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Lot # 1176: 1962 Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb Pittsburgh Steelers Game Worn Jersey (MEARS A10)

Category: Football

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 9 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed




This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2023 Fall Classic",
which ran from 10/29/2023 7:00 PM to
11/18/2023 10:00 PM



Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb played ten seasons as a defensive tackle in the NFL, and he was a 2-time Pro Bowl MVP, yet, amazingly, he never attended college. He went from high school into the U.S. Marine Corps where he was scouted playing football for Camp Pendleton in California by the public relations director for the Los Angeles Rams, who happened to be Pete Rozelle, who later became the Commissioner of the NFL. Displayed is a 1962 game worn Big Daddy Lipscomb Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, the only black Big Daddy Lipscomb Steelers game worn jersey that we know of in the hobby. In his NFL career, Lipscomb played for the Los Angeles Rams (1953-55), Baltimore Colts (1956-60), and Pittsburgh Steelers (1961-62). At 6'6", and from 284-306 lbs., Lipscomb was massive for a defensive tackle in his era. For example, his fellow defensive tackle on the Steelers was Hall of Famer Ernie Stautner, who was 6'1" and 230 lbs. Lipscomb was an outlier when he played: A man of his size with great mobility. Fellow Steeler Dick Hoak said of Lipscomb, "Big Daddy was the first really big guy, at least that I ever saw, who was really fast and quick." About his own tackling technique, the colorful Lipscomb explained, "I just wrap my arms around the whole backfield and peel 'em off until I get to the ball carrier." Lipscomb was the first professional defensive tackle who could move sideline to sideline to make tackles. With the Baltimore Colts, Lipscomb was an important factor in two Colts NFL championship teams, in 1958-59. He got his Big Daddy nickname because he used to call teammates "Little Daddy," so it was only natural that his teammates started to call Gene "Big Daddy," and the name stuck. Lipscomb had one of his best seasons for Pittsburgh in 1962. Tragically, on May 10, 1963, Lipscomb died from an overdose of heroin. Steelers owner Art Rooney, Sr., removed this jersey from Lipscomb's locker following Big Daddy's death, and Rooney gifted the jersey to his close friend and former professional boxer Phil "Chappy" Goldstein. The enormous jersey was one of the last - if not the very last - jersey that Lipscomb wore before his death. It appears that this jersey was Big Daddy's sole black "gamer" for the 1962 season. The game wear is outstanding. The Durene shows numerous ragged team repairs. Number "76" appears in yellow tackle twill on the chest, back and upper sleeves. The crotchpiece has been hemmed just below the tagging, on the inside tail, which includes: A Rawlings manufacturer's label, "56" and "L" size tags, a washing instructions label, and another tag that is too frayed to read. Included with the jersey is a MEARS Authentication Letter of Opinion and a MEARS final grade of A10. Also included with the jersey is a 3.5x4.25" color clipping that reads, "Gene Lipscomb Original Photo - Used to Make His 1962 Post (Cereal Card)." Some of Lipscomb's friends at the time of his death disputed the finding that Lipscomb used heroin at all. In any event, Lipscomb off the field was often a gentle giant who would buy impoverished youths new shoes and clothes. Since this is the only Steelers black Lipscomb jersey of which we know, it is a valued find as the jersey of one of the NFL's most unusual pro football stars.

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