A rare game-worn 1968 Ernie Banks jersey sold in an online auction for $137,865.
Banks, also known as “Mr. Cub,” hit 32 home runs that season.
It’s the second Banks jersey that California-based SCP Auctions has sold in the past 12 months.
The auction house sold a 1969 Banks home “game-worn” jersey in 2014 for $151,652, company spokesman Terry Melia said.
“It’s extremely rare to find a Banks game-used jersey in the first place, but to sell two of them within a 12-month period is quite extraordinary,” Melia said.
The buyer didn’t want to be identified.
The Banks jersey has an unusual backstory.
It hung above Randy Berman’s crib when he was an infant. When Berman was in college, it hung above his “Kegerator.”
Until three months ago, it was still hanging above the cold-beer dispenser in the 36-year-old bachelor’s Rogers Park apartment.
But Berman, who works in public relations and goes by the nickname “Boomer,” finally decided to part ways with the jersey, saying he’s not in the kind of income bracket to own something so valuable.
“I don’t have that sort of lifestyle,” he said Thursday.
The jersey was a welcome-to-the-world gift in 1978 from Berman’s uncle, Jeff Berman. He was a coach at the Scottsdale, Ariz., Boys & Girls Club, which was next door to the stadium where the Cubs went for spring training.
While Banks was getting warmed up for the season, his kids hung out at the Boys & Girls Club, where Jeff Berman coached them. The Banks jersey was Mr. Cub’s way of saying thank you.
Randy Berman, who was born and raised in Arizona, got the jersey — No. 14 — on his birthday, Dec. 14, 1978. And for most of his life, as he traveled from place to place — sticking the framed jersey in the back of moving vans — with no idea how much it was worth.
Berman, a lifelong Cubs fan, moved to Chicago about two years ago, bringing the jersey with him. He says he was watching a sports memorabilia show last year when, out of curiosity, he let the show’s producers know he had the jersey. He later made an appearance on the show and was told it could fetch $150,000 at auction.
“I was flabbergasted,” Berman said.
Berman said he plans to save some of the money and perhaps give the rest to his three sisters and their combined seven nieces and nephews.
As for the empty spot above his Kegerator, he’s considering replacing it with a framed photograph of him, his father and Ernie Banks from when Berman was just 7 years old.