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1983 Johnny Bench Game Jersey-Signed-COA 100% Authentic Team-Grade 10/20

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Rated 5 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating

Sold for: $1,500.00

Sold for: $1,500.00

Auction ends: March 5, 2019 5:59 AM
Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Total price with Buyers Premium: $990.00

Bids count: 5

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After 17 seasons (nicely punctuated by 12 All-Star games), most great careers are at their twilight -, especially for catchers. Johnny Bench, however, was still productive by 1983 – 12 HR’s, 54 RBI’s, a .255 average. He spent most of 1983 at first or third.

Presented is Bench’s last season game jersey which was in 1983.  The provenance further adds intrigue as it will make any gamer collector’s heart thump in awe. It was difficult to get anything out of the Reds clubhouse with Bernie Stowe managing their equipment. Add to the challenge that the request was made during Bench’s farewell season and it was nearly an impossible task.

One Major Leaguer from the Montreal Expos (Peppe Frias) was determined to get a Bench game jersey. He employed his friend on the Reds, Mario Soto to get him one. Soto knew that this was a difficult task (for sure) but he had a plan. After a game, Soto threw this Bench jersey and his own jersey into a box for his pal Peppe. He later went to the manager and claimed his jersey and Bench’s just disappeared.

During the last year of Bench’s career, Bench ordered many jerseys and many jerseys were made for Johnny Bench by Rawlings Representatives.   His jerseys were in very high demand and this is why Stowe was very protective of anything leaving the locker room.  This particular jersey without question was made for and made by the Rawlings Manufacturer. The jersey is size “44” with the flag tag “SET 1  1983” sewn in on the left side of the tag.

Rawlings tag itself is sewn underneath the left tail of the jersey.   Rawlings copyright “R” is placed underneath the “s.”  “The Mark of a Pro” DO NOT DRY CLEAN WASH IN COLD WATER WITH MILD SOAD DO NOT USE BLEACH DO NOT USE AUTOMATIC DRYER.  Made in the U.S.A. ”  Tagging is dated appropriately.  Size is appropriate.  Set Tag is also appropriate.

Reds jersey’s during this season have been seen with set tags sewn into the “right” side of the Rawlings tagging instead of the “left” side of the manufacturer label “Rawlings.”  That does not give any cause for concern as all the elements of the jersey were ordered and made for and by Rawlings according to a close representative of Rawlings.

The sleeves are white/red ribbed sewn onto the white knit material as all Reds jerseys were made.  Ribbed red stripe is appropriate width and style.

NOB “BENCH” is sewn ono the back of the jersey in zigzag stitching and we have single tackle twill.  The “5” is also sewn onto the back and front chest.  The white roped “C” Reds logo is sewn onto the chest with zigzag stitching and the “Reds is chain stitched”  All the specs of the jersey are exact to the REDS specifications of the 1983 era.

The ribbed neck features the classic REDS neckline.  The red/white/red neckline features a white stripe measuring 3/8″ inch.  This white stripe appears to be 1/8″ larger than the typical REDS jerseys of the era.  The REDS did sport the larger white stripe neckline in their warm-up jackets, although the larger white stripe was not typically seen in the game-worn jerseys.  Available is a photo of what seems to be a larger white stripe neckline on a different style jersey confirming that this white striping was used.

After extensive research and discussions with Rawlings insiders, we conclude that without question this jersey was in fact made by Rawlings for Mr. Bench.  We also believe the provenance of the jersey and the parties obtaining the jersey is of reputable team sourcing.  Did Rawlings create a different style ribbed neckline as an introduction to a new style of jersey?   Did Bench request jerseys to be made for him as the demand for his jerseys was great?

Because the neckline does differ by 1/8″ from the REDS jersey’s typically worn during that era,  we can positively state that at the very least this jersey was a Rawlings “Sample” game-issued jersey.  Bench jerseys are always in high demand. To note, there were no STORE MODEL jersey’s sold at this time.  There is evidence of wear on the jersey. Peppe Frias obtained the jersey from the locker room.  Since we are unable to get a photo match of the ribbed neck with this width white stripe, without question this Game Jersey was issued to Bench and made by Rawling for Mr. Bench.

Bench later signed the front of the jersey in blue felt tip adding tremendous value. A PSA/DNA sticker is affixed for authentication. This, beautiful in its simplicity and representative of Bench’s N. L. farewell tour.

  1. Condition-Laudering evident. Numerals and jersey material show light use. Rawlings interior tag shows puckering and wear.
  2. Modifications– The “squatty” Numeral “5” on both posterior and anterior sides of the jersey is consistent.  The posterior “5” is sewn on 2 1/4″ under the “N” of the NOB (name on back).  “5” starts in the middle to the end of the “E” and ends at the tip end of the “C”.  This placement is consistent with reviewing the Bench jersey film and images found during the 1983 season.
  3. Modifications:  “5” placement of the anterior chest is measured against the “Cinncinati Reds” logo placement which is consistent with film and images found during the 1983 season on the Bench jersey’s.
  4. Modifications: The ribbed sleeve red/white stripe is consistent with film and images found during the 1983 season on the Bench jersey’s.
  5. Modifications:  No alterations found.  Zig -Zag stitching consistent throughout front and back of jersey.
  6. Photostyle: Photo style of the Bench wearing this jersey with the logo, “BENCH” font style and “5” numbering.
  7.  Provenance:  Letter attesting to where and how the jersey was obtained.
  8. Tagging:  Reviewing tag records, and jersey’s of the era both placement, wash tag instructions and set tag placement is correct.
  9. Wear:  Visible light wear without any apparent repairs which includes some staining.

Total Grade:  10/20

Additional information

Weight12 lbs
Dimensions12 × 12 × 12 in

1 = Signs of use (signs of being laundered if jersey)


2 = 2 or more modifications or attributes designed for/by player


1 = Style Match


1 = Provenance Letter


4 = Positive direct match on all tags


2 = Visible wear no repairs

Total Grade



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