|(Photos courtesy Hunt auctions.)|
My interest in the hobby has always tended more towards baseball cards than collectible memorabilia, so I’m not surprised that I never knew of the existence of team-issued keepsakes to New York Yankees active during the team’s 19-game winning streak June 29-July 18, 1947.
A short article in the Aug. 27, 1947, issue of The Sporting News’ “Major League Flashes” column revealed the existence of those items:
YANKS RECEIVE MEMENTOES
Yankees with the club during their 19-game winning streak received mementoes of the feat, August 15. They had the choice of a wrist watch, traveling clock or table cigarette humidor, each bearing the inscription, “New York Yankees, 19 straight, American League record,” with the name of the player.
There was no mention of which of the front office staff may have also received the gifts, and while they were not mentioned, it can be presumed that manager Bucky Harris and the coaches also were recipients.
Unless there was more than one version of the inscription, TSN got it slightly wrong.
The watch that was presented to Joe DiMaggio is engraved on back with a facsimile autograph at top, the Yankees logo at center with “19” to the left and “47” at right, and below that, “19 STRAIGHT WINS / AMERICAN LEAGUE RECORD”.
The watches were 14K gold, manufactured by Jules Jurgensen.
DiMaggio’s watch was sold in a Hunt auction in May, 2006, for $7,590.
The watch presented to player-coach Frank Crosetti was also known in the hobby, but was reported lost in Seattle a few years back.
The Yankees winning streak began in the second game of a June 29 doubleheader. During the string of wins, they played seven doubleheaders, including back-to-back-to-back twin bills on the road July 12-15 and another on the 17th.
On July 18, Fred Hutchinson of the Tigers ended the streak with an 8-0 shutout.