In light of Mike Eruzione selling his game-worn “Miracle on Ice” jersey that will be up for bid at the Heritage Auctions’ Winter Platinum Night auction in Manhattan next February, it got me thinking of what game-worn jerseys die-hard sports fans like us would like to own. It’s nearly impossible to come up with ten jerseys from decades and decades of iconic sports moments without leaving some off. So in the spirit of this, remember it’s all subjective.
10.) Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game jersey
In March of 1962, Wilt Chamberlain would set one of the most iconic records in professional sports. In Hershey, Pennsylvania “Wilt the Stilt” scored 100 points against the New York Knicks. The record hasn’t been close to being threatened since then, with Kobe Bryant coming the closest with an 81 point game in 2006 against the Toronto Raptors. The game wasn’t taped, so imaging actually having the jersey of the game that was witnessed by only 4,124 fans.
9.) Michael Jordan’s 1998 game winning NBA Finals shot against Byron Russell jersey
We all know this is how the greatest basketball player that ever lived should have went out. Unfortunately Michael Jordan’s crazy competitive nature couldn’t be subsided and he came out of retirement once again, this time for the Washington Wizards. However, most die-hard sports fans like myself ignore those two lost years in Washington, kind of like we ignore Rocky V, Godfather III and other terrible sequels. This jersey along with the iconic image would be the first piece featured in my man cave.
8.) Don Larson’s 1956 World Series Perfect Game jersey
Don Larson’s 1956 World Series Perfect Game has been the only Perfect Game in the history of the World Series. Unlike other sports, baseball’s World Series has been around for over a century. Larson’s perfect game was the only no-hitter of any type ever pitched in the postseason until Philadelphia Phillies ace, Roy Halladay, threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in 2010. Hate or love the Yankees, this is a must-own piece of historic apparel for any true sports fan!
7.) Hank Aaron’s 715th home run passing Babe Ruth’s record jersey
Unfortunately, steroids took over baseball and home runs were flying out of the park at a record pace during the last 10-20 years of the 20th century. Average hitters became power hitters overnight, then great players became historic players. Many baseball purists consider Hank Aaron’s 715 home run to be the real record for all-time home runs not Barry Bonds 756 home runs. Back to Aaron, this jersey and the iconic image we all have of him rounding the bases while the two hippies congratulate him is engrained into our memories.
6.) Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III guarantee-win jersey
Known as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The Jets became the first AFL team to beat the NFL in the Super Bowl. Albeit it was only the third Super Bowl, it was a huge victory and proved that the AFL teams could hang with the big boys of the NFL. Namath was named MVP despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the game. Doesn’t matter in most people’s minds as they would surely scoop this jersey up in a heartbeat.
5.) Michael Jordan’s series clinching foul line jumper over Craig Ehlo jersey
The image, the call, the fall (Ehlo) have been a staple in Jordan and Nike’s numerous campaigns over the years. Jordan had a ton of clutch moments over the years, but “The Shot” is considered to be one of his best. The Chicago Bulls eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers who were the favorites in the series. Michael Jordan actually predicted the Bulls would win in four games but it took this clutch shot for the Bulls (who got swept by the Cavs during the regular season) to win the series in five games. Thus, this is a must-own piece of sports history!
4.) Babe Ruth’s “called shot” 1932 World Series home run
So the debate tends to point that the “Called Shot” never took place. Whether it was a myth or not, the anecdotal reports behind the Game 3 home run during the 1932 World Series is legendary. I’m sure it would add to the intrigue if there was factual evidence behind the “Called Shot” but I think many fans would be fine with Babe Ruth’s jersey of this game, regardless of the story.
3.) USA’s Miracle on Ice 1980 Olympic Jersey
Mike Eruzione of the USA team is selling his game worn jersey, so this is actually a piece someone with a $1 million dollars could own. Because of the historic significance and tensions the USA and the Soviet Union faced, this made the game all that more important. Everyone knows the story, the USA was made up of amateur and collegiate players, while the Soviet team had won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament since 1954. Didn’t matter, as the heavy underdog United States went on to beat the powerful Soviet Union team. I have a feeling Michael Eruzione will fetch $1 million dollars for his jersey.
2.) Michael Jordan’s 1988 Foul-Line dunk jersey
I’m not sure what I’d rather want as a sports collector; Michael Jordan’s shoes, or jersey from the 1988 NBA Dunk Contest. This moment of Jordan seemingly flying in air, spawned his nickname that would be forever known as “Air Jordan.” The foul line dunk was done before, but MJ doing it made the dunk feel more special, more real, than any other time before and after. There are many Michael Jordan moments, but many believe this could take the cake. Owning this jersey would be quite the showcase item.
1.) Muhammad Ali’s Boxing gloves/trunks from his Sonny Liston first-round knockout
This happens to be the only sports attire that isn’t just the jersey. This iconic moment is just to good to pass up. Boxers don’t wear jerseys so the next best thing is the gloves and trunks. There is plenty of intrigue that is associated with this fight. Did Sonny Liston owe the mob money? Was it a phantom punch? Many believe Liston “took a dive.” For whatever reason though, this moment in sports history may be the most iconic all-time. Ali yelling at Liston to “Get up and fight, sucker” just adds to the legend and intrigue of this moment in sports history.