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1978 Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds Tour of Japan Signed Road Uniform (Jersey & Pants) with Photo Match
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $4,700
For a complete description of the 1978 Pete Rose Tour of Japan Signed Uniform (Jersey and pants) please go to:
The following is an edited (shortened) version.
Rare, specially produced, Reds road uniform (jersey and pants) worn by Pete Rose during the club's goodwill tour of Japan in the fall of 1978. In the opinion of Robert Edward Auctions, this is one of the finest Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds uniforms in existence. According to the accompanying letter of provenance (and we have tracked down the original owner as will be discussed later), it was originally obtained directly from the Reds. Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that it is accompanied by photographs of Rose from the 1978 tour of Japan in which he is wearing this very uniform! Extensive photo gallery is provided. All the more amazing: It is rare enough to be able to photo-match a jersey; in this case, with enlarged photos, the anomalies related to the construction of the pants allow us (with certainty, in our opinion) to photo-match the pants as well.
One of the distinguishing features of the Cincinnati Reds 1978 tour of Japan uniforms is that they were manufactured by Rawlings, not Wilson, which produced the club's regular season uniforms. In addition, the Reds tour pants were designed with a special circular patch on the right thigh displaying the Rawlings logo. The gray knit jersey is lettered "Cincinnati" on the front and features the number "14" on the reverse. "Rose" is lettered on the reverse directly above the number. All letters and numerals are appliquéd in red tackle twill. A "Rawlings 44" label is located on the interior front tail. Rose has signed the jersey in vintage blue ink (grading "5/6") on the left front breast. The matching gray pants display the special Rawlings patch on the right thigh. A "Rawlings 32" label appears in the waistband. Also located in the waistband, adjacent to the manufacturer's label is a white strip tag that features the uniform number, waist size, inseam measurement, and year, chain-stitched in red ("14 32 24 78"). An adjacent flag tag reads "Set 2." Both the jersey and pants are original as issued, with no alterations, and display light wear.
This was a particularly interesting uniform to process because when this uniform was sent to MEARS for evaluation and grading, it was returned to us as “Unable to Authenticate.” In fact, the confusion of our communications with MEARS regarding the grade (we were first told it was "Unable to Authenticate"; we were then emailed it was an "A10", and then told it was "Unable to Authenticate" again), is solely responsible for the fact the the uniform is not in the printed catalog. In all fairness, we must acknowledge that MEARS has written to us to clarify that "Unable To Authenticate" DOES NOT mean that they are saying an item is not authentic. It simply means they are unable to authenticate it. Fortunately, in this case, we believe that the information and photos readily available in support of authenticity will prove overwhelming to any potential buyer. We believe this so much that, in light of the accompanying MEARS "Unable To Authenticate" letter and worksheet (which interestingly is not even signed by the MEARS "authenticator" who filled it out, who is presumably Dave Grob), REA will offer a lifetime guarantee that if this jersey should ever be found to be not authentic, a full refund of the original purchase price in this auction will be provided. This is unprecedented for REA, but that is how much we believe in this uniform.
Despite the fact that MEARS was “Unable to Authenticate” this jersey (for reasons which are detailed in the complete writeup, link provided above), Robert Edward Auctions believes we have conclusively photo matched the offered uniform (both jersey and pants) to a uniform worn by Rose during the Reds’ 1978 tour of Japan. So bidders can fully judge for themselves, we have posted all of the Rose tour photos, as well as additional related photos mentioned here, online for viewing.
To fully understand the differing opinions regarding the authenticity of this jersey, we will relate the full story of the authentication process conducted by REA that has resulted in its being offered at this time (pulled from the printed catalog by REA due to learning at the last minute the MEARS grade was "Unable to Authenticate" as opposed to a perfect A10, but not too late for the Internet-only section of the auction).
The fact that this jersey can be photo matched notwithstanding, it is also highly significant in that it is most likely the last uniform worn by Rose as a member of the Reds during the 1970s, thereby symbolizing the end of one of baseball's greatest dynasties. After dominating the National League for much of the decade and winning two consecutive World Championships in 1975 and 1976, the fabled "Big Red Machine" was coming to a halt in 1978. In the fall of that year, after finishing behind the Dodgers once again, Sparky Anderson decided to take his club on a goodwill tour of Japan, which was sponsored by Rawlings. The tour ran from October 28th through November 21st, and by the time it concluded the "Big Red Machine" was no more. The club granted Pete Rose free agency on November 5th. Shortly upon returning from Japan, on December 5th, Rose signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. The departure of Rose left a huge void in the Reds clubhouse and signaled the end to one of the greatest eras in Cincinnati Reds franchise history. This is a remarkable and unique Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds uniform with enormous historical significance, dating from his final days as a member of baseball's "Big Red Machine." In addition to being the most important uniform that could possibly exist from the 1978 Cincinnati Reds Tour of Japan, this is also one of the finest, most well documented, and historically significant Pete Rose Reds Cincinnati Reds uniforms in existence. Letter of Lifetime Guarantee from REA. "Unable To Authenticate" LOA and Unsigned Worksheet from MEARS. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,700
(Click the smaller thumbnails to the left and right (if any) to cycle through each photo in the gallery of images for this lot.)