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February 23-24 Platinum Night Sports Auction-New York #7070

by Heritage Auctions


134 lots | 133 with images

February 23, 2013

Heritage | New York

445 Park Ave. (Near 57th Street)

New York, NY, 10022 USA

Phone: +1 212 486 3500

Fax: +1 212 486 3527

Email: Bid@HA.com

1980 Mike Eruzione

Lot 80001: 1980 Mike Eruzione "The Miracle on Ice" Game Used Stick

Description: 1980 Mike Eruzione "The Miracle on Ice" Game Used Stick that Scored the Winning Goal. If the Miracle on Ice was the greatest David and Goliath tale in American sports, then this is the sling that launched the fatal blow. It came with precisely ten minutes left in regulation, just eighty-one seconds after Mark Johnson capitalized on an American power play to pull the underdogs even with the Russians at three goals apiece. Moments after coming onto the ice in a shift change, Mark Pavelich found Eruzione undefended in the high slot. As Soviet defenseman Vasili Pervukhin crossed goalie Vladimir Myshkin's field of vision to obstruct the American captain's path to the net, Eruzione made use of the unintentional screen with a low shot that snuck beneath Myshkin's right skate. "Now we've got bedlam," shouted television commentator Al Michaels when the roar of the Field House finally receded to a level that made speech possible. In less than a minute and a half, the Americans had struck twice, and the Russian veterans were trailing for the first time in the tournament. What would follow was ten of the most frenetic minutes of hockey ever played, the Soviets growing increasingly panicked as the clock ticked down on an unimaginable, and thoroughly unacceptable, result. A shot by Aleksandr Maltsev, who had broken the tie for the Russians with their third goal, glanced off Jim Craig's right post. Coach Brooks resisted the urge to go into a defensive crouch, encouraging his Americans to continue the attack. "Play your game. Play your game," he instructed. At thirty-three seconds to go, Craig kicked away a Petrov slap shot. Kharlamov fired the puck back in as the timer ticked below twenty. A wild scramble, and the Americans cleared the zone. "Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!!" Hobby history was made in 2004 when the bat used by Babe Ruth to hit the first home run at Yankee Stadium realized a price of $1,265,000. While there is admittedly a disparity in the size and strength of the baseball collectibles market in relation to hockey, it would be difficult to defend the position that Ruth's Louisville Slugger carries equivalent historical importance to the Northland stick that makes its auction debut here. Still bearing the Captain's original grip tape at handle and blade, Eruzione's left-handed weapon bears his stamped surname on both sides of the shaft and his faded handwritten lettering stating, "Feb 22 1980 USA 4 Russia 3" and "Winning Goal Stick Against Russia." Solid game use evident. Letter of provenance from Mike Eruzione. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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1980 Mike Eruzione

Lot 80002: 1980 Mike Eruzione "The Miracle on Ice" Game Worn USA O

Description: 1980 Mike Eruzione "The Miracle on Ice" Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Jersey. It's a humbling experience to see the jersey in the flesh (or in the cloth), a piece that seems at once both as familiar as an old friend and yet scarcely of this world. Having seen the highlight footage dozens of times, and the blockbuster Hollywood film that focused on the captain's heroic exploits, it's still a jolt when its reality intersects with your own. As the game itself, with its Cold War implications, transcended athletics, so does this jersey project more broadly as a treasure of American history than as a simple article of sports memorabilia. Mike Eruzione was born in October of 1954, just three months after Army counsel Joseph Welch famously denounced Senator Joe McCarthy with the question, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" Though this would prove to be the beginning of the end for America's greatest Communist fearmonger, the Cold War was still as cold as ever when the twenty-five year old captain took to the ice in Lake Placid. Just five months later, President Jimmy Carter would boycott the Moscow Summer Games, a gesture of denunciation repaid by the Russians four years later in Los Angeles. But here at the Olympic Field House, the two nations, each undefeated at these Games, would have their day of battle. Their previous encounter, just two weeks earlier, had been a distinctly lopsided affair, a ten to three exhibition game drubbing by the Soviets at Madison Square Garden. Months earlier the Russians had handled the professionals just as easily as the amateurs, routing the NHL All-Stars six to nothing in the 1979 Challenge Cup. In Olympic group play, the Soviets had outscored its opponents by a tally of fifty-one to eleven. This match had all the makings of an athletic Bay of Pigs for the American side. The day before the game, New York Times columnist Dave Anderson wrote, "Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team or another team performs a miracle, the Russians are expected to easily win the Olympic gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments." And, of course, Anderson was correct. It would take a Miracle. Heritage is proud, and enormously grateful, for the opportunity to present to the collecting community a relic of incomparable historical importance--team captain Mike Eruzione's "Miracle on Ice" game worn jersey--the most significant artifact ever to surface from the greatest moment in American sport. In a country that has constructed its national identity on that bootstrap principle that anything is possible for the man who believes in himself, and who gives his full dedication to the task at hand, it's a piece that stands as unimpeachable evidence of that truth. It is, in short, the physical embodiment of the American Dream. Mr. Eruzione instructs us that his sole intention upon entering this most historic of international hockey tournaments was to earn the Gold Medal, and as such it stands as the only artifact from those Games to which he holds a strong sentimental attachment. Thankfully this presents to the collecting community a piece that many collectors, and those with a concentration in game used gear chief among them, would rate as even more desirable. This is a battle-tested relic from the trenches, as opposed to the Golden spoils of the war. The jersey bears the manufacturer's label of "Norcon," a sporting goods company headquartered in Forest Lake, Minnesota, about thirty miles from the University of Minnesota where Herb Brooks coached nine members of the U.S. team. The size "XL" garment is crafted primarily from white mesh with blue shoulders and red and blue striping at elbows and waist. Blue and red tackle twill form the bold "USA" lettering in six-inch block on the chest, and the number "21" that appears at each shoulder and reverse. The captain's "C" is affixed at upper left chest, and white stars adorn each shoulder. A white tackle twill "Eruzione" stands in three-inch block on the distinctive blue tackle twill nameplate across the back. Solid wear is evident, particularly in the yellow sweat staining at interior collar, the general softness of the cloth and tackle twill identifiers, and an unrepaired hole on one sleeve. But like another red, white and blue textile, one that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words of our National Anthem, the scars of battle only make it all the more beautiful. In both international hockey and auction history, a precedent for Eruzione's heroics has already been set. Paul Henderson became the hero of Team Canada when he netted the winning goal against the Soviets in the 1972 Summit Series, an event considered the greatest moment in Canadian sports history. Three years ago, that jersey garnered a winning bid of $1,275,000 in a Canadian sports auction. Few experts, and certainly none that reside below the forty-ninth parallel, would contend that the offered jersey from the event voted by Sports Illustrated as the Greatest Sports Moment of the 20th Century is not the superior artifact. Now it is up to the bidders to determine which event is more significant in the auction arena. Letter of provenance from Mike Eruzione. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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1980 Mike Eruzione Gold Medal Game Worn USA Olympic Hoc

Lot 80003: 1980 Mike Eruzione Gold Medal Game Worn USA Olympic Hoc

Description: 1980 Mike Eruzione Gold Medal Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Jersey. "If you lose this game, you'll take it to your graves." Coach Brooks spun on his heels, took a few steps, paused, and turned once again to face his team. "To your #%$&ing graves," he repeated. After the most improbable and glorious of victories against what every expert believed was an invincible foe, the Americans sat in the locker room during the second intermission of the Finland game two days later, twenty minutes from seeing the Gold Medal slip from their grasp. Perhaps drained by the exertion and emotion of the greatest underdog victory in American sports history, the US team had come out flat in the finale, and trailed the Finns by a score of two to one in the Gold Medal game. But in those last twenty minutes, rallied by their captain, the scrappy young American squad charged from the gate to start the third, evening the score at two when Phil Verchota took a Dave Christian pass in the left circle and found the back of the net at 2:25. Smelling blood, the young Americans pressed onward, and took the lead three minutes later when Robbie McClanahan accepted a Mark Johnson pass and went five-hole on the Finn goalie for what would prove to be the game-winner. Johnson would finish the American attack and lock up the Gold at three and a half minutes left in regulation with a short-handed score, the last of three unanswered goals in the third and final period. Thankfully ABC had learned its lesson after the unfortunate decision to broadcast the "Miracle" over Russia on tape delay. Despite the eleven A.M. start time, this final game was delivered to American television sets live, allowing the nation to share in the Gold Medal dream's realization as it happened. Here we present the deep blue mesh jersey captain Mike Eruzione was wearing as he, his teammates and a joyous nation closed the book on the greatest story in American sports history. Other than the swapped order of the coloration, this historic sweater is a match to the "Miracle" jersey in the previous lot, with "USA" in red and white tackle twill lettering on the chest, joined by a white and blue captain's "C." Number "21" is applied to sleeves and reverse in red and white, with "Eruzione" spelled in white across the blue rear nameplate. White stars spangle each shoulder. Interior collar holds "Norcon [size] XL" manufacturer's label. Like its "Miracle" twin, the interior collar is stained with sweat, evident in the yellowing of the label, and the garment exhibits a general softness in the mesh body and tackle twill identifiers indicative of wear and subsequent washings. Though it is the Russia game that stands tallest in the memories of those old enough to remember February of 1980, that dominant final period in the Finland game runs a close second in the heroic exploits of this Olympic hockey team. And while the white saw the Miracle, this blue saw the Gold. Letter of provenance from Mike Eruzione. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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1980 Mike Eruzione Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Pa

Lot 80004: 1980 Mike Eruzione Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Pa

Description: 1980 Mike Eruzione Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Pants. As the contents of this auction would indicate, the members of the American hockey team that shocked the world at Lake Placid were issued two jerseys for their eight games contested en route to the Gold. The white version is famous for its participation in The Miracle on Ice; the blue for the victory in the Gold Medal game. Check the footage, however, and you'll see that red pants, spangled with blue stars at the sides, are consistent throughout. Here we present Captain Eruzione's personal pair, a witness to every thrilling step of the journey. The pants exhibit, by far, the most game wear of any of the uniform pieces presented within this auction, and there's good reason for that. The multitude of stick marks and board burns that coat the exterior, and the yellowing of the internal padding resultant of salty sweat deposits, are attributable to dozens of practice contests leading up to the Games, as well as the full Lake Placid tournament. Again and again in photographs from the months prior to the Olympics we see this same style, and Eruzione himself confirms the protracted tour of duty. A hand-markered number "21" on the rear pad, blurred by sweat, attributes the pants to Eruzione at interior, and a second handwritten number "40" is likely either some form of inventory code or sizing notation. The "CCM" manufacturer is identified by a ring of metal buttons that attach the lower pads to the upper pads, and a couple of these buttons have been lost in battle. The original lacing at the crotch remains. Again, we must stress that the quantity of wear is a dream for knowledgeable collectors of game used gear, an enduring tribute to the long and difficult climb to the mountain top. Letter of provenance from Mike Eruzione. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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1980 Mike Eruzione Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Gl

Lot 80005: 1980 Mike Eruzione Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Gl

Description: 1980 Mike Eruzione Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Gloves. If you're having a tough time choosing between the white jersey worn in the "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviet team, or the blue jersey in which the American team secured the Gold with a late surge to conquer the Finns, consider this offering the solution to the dilemma. The very heavy wear evident on this patriotic pair of "CCM" gloves suggests use dating back even before the first puck drop at Lake Placid, this almost certainly the only pair utilized by Eruzione from his first "friendly" with the American team all the way through to the earthshaking Olympic conclusion. Stick and board burns coat the exterior of the articulated leather gauntlets, and the palms are rough and black from many hours wrapped around Eruzione's left-handed stick. Number "21" is handwritten in market at each wrist both inside and outside, the former hazy from the effects of the salty sweat that has turned the lining brown. Occasional a seam shows a degree of separation. If there was ever physical evidence of coach Herb Brooks' unforgiving and exhausting methodology, this is it. Though the "Miracle" was just one game, the climb to the mountain top had been months long. Every step of that climb is etched into the red, white and blue leather of this historic pair of gloves, a testament to that staple of the American spirit that informs us that nothing is out of our reach through hard work. Letter of provenance from Mike Eruzione. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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