SCP Auctions’ 2015 Fall Premier online auction begins tomorrow, Nov. 18, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 5at www.scpauctions.com. Of the more than 1,000 sought-after lots of fine sports memorabilia is a previously unknown and impeccably preserved Ernie Banks 1969 Chicago Cubs Roads jersey that ranks near the top. The story behind the jersey’s acquisition and ultimate consignment is certainly one worth reading.
In the spring of 1964, Chicago resident Anahis Hartz became fast friends with the Cubs’ superstar while working at a hematology oncology lab and performing blood monitoring for Banks. When Cubs’ coach Verlon Rube Walker was later struck with Leukemia, Dr. and Mrs. Hartz became more involved with the Cubs’ organization, ultimately becoming co-founders of a leukemia research foundation named “Rube Walker Leukemia Research Center.” Banks worked with Mrs. Hartz for the benefit of the foundation and oftentimes he and his family were guests at the Hartz’s house and even visited their lake-front home. Before moving to California, Banks gave Mrs. Hartz one of his Cubs uniforms. Banks stated that he wore the uniform during the 1969 pennant race. Up until September of 2015, the jersey remained in the same garment bag in which Banks delivered it.
In 1969, the first season after the National League was split into two divisions (East and West), the Cubs finished with a regular-season record of 92–70, eight games behind the eventual World Series Champion New York Mets in the newly established National League East. The ill-fated season saw the Cubs in first place for 155 days until mid-September when they dropped 17 out of 25 games. Through it all, Banks – a.k.a. “Mr. Cub” – played steady defense at first base and consistent hitting at the plate. Even at the age of 39, he was still providing plenty of offensive fireworks for Chicago as he collected 143 hits including 23 home runs and knocked in 106 runs.
Presented here is Banks’ Chicago Cubs road jersey from that roller-coaster of a season. As most advanced baseball collectors know, Banks is considered the third rarest 500 HR Club member jersey to obtain behind Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx in completely original, unaltered condition. One theory as to their extreme scarcity is that several of the handful of known original Banks jerseys were tragically dismantled by various card companies for use on “swatch” cards in recent decades. Among the few surviving original, unaltered Banks jerseys known, the offered 1969 Cubs road example certainly ranks near the top. It has been evaluated and graded A10 by MEARS, one of the industry’s leading third-party authentication firms. It’s important to note that SCP Auctions sold a 1969 Ernie Banks Cubs home jersey (Set 1) from the Bill Riddell Estate Collection in its 2014 Fall Premier auction for $151,652, while a 1969 home Set 2 example (sporting a replaced MLB Anniversary patch) sold at auction in 2012 for $169,000.
Another Chicago-centric item offered in this auction is a historic and immeasurably rare 1876 Chicago White Stockings large format print with team composite images of 11 players. The print, which measure 16” wide by 17” high, is simply entitled “THE WHITE STOCKINGS 1876 CHICAGO.” It features superbly detailed player portraits, a game scene, and other finely rendered artistic embellishments. Without question this is one of the finest 19th Century baseball display pieces to surface in the hobby in recent years.
Bidding is open to registered bidders only and concludes on Saturday, Dec. 5. The auction will be conducted online at www.scpauctions.com. For more information on how to participate, visit www.scpauctions.com or call (949) 831-3700.