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Circa 1954 Willie Mays Game Worn Glove

Circa 1954 Willie Mays Game Worn Glove

Known only as “The Catch”, it is considered by most to be the greatest defensive play in the history of baseball. On September 29, 1954 during Game 1 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York. The score was tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning. Starting pitcher Sal Maglie walked Larry Doby and gave up a single to Al Rosen. So, with runners on first and second, Giants manager Leo Durocher summoned lefty relief pitcher Don Liddle to replace Maglie and pitch to Cleveland’s Vic Wertz, also a left-hander. Wertz worked the count to two balls and a strike, before crushing Liddle’s fourth pitch to deep center field. A homerun shot on any other field, however, this was the spacious Polo Grounds and Giants center fielder Willie Mays was on patrol. Playing in, he took off on towards the wall in full sprint, literally racing the ball itself. Just as it had seemed to all in attendance that the ball would beat him out, Willie looked once more over his shoulder, extended his glove and plucked the ball from the sky, in the same form a wide receiver would have made the catch. As the awe struck crowd looked on, Mays, very aware of the runner’s position, immediately spun and threw the ball, losing his hat in characteristic style. The play kept them at bay and prevented the Indians from taking the lead and in the bottom of the 10th and its momentum carried the Giants to victory that day. The rest is history. The stage and circumstances certainly make this the most memorable catch in his HOF fame career, but dynamic plays such as this were common place for the man known as “Say Hey”. We offer a glove worn and used by Willie during his early years as a Giant with incredible provenance. The dark brown leather Wilson Pro Model is well broken in and very flexible with a soft outer shell and “Triple Lock Web”. The manufacturer’s label on the “Hold Tite Strap” has been faded to the point of being illegible and the inner lining is dried, undoubtedly from absorbing so much sweat throughout the long season. Also inside is a one square inch area of leather lost through wear. Easily one of the finest Mays specimens ever to be offered and the perfect symbol of his other worldly fielding talents. Given by Mays to Arthur Susskind Jr. early in the 1955 season, the talented young centerfielder told the recipient it was his glove from the previous year of 1954 (NL MVP, World Series Champs, The Catch). Family legend has it (?) that this was the glove that Willie made that famous catch with. LOA from the Susskind family.

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