|DALLAS — A 1956 Roy Campanella game-worn Brooklyn Dodgers jersey is expected to hit one out of the park when it sells during Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Memorabilia Auction May 16-17. The catcher was instrumental in the sustained success of those last Brooklyn Dodgers teams. “He was always doing something to help you win a game, whether it was digging out a low pitch, throwing out a baserunner, or hitting a home run,” said Dodgers manager, Walt Alston, reporting the facts that earned Campy three National League MVP Awards during the first half of the 1950s.
Campy, as he was called, would win five National League pennants with the Brooklyn Dodgers and this historic garment dates to the last and was almost certainly worn during some portion of the four World Series contests at Ebbets that year. The jersey exhibits heavy wear, including pilling of the fabric from the Hall of Fame catcher’s chest protector.
The jersey was consigned by the son of Lee Ferrerra, who played minor league ball in the Dodgers farm system from 1957-59 and was issued this jersey as a hand-me-down, as was standard practice for many years.
Campanella’s baseball career ended as a result of an accident that left him paralyzed in 1958. Campanella lived in Glen Cove, N.Y., and operated a liquor store in Harlem between regular-season games and during the off-season. After closing the store for the night on Jan. 28, 1958, he began his drive home when he hit a patch of ice and skidded into a telephone pole. The accident broke his neck and fractured the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae and compressed his spinal cord. With physical therapy, he was eventually able to regain substantial use of his arms and hands, but he required a wheelchair for mobility for the remainder of his life.
The jersey has a $100,000 estimate, but Heritage officials say they think it will exceed that goal.
The auction will feature nearly 2,000 lots of game-used gear, autographs and general sports ephemera. Another highlight will be the largest Super Bowl ring ever designed — issued to members of the 2016 New England Patriots. It bears a pre-auction estimate of $60,000-up. It is the first of its kind to see the hobby’s auction block.
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