Jackie Robinson 1947 debut ticket stub sells for record $480K

DALLAS — Jackie Robinson broke down barriers as a major league baseball player. A ticket stub from his first game 75 years ago smashed a memorabilia record Sunday morning.

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One of seven known ticket stubs from the Hall of Famer’s first game in 1947 sold for $480,000 in a Heritage Auctions sale, making it the most expensive sporting event ticket ever sold in an auction, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

The ticket, sold for opening day at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, was the highest-graded of all of the first-game stubs known to exist, the website reported.

During the same auction, a full ticket from Michael Jordan’s 1984 debut with the Chicago Bulls sold for $468,000, according to ESPN.

The final gavel for both graded items, which included a buyer’s premium, topped the previous record of $264,000 for a ticket stub from Jordan’s first game in the NBA, the sports website reported.

Both tickets were graded by Professional Sports Authenticators and were part of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions’ Winter Platinum Sports Night Auctions, which ran Saturday and Sunday.

>> Related: Jackie Robinson broke MLB color barrier 74 years ago

Robinson, who became the first Black player to compete in a major league game during the 20th century, played first base on April 15, 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers hosted the Boston Braves.

Only 26,623 fans attended the game that day, according to Retrosheet.org. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Ebbets Field’s fan capacity in 1947 was 34,219.

Robinson went 0-for-3 in his debut but walked and scored a run in the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory.

Robinson was the first Black player in the major leagues since Moses Fleet Walker played 42 games for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884. It was Walker’s only year in the majors, and no Black player had been on a major-league roster again until Robinson debuted in 1947.

Robinson would play 10 seasons, mostly at second base. He finished with a career average of .311. He played in six World Series for the Dodgers and retired after the 1956 season. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

“Interest in the Jackie Robinson material featured in this auction was immediate and came from all over the globe the very moment the auction was opened,” Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, told Sports Collectors Daily. “Because, of course, he wasn’t just a Hall of Fame ballplayer, but a trailblazer.”