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If 1969 was the dawn of a new age in American cultural life—from Apollo 11 to Woodstock to Hair to Stonewall to Easy Rider and beyond—so too was there a brewing revolution in baseball. The dismal "Year of the Pitcher" in '68 ushered in an unprecedented amount of change and modernization perhaps even rivaling that of Vatican II. Not only did baseball's centennial season unveil four new expansion teams (including the Montreal Expos as the first-ever foreign franchise), but Bowie Kuhn debuted as Commissioner, both the American and National Leagues were sectioned into East and West Divisions (creating more pennant races), the Designated Hitter was introduced, the pitcher's mound was lowered 5 inches, and the strike zone was made smaller.
In our Nation's Capital, newly elected President Richard Nixon (arguably the most baseball-obsessed of all Chief Executives—sorry, Dubya) brought new attention to the Washington Senators, yet found himself overshadowed once the red carpet was rolled out for baseball royalty: Ted Williams. Owner Bob Short's inspired choice of Williams—whom Short had successfully lured out of retirement—sent shockwaves through the wide world of sports, even stealing the fanfare and front-page headlines away from fellow D.C. newcomer Vince Lombardi. (Lombardi's Sports Illustrated cover that March had preceded Williams' by just two weeks.) True to form, the greatest hitter of the modern era became the Senator savior at the helm, piloting the formerly hapless squad to 86 wins and a 4th-place finish. Frank Howard and Mike Epstein benefited the most from Williams' scientific approach to batting, with Hondo racking up career highs in hits (175), runs (111) and home runs (48), while SuperJew enjoyed his banner season of 30 HRs and 85 RBI. At season's end, Williams deservedly captured A.L. Manager of the Year honors.
This extraordinary 1969 signed home jersey hails from that momentous campaign in the hallowed career of Teddy Ballgame—and that significant turning point in baseball history. What's more, it is the single-most important and valuable expansion Senators collectible extant or imaginable. The off-white cotton flannel, button-down garment features "Senators" across the chest in red-on-navy tackle twill and Williams' number "9" on the back in like fashion. The left sleeve bears an original red-white-and-blue "100th Anniversary" patch. A Wilson main label with laundry instructions appears inside the collar and the year designator "1969" has been stitched to the left front tail in navy chainlink (faded). Season long wear evident throughout. All original as issued. Williams has signed inside the collar in blue marker ("8"). An undated Associated Press news-service photo of Manager Williams accompanies. Ex-Halper Collection. LOA from JSA. LOA from Legendary Auctions.
Important 1969 Ted Williams Washington Senators Signed Game Used Manager's Home Flannel Jersey - Debut Season and Manager of the Year!
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