This Month in Sports Collecting History - March 2017
By Mike McLeod and Marla McLeod

March 2, 1909: Power hitter Mel Ott was born. Standing all of 5’ 9” tall and weighing just 170 lbs., Ott hit a career 511 home runs and 1,860 RBIs for the New York Giants (1926-1947) and was a six-time National League home run leader (, “Mel Ott”). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951. In 2015, Mel Ott’s 1938 game-worn New York Giants jersey, rated MEARS A8, powered to $334,600 at Heritage Auctions.

Mel Ott’s jersey, front

Mel Ott

(Photos above courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

March 8, 1971: Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali by judges’ decision after 15 hard-hitting rounds to retain his Heavyweight Champion title at Madison Square Garden. Frazier knocked Ali to the canvas briefly in the 11th. In August 2016, the Everlast boxing gloves worn by Ali hit $594,000 at Goldin Auctions.

Photo Right: Ali’s gloves
(Photo courtesy of Goldin Auctions)

March 11, 1987: Wayne Gretzky scored his 1,500th point in the National Hockey League (, “March 1987 in Sport”). With his last match on April 18, 1999, “The Great One’s” career totals were: 894 goals, 1,963 assists and 2,857 points (, “Wayne Gretzky Career Timeline” 5/31/06). In 2016, a 1979/80 O-Pee-Chee #18 Wayne Gretzky rookie card, PSA GEM MT 10, scored $465,000 at Goldin Auctions.

Photo Right: Gretzky’s rookie card
(Photo courtesy of Goldin Auctions)

March 14, 1954: Hank Aaron homered in his first exhibition game for the Milwaukee Braves (, “Atlanta Braves History”). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. A 1954 Topps Hank Aaron #128, PSA Mint 9, hit $358,500 at Heritage Auctions in 2016.

Photo Right: 1954 Topps Hank Aaron #128
(Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

March 20, 1973: The Baseball Writers’ Association of America held a special election to waive the five-year waiting period to vote on Roberto Clemente for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Clemente died in a plane crash delivering aid to Nicaragua after an earthquake. In 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Roberto Clemente had 3,000 hits, 240 home runs, 1,305 RBIs and batted .317. He was a World Series champ twice and Series MVP once. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. In 2016, a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente #164 rookie baseball card PSA-rated mint 9 topped out at $488,000 at Heritage Auctions.

Photo Right: Roberto Clemente’s rookie card
(Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

March 24, 1930: Steve McQueen came into the world with a talent for acting and driving. McQueen also amassed a great car and motorcycle collection. The star of it was his 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer motorcycle, capable of 100+ mph. It roared off for $852,500 at a Mecum Auctions in 2014 (, 10/14/14).

Steve McQueen’s Cyclone
(Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions)

Steve McQueen

(Photos above courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

March 25, 1934: Horton Smith won the very first Masters with a score of 284 (4 under par) and a purse totaling $1,500 (—worth almost $27,000 in today’s money. His Green Jacket hit $682,229.45 at Green Jacket Auctions in 2013.

Photo Right: Horton Smith (r.), 1929
(Photo, Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-07807 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

March 28, 1990: Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George H.W. Bush. In 2013, one of his Olympic gold medals sold for $1,466,574 at SCP Auctions.

Jesse Owens’ Olympic medal front and back (Photos courtesy of SCP Auctions)

March 29, 1867: One of the greatest Major League pitchers ever, Cy Young was born this day. He still holds the record for most wins with 511; Walter Johnson trails quite a way back at 417. Denton True Young threw 2,803 strikeouts and was a World Series champion in 1903. In 2011, his 1908 game-worn Boston Red Sox uniform scored at $657,250 at Heritage Auctions.

Cy Young’s uniform shirt (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

Cy Young



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