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Lot # 1123: 10/1/60 Ernie Davis Photo-Matched Syracuse University Game Worn Jersey vs. Kansas (Resolution Photomatching LOA)

Category: Football

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 37 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2023 Summer Classic",
which ran from 7/16/2023 7:00 PM to
8/5/2023 10:00 PM

Syracuse road football jersey worn by legendary running back Ernie Davis in a game against Kansas held at Memorial Stadium in Kansas on October 1, 1960 and conclusively photo-matched by Resolution Photomatching with their ResMatch LOA. This is perhaps the most highly documented Ernie Davis game-worn jersey in the hobby. Resolution was also able to identify Ernie wearing this jersey on his 2015 Flawless Diamond /20 and 2015 National Treasures College Materials cards. Not only has it been conclusively photo-matched to that contest, but it is also accompanied by a one-page notarized LOA from our consignor detailing how he personally obtained it on that day, together with his program from the game.

The white "tear-away" jersey features the number "44" on the front and reverse in navy tackle twill with orange stitching. A "Wilson 46" label is located at the base of the crotch strap. As one might expect, the jersey displays considerable wear, with numerous large tears throughout (the very thin material of these "tear-away" jerseys was conducive to tears, hence their name, and as a result, they were usually single-use garments). A large circular tear on the right shoulder/upper sleeve is especially significant because it can be prominently seen in a photo of Davis carrying the ball during the October 1, 1960, game against Kansas. (The photo-match for this item can be accessed at Getty Images under Editorial #515258866.)

Our consignor, who was fifteen years old at the time, attended the October 1, 1960, Kansas football game against Syracuse. His father was a KU alumnus and the pair had regularly attended Kansas football games for the past nine years. In his accompanying letter, he describes how he obtained the jersey. In part:

As was our habit, Dad and I would leave the stands with two minutes to go in the game.... On this day, the Orangemen were leading with two minutes left. As we walked behind the Syracuse bench, we noticed a pile of jerseys. Dad said to me, "Why don't you ask someone if you could have one of those jerseys?" Too shy to do that, I just grabbed one off the top of the pile and stuffed it inside my jacket. To this day, I don't know why my Dad didn't make me ask or put it back. (Those were the ethics he taught.) Outside Memorial Stadium and what seemed like blocks away, I naively (without any expectations) pulled out the jersey. Of the seven or so jerseys discarded that day, I had a prized possession - the jersey of the already famous Ernie Davis!

The story of Ernie Davis is one of the most tragic in sports history. Davis enjoyed a stellar collegiate football career at Syracuse, where he followed in the footsteps of his idol, Jim Brown (he wore #44 because that was Brown's number at Syracuse). Following his 1961 senior season, Davis became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy and was selected by the Washington Redskins with the number one pick in the NFL draft. Because of their racist policies at the time, Davis refused to play for the Redskins and was traded to the Cleveland Browns, where he would team in the backfield with Jim Brown. Unfortunately, Davis never played a down for the Browns after being diagnosed with Leukemia. Davis died two years later at the age of twenty-three. In honor of his memory, the Browns retired Davis' issued uniform number ("45"). Davis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

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