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1946-1948 Chicago Rockets All-America Football Conference Jacket
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For -
Exceedingly rare Chicago Rockets football jacket dating from the short-lived All-America Football Conference. This is a fascinating rarity, and one of the few surviving relics from the Chicago Rockets. The heavy red wool jacket features both a hood and a zipper front. "Chicago Rockets" is lettered on the reverse in white felt. A "Patrick - Lake Superior Brand" label is located in the collar. The jacket lacks a size tag, which was probably removed from the collar, and is otherwise completely original with no alterations. As one might expect, especially for an outer garment of this age, the jacket displays heavy wear, including a number of small holes and/or tears on the front, back, and both sleeves. Additionally, there is a vertical strip of light staining running down the left front of the jacket. The Chicago Rockets were a charter member of the All-America Football Conference, which began play in 1946. Interestingly, the founder of the League was Chicago sportswriter Arch Ward, who years earlier, in 1933, was responsible for the establishment of Major League Baseball's annual All-Star Game. The League, which was formed as a serious rival to the NFL, began play with eight teams, including three based in cities that were also home to NFL franchises: New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The Chicago Rockets chose Soldier Field as their home stadium, which was larger in capacity than both Wrigley Field (home to the NFL Chicago Bears) and Comiskey Park (home to the NFL Chicago Cardinals). Despite playing in one of the major cities, the Rockets were not one of the more successful clubs in the league and the franchise was marked by disorganization resulting from an almost annual change in ownership. A number of teams, however, prospered, and much like the Federal League in baseball, the All-America Football Conference was successful in draining the NFL of talent and revenue. The "war" between the two leagues eventually ended in 1949 when the AAFC agreed to fold after three of its clubs were allowed to join the NFL: the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Baltimore Colts. The Chicago Rockets changed its name to the Chicago Hornets in 1949; therefore, this jacket most likely dates from one of the AAFC's first three seasons (1946-1948). Very few items related to the AAFC have survived the ages, especially game-used garments and equipment, making this a particularly exceptional find. This is not only the first Chicago Rockets jacket we have ever offered, but the first AAFC team-issued garment as well. This jacket has been consigned to this auction directly from the personal collection/inventory of world-renowned bat and jersey authenticator Troy Kinunen. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR
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