c.1950 Yogi Berra Authentic Game Issued Mask Signed by Berra – Full John Taube JT Sports LOA/PSA/DNA LOA for the Autograph
The legendary Yogi Berra is arguably considered the greatest catcher of all-time (along with Johnny Bench), and it would take virtually a full catalog to appropriately list all of his remarkable achievements. Highly noted for his clutch performances on baseball's grandest stages, Berra's World Series records include: 14 appearances, 10 championships, 75 games played in and 71 all-time hits. If that isn't enough, he won 3 MVP awards and played in a remarkable 15 all-star games. Along with the immortal Mickey Mantle, he was the main cog on a Yankee team that played in a majority of the Fall Classics from the late 1940's through the early 1960's. All of the above are a steadfast testament to Berra's all-time stature, justifying why a myriad of elite collectors' scramble to obtain his finest existing artifacts.
One of those seldom surfacing memorabilia marvels is this absolutely outstanding c.1950 "Game Issued" Draper & Maynard catcher's mask that the highly renowned John Taube (PSA Game-Used Expert) has validated as being an authentic game issued Yogi Berra mask from the 1950 era. This mask comes with a full John Taube J.T. Sports LOA signed by Taube that stands as ironclad authentication for its authentic game issued provenance. Experts would agree that starting in the mid-1950's, Berra began to specifically utilize "Spalding" cast-iron masks, yet before that period, the general consensus is that he utilized both Draper & Maynard and Spalding modeled masks. As stated in Taube's LOA, this offered mask's history/provenance traces to Berra "gifting" the mask to a close neighbor/friend who kept it for a considerable length of time.
During his late 1940's/early 1950's playing career, images portray Berra using two styles of mask; both the "bird-cage" face guard as well as the one seen on this mask that includes 2 magnesium/cast iron horizontal bar guards. Both the face guards and brown hued face pads show significant wear and potential game use by Berra. The head-strap includes the classic Draper & Maynard logo and for full resolution, the strap has been detached (torn) near the size adjusting leather belt. As a final exclamation point, Yogi Berra has affixed his renowned "Y. Berra" signature in fine silver sharpie on the front of the chin guard; a perfect location for Berra's exalted script with regard to aesthetically pleasing display purpose.
Based on the aforementioned information and John Taube's critical J.T. Sports LOA, we find it extremely plausible that Yogi Berra did indeed use this authentic mask in a c.1950 baseball game, with its oral history (gifted to a friend directly from Berra) and obvious game use attributes combining to substantiate that notion. Seldom surfacing in the hobby, "Authentic" Berra masks are virtually impossible to find, justifying why this awe-inspiring heirloom resides as one of the most coveted Berra collectibles extant! - Full John Taube J.T. Sports LOA; PSA/DNA LOA Autograph Authentication
MIN BID $2,000