The total: $756,000 for the New York Yankees jersey that Don Larsen wore in 1956 while pitching the only perfect game in World Series history. As reported by Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, the auction for the famous top concluded on Wednesday night and was held because Larsen wants to pad his grandchildren's college funds. The auction was conducted by Steiner Sports and the jersey fetched the highest amount in the lot. Bobby Knight's ring from his perfect 1976 title season at Indiana went for $209,940, well behind Larsen's jersey.
The final price should cover a lot of books, a few meal passes and maybe even a year of tuition or two with today's rates, but the final number has to come as a disappointment. The 83-year-old Larsen said in July that he'd like to get a million dollars for the jersey because "why go cheap?" One of Steiner's executives also said the firm had already fielded offers in the seven-figure range and that bidding could even reach as high as $2 million. You can dismiss that as wishful thinking or auction house-based hype, but the market did seem to be in a wild place. An early Babe Ruth jersey sold for $4.4 million back in May, becoming the most expensive sports memorabilia item ever in the process. With Larsen's item selling for much less than Ruth's jersey, it seems that names and not achievements really drive the collecting world.
Look, let's not act like receiving $756,000 is something to be embarrassed about. That's a nice chunk of change and Larsen's grandchildren will no doubt appreciate their grandfather's decision to sell the jersey for their benefit.
It's just that, well, they're not making many perfect games in the World Series and someone just picked up one of the game's best items for under a million. Seems like a relative bargain.