Sandy Koufax’s Game-Worn Brooklyn Dodgers Rookie Jersey Sells For $1.8 Million

A historic piece of baseball history hit seven-figures at auction on Friday night. Sandy Koufax’s game-worn Brooklyn Dodgers rookie jersey from 1955 sold for $1.8 million at Heritage Auctions following 28 bids. Koufax’s rookie jersey was photo-matched by jersey authenticator MEARS.

It fell below the $2.5 million estimated value. This Koufax jersey previously sold at Leland’s Auction for $667,189.20.

The road gray is the only known Koufax rookie jersey and it might be the first jersey the Hall of Famer ever wore for the Dodgers. According to Heritage, there’s a 50 percent chance this is the jersey Koufax wore in his Major League Baseball debut against the Milwaukee Braves on June 24, 1955, at the age of 19. There’s also a possibility it’s the jersey Koufax wore when the Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series. During that time, players wore only four jerseys — two home and two away — per season.

Game-worn Sandy Koufax rookie jersey from 1955
Game-worn Sandy Koufax rookie jersey from 1955. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

“It survives in 100% original and unaltered condition, the sole half-point deduction assessed by the experts at MEARS for ‘small holes’ near the collar and tail that only the closest of inspection will reveal. The aesthetics are effectively unimprovable, and instantly evocative of that most exciting time in New York City baseball,” Heritage Auctions writes in the description lot. “‘Dodgers’ is crafted from blue felt in that timeless script across the chest, the same material forming the number ’32’ on reverse that would never ride another player’s jersey. Blue piping at collar, button path and sleeves remains complete and undamaged.

“Interior collar is properly tagged ‘Rawlings Hall of Fame Flannel [size] 44.’ Embroidered directly into the lower left front tail in blue thread is ‘Koufax.’ Interior lower left tail holds a washing instructions label that anchors a flap tag reporting the most delectable vintage: ‘Set 1 1955.’”

Despite a rocky start to his career, one of the greatest left-handed pitchers of all-time began to showcase his immense potential in the early 1960s. From 1962 to 1966, Koufax led the National League in earned run average for five consecutive seasons, a feat that remains unmatched in baseball history.

During his peak years, Koufax was virtually unhittable. He threw four no-hitters, including a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 9, 1965. That same year, he won the Cy Young Award and was named the World Series MVP.

Koufax’s dominance was not just limited to regular-season play. He was also a postseason legend, compiling a 0.95 ERA in four World Series appearances. His most memorable performance came in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series when he pitched a complete game shutout on just two days’ rest, securing the Dodgers’ second championship in three years.

Game-worn Sandy Koufax rookie jersey from 1955
Game-worn Sandy Koufax rookie jersey from 1955. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

Despite his relatively short career, Koufax’s impact on baseball was immeasurable. He was a seven-time All-Star, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, and a two-time World Series MVP. He led the National League in strikeouts for four consecutive seasons (1963-1966) and won the pitching Triple Crown three times (1963, 1965, and 1966).

Koufax’s career was cut short by arthritis in his left elbow, forcing him to retire at the age of 30 after the 1966 season. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, becoming the youngest player ever elected at the time.

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