The Price of History, Vol. V

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.

5 comments… add one
  • You think I’d have gotten that pr*ck Rodriguez’ John Hancock for you, YF? I’d have sooner paid the 20K than have to go near that grumpy prima donna’s locker.

    Jorge August 23, 2005, 10:57 am
  • Knowing his defensive skills, ten bucks says that Posada would have swiped at the ball being thrown back to him from the grandstand, with the souvenir rolling all the way to the backstop…

    SF August 23, 2005, 10:59 am
  • In late 2003, Dave Dellucci’s first home run as a Yankee bounded into my section of the right field bleachers, soon after which an usher came by trying to retreive the ball for Dellooch from the guy who caught it.
    This made me think, what about what I would ask for. My answer: a ball signed by the team (sign here so Dellooch can get his homer ball, not much to ask), and a bat and a jersey from the player in question, both of which I’m sure the player would happily trade for a ball that would mean more to him than it would to me anyway. And everybody wins. As for a record breaking hit of some kind, I’d ask for the same, but for the ball to be signed by the player only (noting the record) and also to be able to present the ball to the player personally.

    Cliff August 23, 2005, 1:59 pm
  • I would have made Posada get a ball signed by the Unit and his “personal catcher” John Flaherty. Let’s see just how much this ball means to you, Jorge.

    MJL in L.A. August 23, 2005, 2:04 pm
  • I think that asking to present the ball to the player in person is a pretty cool request. And, if he’s asking for a favor from you, the least he could do is spend 5 minutes chatting to you as a “thank you” gesture.

    Sam (NY) August 23, 2005, 2:36 pm

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