The New York Yankees are arguably the greatest professional sports franchise in the history of the United States of America. One would be challenged to make an argument against that statement knowing this fact: As of 2019, the Yankees have appeared in 40 World Series having won 27 times. Their 27 titles is the most by any team across the four major professional sports in North America. That number is going to continue to grow and because of that, there’s a chance they will never be caught. To be at the top of the mountain like the Yankees are requires a lot of things, most important great players. The history of the franchise is littered with legendary players from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter. Immortals in the game of baseball often fetch a nice price for memorabilia from dedicated fans. One of the most expensive pieces of memorabilia are jerseys. Here are the 10 most expensive Yankees jerseys ever sold:
10. Lou Gehrig’s 1939 Speech Jersey – $451,541
One of the most famous speeches in the history of sports took place on July 4, 1939 when Lou Gehrig stepped up to the microphone at Yankee stadium and declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth”. It was an incredible declaration given that the reason for this speech was Gehrig’s forced retirement because of ALS. His jersey during this speech sold for $451k by Leland’s Auction House in 1999.
9. Lou Gehrig’s 1934 Japan Tour Jersey – $507,875
In 1934, 12 American League baseball players took part in a crazy Japanese tour from November to December. The tour was incredibly popular as hundreds of thousands of Japanese baseball fans often gathered to see what are today considered some of baseball’s immortals. Included on the tour were Yankees stars Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In 2011, the jersey Gehrig wore on the tour was sold for over half a million dollars.
8. Yogi Berra’s 1956 “Perfect Game” Jersey – $564,930
The most expensive memorabilia “battery” in the history of baseball is Yogi Berra and Don Larsen from the 1956 World Series. In 1956, Don Larsen threw the first and only perfect game in the World Series during Game 5. Catching Larsen was none other than Yankee legend Yogi Berra. For his superb signal-calling and terrific leap into Larsen’s arms after the game, Berra’s jersey sold for $564,930.
7. Babe Ruth’s 1933 “All-Star” Jersey – $657,250
On July 6, 1933, Major League Baseball held its very first All-Star Game at Comiskey Park in Chicago. By this time, legend Babe Ruth was toward the end of his career and his belt was hanging on his waistline for dear life. However, the Sultan of Swat did not disappoint by hitting the first home run in All-Star Game history. The jersey he wore during the game was sold at Heritage in October 2006 for $657,250.
6. Lou Gehrig’s 1927 Road Jersey – $717,000
At the heart of the Yankee’s legendary “Murderer’s Row”, Lou Gehrig’s 1927 home jersey sold for $717,000 in November of 2010. That year the Yankees won their second ever World Series and Gehrig won the 1927 AL MVP Award.
5. Lou Gehrig’s 1927 Home Jersey – $717,000
There is some discrepancy on the dating of Gehrig’s 1927 home jersey which was also sold for nearly a quarter of a million dollars. This jersey was worn by Gehrig during their four game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series. It was displayed at Yankee Stadium until being sold in 2010. One of the greatest seasons of all-time, Gehrig hit 47 home runs, scored 149 runs and drove in a ridiculous 173 RBIs. His .765 slugging percentage has only been surpassed by Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds.
4. Don Larsen’s 1956 “Perfect Game” Jersey – $756,000
The other half of the most expensive “battery” in sports memorabilia history is pitcher Don Larsen’s 1956 “Perfect Game” jersey. In Game 5 of the ’56 Series vs. the Dodgers, Larsen threw the first and only perfect game – no-hitter in the history of the World Series. His jersey sold for $756k in December of 2012.
3. Babe Ruth’s 1934 Road Jersey – $771,000
It should come as no surprise that the most-famous, immortalized baseball player in MLB history has the top-three highest selling jerseys of all-time. Like Gehrig, Ruth was on the 1934 tour of Japan. During his time overseas he awed adoring fans with towering home runs and truly cemented himself as a global legend. His jersey from this tour was sold for $771,000 by Mastro Auctions in 2005.
2. Babe Ruth’s 1932 “Called Shot” Road Jersey – $1 million
One of the greatest moments in Major League Baseball history – During Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth came to bat in the fifth inning with the score tied 4-4. As legend would have it, Ruth made a pointing gesture with his bat out to the bleachers at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Ruth proceeded to hit a home run that traveled at least 450 feet and forever etched a moment in baseball lure. It became known as the “Called Shot” and has been a story that fathers pass down to their kids for generations. The jersey Ruth wore during this game sold for $1 million in 2005.
1. Babe Ruth’s 1920 Road Jersey – $4.4 million
The most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold was a jersey from the first season Ruth spent with the New York Yankees. The Great Bambino wore this gray flannel jersey on the road during his first season with the Yankees, a year in which he crushed 54 home runs surpassing his previous best by 25.
Honorable Mention: Mickey Mantle’s 1968 Road Jersey – $366,967
Ever heard of “The Gift”? In 1968, Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Denny McLain was facing his idol, Yankees’ great Mickey Mantle. During the at-bat McLain asked Mantle to signal where he wanted the pitch. The Yankees’ center fielder pointed to about belt-high. He then proceeded to serve him “The Gift” which Mantle crushed into the upper deck for his 535th career home run. The blast broke a tie with Jimmie Foxx for third on the all-time list and earned McLain a little piece of history. It also put the valuation on the jersey worn during that game over $350,000 during a sale in 2012.