Tag Archives: Game-Used

In the fall of 1951, Ollie Matson did everything right. As the punishing, 220-pound senior running back for the University of San Francisco, Matson – a 6’ 2” African-American – led the nation in rushing (1,566 yards) and scoring (21 touchdowns, 126 points) and guided the Dons to a perfect 9-0 season. Ollie Matson - USF DonsDespite the team’s undefeated record, the USF Dons were not invited to play in any postseason bowl games. It was reported later that the Dons were not granted a bowl bid because the Orange, Sugar and Gator Bowls, all based in the South, did not consider inviting any teams that had black players. The jersey that Matson wore during that unforgettable season will now be going on the auction block at www.scpauctions.com starting April 8. A featured item in SCP Auctions’ online Spring Premier, the jersey could fetch $15,000 or more.

“This is a significant item in so many respects,” said SCP Auctions’ Vice President Dan Imler. “Not only was Matson a star running back who was clearly the best in the country that year, but the USF Dons actually turned down an eventual invite to the Orange Bowl after the selection committee would only allow them to play if they left their two black players behind. The team said no to that requirement, so this jersey represents both excellence on the field as well as honor among teammates.”

The circa 1951 green-and-white No. 33 nylon jersey, size 42, exhibits incredible wear and usage with noticeable fading and yellowing over time to go along with frayed numbers, rips and slight tears. MatsonA classic, vintage piece of sports memorabilia, the jersey symbolizes one of history’s groundbreaking African-American football players. It originates as a primary source acquisition from the esteemed Helms Athletic Foundation/LA84 Collection, a once prominent sports museum based in Los Angeles that originally opened its doors in 1936.

Matson, who died four years ago this week at the age of 80, went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. Online bidding, open to registered bidders, will run for two-and-a-half weeks and conclude on Saturday, April 25.         -Terry Melia

SCP Auctions is proud to present the “Gene Tenace Collection” in its 2015 Spring Premier, which starts on Wednesday, April 8, and runs through Saturday, April 25. Boasting more than 50 lots covering many of Tenace’s career highlights, the collection includes game-used milestone baseballs, his 1972 full-size World Series trophy, four World Series rings (two each as a player and coach) and his coveted 1972 World Series MVP plaque.

Gene Tenace was a large part of the Oakland A’s three-year dynasty during the early 1970s. After playing a backup role at catcher during his first three seasons, he got a chance to start as the A’s backstop late in 1972. He took full advantage of the opportunity and excelled in both the A.L. playoffs and World Series. In the ALCS against Detroit, he drove in the clinching run in Oakland’s 2-1 victory in the decisive Game 5. Playing in the World Series, Tenace caught fire. Not only did he lead the A’s in home runs with four, but he drove in nine runs and batted .348 for the seven-game series as Oakland outlasted the N.L. Champion Cincinnati Reds, four games to three. The man who started the season as a backup ended it as the Most Valuable Player of the World Series.

Tenace’s career spanned 15 major league seasons (1969 to ’83). The ‘72 season ignited the A’s to their first of three consecutive Gene Tenace Baseball CollectionWorld Series titles. He won one more World Series ring as a player with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982 when he helped them beat the Milwaukee Brewers in a tight, seven-game series.

Retiring after the ’83 season, Tenace hung up his spikes with some impressive credentials: 1,060 hits including 201 home runs and 674 runs batted in. He became a coach after retirement and spent time with the Houston Astros (1986-87) and later with the Toronto Blue Jays. During his coaching time north of the border, Tenace was part of the Blue Jays’ back-to-back World Series-winning teams in ‘92 and ’93 giving him a remarkable six rings in six World Series appearances.