. The jersey is manufactured from a knit material and features orange/white/black ribbing on the collar and sleeves. The jersey possesses Raglan style sleeves. The jersey style is button down, as both button and pull over were used by major league teams during the 1985 season. Rawlings jerseys were issued with 6 buttons, which is consistent with this examined jersey. Corbis image #BE053798 verifies the Orioles wearing a button down shirt with Raglan sleeve bearing this color ribbing pattern. The nameplate and numbering are all original with no visible signs of restoration.
1985 Eddie Murray Home jersey (MEARS Database) also verifies the construction of this jersey.
Size 44: The 1985 Baltimore Orioles team media guide list’s Cal at 6’4”, 200 pounds. Jersey is consistent with respect to size for Cal Ripken Jr. for the period when compared to other examples. For reference:
1985 Ripken Road Rawlings Size 44, extra length. 23” chest, 34”torso
Although this jersey does not contain an actual extra length tag, the torso size is consistent with another 1985 Ripken jersey evaluated by MEARS.
the neck. The entire shell, both front and back, show consistent wear to the fabric. In the area of the left sleeve is light spotting in the area of the underarms, consistent with sweat. Other areas of toning can be found in the area of the shoulders and the nameplate. Overall, the use is even and consistent throughout the body shell.
Sessarego of Gettysburg, PA. . The letter, printed on his personal “Through the Lens” stationary reads,
“Mr. Sessarego has been a sports photographer for the past 30 years. His career began as a photographer of professional auto racing. In 1984, he became interested in professional baseball, more specifically the nearby Baltimore Orioles. As a fan, he began taking photos from the stands, and then in 1985 he attended Spring Training in Miami as a representative of the local paper. For the next few years, his photographs from Spring Training were featured in the Gettysburg Times. A copy of a newspaper featuring Mr. Sessarego’s work is included with this lot, with his photo credits listed.
From my first travels to the ballpark, I found that the players, coaches, batboys, and other ballclub employees were eager to acquire copies of his photographs. I soon became quite friendly with the players, and often traded them their used gear (i.e. bats, batting gloves, cleats, signed balls, occasionally a jersey). As time passed, word got out that I was a collector, and I began being offered items to purchase by people associated with the team.
One such example is the jersey sold here today. At the start of the 1986 season, while at Spring Training at Miami Stadium, Cal Ripken Jr. game this 1985 jersey to a Cuban gentleman he knew, who was one of the head groundskeepers. The jersey was given to the man’s nephew, who liked it, but was not really an Oriole’s fan. I met him while at Spring Training, and after some coaxing, he agreed to sell it to me. At the time, spring of 1986, it was really not a big deal, as Cal Ripken Jr. was just a good shortstop, and well liked player.
I did not show or mention the jersey to Cal until the next year, 1987, for fear the stadium employee would suffer some problems, but as I recall he was gone by 1987 anyway. In 1987, when I showed the jersey to Cal one afternoon after practice, and asked him if he would autograph it for me, he played a trick on me that I’ll never forget.
“What have you got there, Al?” Cal asked. “Well, it is one of your game worn 1985 jerseys that I would like autographed.” I replied, “Oh…well, I’ll have to check it for my secret mark,” he said, and took it into his hands, and quickly turned his back to me, acting as if he was searching for some hidden mark. I was scared to death..”Secret mark”??? I had looked at the jersey 100 times, and seen no mark. Then Cal turned around laughing, and signed it. “I was just kidding” replied Ripken. “
The letter is notarized in the Gettysburg Boro, and dated January 2002.
Final Grade (MEARS A10): Per the MEARS worksheet, there were no traits warranting a negative point deduction.
JSA letter for autograph. MEARS A10/Troy R. Kinunen
(JSA Auction Letter)