A baseball cap from Jackie Robinson’s 1947 rookie season has sold for a world record $590,000 in a recent sale at Lelands Auctions.
That’s a big increase on the previous record for a baseball cap at auction, set at $537,000 in 2011 for one Babe Ruth wore between 1930-1933.
Jackie Robinson wore this cap in his 1947 rookie season
Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers that year, becoming the first African-American player to break the Major League’s colour barrier.
Life was not easy for him.
He was the target of near constant verbal abuse. Opposition pitchers would often launch balls deliberately at his head, a practice colloquially referred to as “beaning”.
Team president Branch Rickey told Robinson before he joined that no matter how vile the abuse he could never respond in kind.
Rickey wanted to clear a path to the Major Leagues for other black players. He knew that if Robinson lost his temper, it would be used as an excuse to keep them out.
That’s why this cap features three steel plates attached to the headband. It protected Robinson from serious injury, but did nothing to stop those errant fastballs coming.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of this colossal moment in American sporting and civil rights history.
A few other pieces will be offered at auctions later this month, The result bodes well for the upcoming auction of Robinson’s sole surviving rookie season jersey, which is valued at upwards of $3m ahead of an auction in Dallas on November 19.
Robinson’s original 1947 contract with the Dodgers is on offer at Goldin, valued in excess of $1.5m.
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