December 2005 > Sports > Hockey Sweaters
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Lot 1320: 1979-80 Phil Esposito Game Worn New York Rangers Jersey
The “man in the middle”, like another famous middleman, the outfield kind, was synonymous in his sport with the number “7” but when he got to New York, he had to add a second “7” to his shirt, since the single-digit shirt was already owned by Rod Gilbert. Espo didn’t exactly double his pleasure and double his fun in his tenure on the Madison Square Garden ice, only deepening the fans’ frustrations over their Stanley Cup drought. No matter. Espo remains a collector’s priority. Thus, the classic Rangers home white shirt he wore during the 1979-80 season -- when he typically led the club in points (as he did all 5 seasons he wore a “blueshirt”) -- is a real collection confection. Ranger collectors are a notoriously picky lot, and settle only for the real deal, with an emphasis on the “deal.” So how about this eye-capturing, vibrant echo of the ‘70s, with “Rangers” spelled out in block letters diagonally down the front, “Esposito” and “77” on the verso, and “77” on both sleeves all in blue on red tackle twill. Mesh shirt has the “Gerry Cosby” tag in the back of the collar with size-58 label sewn in and “9” (79 year tag) and laundering instruction flag tags. Leather fight strap intact. For all the abuse Espo took as the center of the action, the shirt is in excellent game played shape with five team repairs, stick burns, pills and tears. For displaying -- perfect! The V-neck style shirt and blue and red trimming is so ‘70s that you can almost hear Gloria Gaynor singing “I Will Survive.” Espo always did, despite the beating he took planted outside the crease. We believe the line was,” Jesus saves but Espo will bury the rebound”. This is a gem!!
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