A few days ago in Chicago, Jorge Posada scored his 1,000th career hit—congratulations Jorge, if you’re reading—a rifle shot down the right field line in New Comiskey that bounded up into the bleachers for a ground-rule double. Naturally, the Yanks wanted to get him the ball, so a trainer was sent out with an offer for the gentleman who caught it: an autographed bat and ball in exchange for Jorge’s momento. The fan’s response? Make it $20,000. Jorge said no thanks—and we can’t blame him.
The obsession with “authentic” game balls and other like memorabilia has always seemed a bit absurd to us; a ball, after all, is just a bll. They’re all the same. Of course certain ones are special—say, Aaron’s 715th—but a player’s 1,000th-hit-ball seems a whole lot less exciting—except to that player, which is ostensibly what that Chicago bleacherite was thinking. Unfortunately, he let his greed and perhaps his distaste for the Pinstripers cloud his judgement. At that heated moment, he would have done well to remember that baseball is a business; and when doing business its best to put emotion aside.
So what would have been a fair price? We’ve been to our fair share of auctions recently, and our guess is that said ball will never amount to much more than a few hundred dollars. Which makes the fan’s bloated proposal seem absurd indeed, and hardly worth further negotiation from the Yankee catcher, who will no doubt mock up a perfectly good simulacrum for his trophy case. What would we have done? A dinner at Charlie Trotter’s might have been our starting point. That and an autographed ball. Autographed, that is, by Derek and A-Rod. Now that would have made for some quick thinking.