February 29th

Could there be a better day than February 29th to talk about the calendar?

Usually I don’t buy tickets or make plans too far ahead of time, but I’ve already finalized six games for the 2008 season. Three will be at Disney World. I just got my tickets in the mail, and damn they’re ugly.


I also have three Watch With Zack clients lined up for:

1) April 8th at Fenway Park (Sox home opener & ring ceremony)
2) May 15th at Shea Stadium (taking a seven-year-old to his first game ever)
3) August 1st at Fenway (fourth row seats along the right field foul line)



  1. joneli24@yahoo.com

    i think that theyre ugly because its through ticketmaster…usually theyre not that ugly

  2. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Yanks Fan: My dad has two tix to the final game ( i better get one) and (sorry for my language dad) JESUS CHRIST! $1200!!!!! Imagine how much they’ll sell for if the Yanks look like there no going to make the playoffs.

  3. db3par@aol.com

    Yeah, Zack, big men who have lots of balls shouldn’t cry. Take that any way you want, I was meaning baseballs. Only a month until the Nats have an exih. game against the O’s. The unofficial home opener.

  4. ceetar@gmail.com

    They are ugly. It’s ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is the most crappiest company ever.

    They do realize they’re selling _bleacher_ seats for more than places like Yankee stadium? I mean, make the freaking tickets affordable! Oh wait..it is Disneyworld.. They’re charging more than the Braves charge when they it for spring training! Granted it’s a real game, but I thought the point of playing there was to widen the fan base?

  5. pinetarman1@gmail.com

    Hey Zacker:

    Listen up, I just happen to love those tickets and I am proud to say that (yellow) and (blue) are the official colors of Ukraine.

    With time, the color of the tickets will soon grow on you like fine wine!

  6. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    Puckcollector, where are your tickets located? I must imagine, better than my spot.

  7. padreleigh@hotmail.com


    I received my tickets a few days ago. They’re the same as yours. Quite ugly. They will get us in the gate though and that’s what counts. Saw the Dodgers get beat today on ESPN. That was fun.


  8. Zack

    You are correct, Sir.


    How come *I* didn’t go to George Washington?


    That’s quite a bit of money. Yow.


    I figured you were talking about baseballs since that IS the main topic of this blog. :-)


    I can understand why they’re charging so much for tickets. I figure it’s because the stadium only holds 9,500 people. But did the (Devil) Rays even sell out the games there last year?


    I am terribly sorry. Didn’t mean to offend.




    I watched that game too and tried to scope out a few spots.


    Thanks! (Sadly for that kid, it’s all gonna be downhill from there.)

  9. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Zack and Yanksfan: I didn’t spend $1200. I was responding to Yanksfan, and saying that his spending $1200 for 4 tickets was amazing. My dad has a B plan with the Yanks, so he got a presale to buy 2 tickets to the final game. I think he bough his at face value. They are in section 19.

    Pinetarman; My great grandmother was from the Ukraine( although it might have been Russia when she lived there.)

    4 more puck ’til 100!

  10. yanksfan61293@aol.com


    Well, the baseball season is in full swing again, so I’ll be posting again. I’m excited for the Yankees chances: they still have the best offense in baseball, but the pitching staff could be shaky. But: there is a small (I mean miniscule) chance that Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy could come together and do well all at the same time.

    So, yeah, thanks for the welcome back.

  11. munkittr@ufl.edu

    I don’t think the Rays sold out for any of the Orlando series. But they did pretty well when you consider they normally draw near 13k a game (If you exclude the Sox/Yanks series from your calculations)

    Hopefully they will offset the premium price by at least allowing patrons in at least 2 hours before game-time.

    Also, a quick heads up. Give yourself at least an extra half hour on top of what map-quest recommends for drive time. Orlando has easily the worst commuter traffic in all of our great state.

  12. joneli24@yahoo.com

    there is no chance whatsoever that the yankees have the best offense in the game

    and anyway it doesnt matter, if they do make the playoffs they’ll just get embarrassed in the first round like they always do

  13. gjk2212@yahoo.com

    how did you get tix for may 15 already? stubhub? the only other way is a 5 pack, which im assuming you didnt buy..

    and lucky kid you’re goin with, getting to miss school for mets/nats with zack…

  14. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Ew, May 15th at Shea? A day game after a night game … at Shea? Good luck my friend.

    13 days, 10 hours, 50 minutes, and 2 seconds until ’til I sprint into my first game of the season in Fort Myers, Florida.

  15. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    free games on any computer right now /go tomlb.com,,then click scoreboard,,then red mlb logo,, then click right top use orig.media player//only archived games not live in progress,, padre leigh can be seen tues @padres vs giants mar 4 home run he is dancing …..

  16. Zack



    I think the young pitchers WILL be great, but it might not happen right away. Remember…even the great Greg Maddux struggled when he fiirst broke into the majors, going 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA in his first full season.


    I picked a hotel that’s only a mile or two from the stadium, so hopefully I’ll be able to jump in a cab and get there pretty fast.


    No comment. (I’ve already offended Yankees fan enough on this blog.)


    The people I’m going with have season tickets (just a few rows behind the Mets’ dugout).


    Yeah, I know, I told the client that it’s not ideal, but that was the date that worked best for him and his family.


    I’m gonna have to ask Leigh to reenact the dance when I see him next month.

  17. loveg30@aol.com

    Those tickets aren’t ugly at all. Unless of course its because its the Rays. Zack, sounds like the start of the season is already shaping up for you. Hope all is going well for you and can’t wait to see you out at Shea. Citifield is really developing nicely. It looks a lot further along than the new Junkee Stadium. LOL!

  18. joneli24@yahoo.com

    maybe thats why the tix are blue and yellow like that…new rays colors? good call loveq30…

    anyway i read somewhere (and please noone quote me cause it was a while ago and i dont remember where i saw it) that the new yankee stadium was like 2-3 months behind in construction and that if there are 2-3 more major storms before its expected to open they may not be able to open it in time

  19. fatherpuck@optonline.net

    This week, I may have scored the most important ticket of all: The Pope celebrating Mass at Yankee Stadium on April 20 (why do you think I’m “Father” Puck?).

    What a year! The Red Sox and the Pope in one April week, the last game in Yankee Stadium in September (or playoffs), and almost certainly the All-Star game with my ticket plan. Kind of makes up for being an Islanders fan.

    Zack, what time do the Pope and the Cardinals take BP?

  20. db3par@aol.com

    My parents are trying to get a ticket to the papal mass at the new Nationals stadium on April 17th. The pastor for my church I guess got a bunch of tickets, and is going to distribute them somehow. Only a few people have replied in emails, so it looks very promising at the moment. Hopefully we can get a ticket

    I have my trip to Florida all planned out!! I’m arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Florida around 5:45. My mom and I are then driving across the state to visit some long time friends and see the Twins play the Pirates and Yankees. One game is in Lee County and the other is in Bradenton. Then on Monday morning we are driving back to Ft. Lauderdale and going to see the Dodgers play the Orioles at 1:05 PM. My mom has meetings Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so I’m only seeing a game in Fort Lauderdale on Monday. Tuesday I’m just going to chill in the hotel and my mom and I are going to do a little touring. Then on Wednesday at around 4ish we arive back in DC. It’s going to be awesome!!!!

  21. padreleigh@hotmail.com

    Hey Zack….

    Having a great spring so far in Arizona. I scored two game balls(end of inning ball and end of game ball) and one cracked bat yesterday. I have also scored approximately 20 autographs as well including: Jake Peavy, Jim Edmonds, Adrian Gonzalez, his brother Edgar (why not?), Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Bard, Randy Wolf, Justin Germano, Callix Crabbe (rule 5 guy), Chase Headley, Scott Hairston, manager Bud Black, GM Kevin Towers and a host of minor leaguers and prospects. I even rode over on the plane from San Diego with one of the radio broadcasters. We had a real neat conversation. Of course, I forgot my camera for the trip, but I will take a pic of all my booty when I get home. By the way, Munkittr is very right about the traffic situation. Tourists all over that area messing things up. I plan on being there extremely early myself to check the lay of the land. Maybe we should just do the All Star Cafe next door? I’ve been there before. It’s like an ESPN Zone on crack, but it’s edible. Let me know. I also read somewhere that all attendees at these Orlando games receive a voucher to use for a ticket to another Rays game in Tampa. Cool, huh?


  22. Zack

    Funny. Imagine if it WERE just a “Rays” thing. Everything in my life is pretty good right now. No complaints. Just dealing with a bunch of stuff (mostly good) and waiting for the games to begin…


    That would be an incriedible mess for Yankee Nation.


    C’mon now, you can’t be giving links to articles where people have to sign up before reading. Rrrr.


    I think the Pope and Cardinals are just taking infield/outfield practice.


    Sounds like a great trip. Keep me posted. (Am I the only one who didn’t know about papal masses at MLB stadiums?)


    Yes, take a pic of your booty and show it to me, heh heh. All-Star Cafe sounds good. Then we’ll be right near the ballpark. Cool about the voucher, but I wonder if I’d ever have a chance to use it.

  23. baseballcollector15@gmail.com

    Whoever cussed dont do that there might be kids reading this blog

  24. joneli24@yahoo.com

    that would be insane if i could get there…anyway i dont know of theyd do that for citifield…usually the mets play a first home game day game, unless because of the new stadium theyd move it to a night game sunday night game?

  25. padreleigh@hotmail.com

    Hey Zack…

    Good evening!! Scored a game ball from the home plate umpire after the game today. Too many little kids to get any others. I got more autographs today from Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell, Michael Barrett,Will Venable, Paul McAnulty, Luis Rodriguez, Nick Hundley,Bruce Bochy, Dave Roberts, Ray Durham and Randy Winn. Got a few Minor Leaguers too. Got the Heisman from Tadahito Iguchi(again), Khalil Greene, and Greg Maddux (twice). They don’t seem to like me. Maybe tomorrow. Almost got a foul ball today too. Having a great spring training for a 40 year old. Later…


  26. joneli24@yahoo.com


    the padres are a great signing team, and im not suprised by your success auto wise…i was at the hotel and i got literally everyone i wanted no problems, even maddux! you gotta get him outside the stadium cause he wont sign inside

  27. munkittr@ufl.edu

    I have a few quick questions for anyone that can help.

    If a ball lands in a body of water like a pond/bay, is it immediately ruined, or is there a window through which it can be retrieved and not permanently damaged?

    Along that same line, I’ve read that you can dry a waterlogged baseball by placing it in the oven on low heat for several hours. Has anyone tried this?

  28. alex@santantonio.net


    I’m going to be one of the guys inside for 4.5 hours on 3/30’s Nationals opening day… BECAUSE AS OF TODAY I AM A SEASON TICKET HOLDER!!!!

    So get this, I got an email invitation to tour the new Nats park this past Sunday. It was a promotion for perspective season ticket holders. I went just for the free tour, no intention to buy any tickets. While walking the park and seats with the ticket rep, I made a random and somewhat offhanded comment that came out of nowhere. I said “If you could get me a pair of seats, one or two rows from the field over there (pointing to section of about 20 possible seats out of the 40,000) I might get a full season package.” He said “Wait, seriously.” I didn’t think much of it until the next day when I got a call and email. Seems my ticket rep found me a pair in the 2nd row down the right field line. I was blown away, I have no idea how he got these seats, especially from a sold out section, but he did. So now I am a proud season ticket holder. So check out this shot http://clarkconstruction.oxblue.com/clarkhuntsmoot/ (get a non rainy one) and look down the right field line. The last first full section in the outfield that comes down right on the field, my seats are row B right there.

    So Zack, if you let me know when you might be interested in coming to town, I could secure you one of my seats, I think you might actually like the foul ball potential from that vantage point.

    Also, FYI, Nationals park, center field concourse, which is DEEP homerun territory, opens 2 1/2 hours before first pitch, gates open the standard 1 1/2, no season ticket benefit there this year. But still, get there early.

  29. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Hey everybody, I was wondering if anybody has ever been to any of the following Spring Training ballparks in Florida: Progress Energy Park (Rays), Hammond Stadium (Twins), McKechnie Field (Pirates), and Joker Marchant Stadium (Tigers). Any tips would be awesome.

  30. Zack

    I don’t know which cusses you’re talking about since this blog is programmed to automatically censor all language deemed “offensive” by the people who run Major League Baseball, but if there WAS bad language that slipped through the cracks (is “crack” a bad word?), it probably came from a kid in the first place. Anyway, I hope you weren’t offended.


    Sounds like a nightmare to me. By the time BP starts, the place will have a game-time crowd already there. What’s the point of rushing through all the sight-seeing in one day? I *want* to drag it out at both new NYC ballparks.


    Good point about the Mets’ openers being during the day. Hmm…


    You got Maddux?! Very nice work all around. (Forty isn’t old. C’mon!)


    There’s definitely a way to rescue balls from the water and prevent them from getting wrecked, but I’m not sure. The guys out in McCovey Cove could tell you all about it. Not sure about the oven trick either.


    That is AWE-some. Congrats x 81. And thanks for the offer. The first time I go there, however, I’m probably gonna want to be roaming all over the stadium and taking pics (and going for commemorative balls as well), so I’d feel bad about taking one of your tickets and then taking off, you know? Sounds like an amazing spot. Maybe if I make a second trip there this season? Man, I’m so jealous. Or who knows, if it turns out that the whole season is sold out, then I very well might want to take you up on it. Thanks again. Really. You rule.


    Funny, I only know those stadium names from having written them into many of my game recaps for MiLB.com, like this one:


  31. padreleigh@hotmail.com


    No, I didn’t get Maddux. He was one of the ones who gave me the Heisman. I’m going to see the Brewers play the Royals today in Surprise, AZ. I want to talk to Ryan Braun and relive our MLB moment together. Maybe he’ll remember me? We’ll see. Later..


  32. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Sorry bout the article. it worked for me. So I now give you byfar the longest (and if you don’t want to read it, the most annoying comment ever)

    In an age when Ty Cobb’s dentures have gone up for auction and even checkers has its own hall of fame, you might think every sports collectible had already been collected. But the whereabouts of some key items remain a mystery. A fortune awaits those who can find these Holy Grails


    In 1887, Boston fans presented bare-knuckle boxing champion and native son John L. Sullivan with a solid gold title belt encrusted with 397 diamonds, known as “the $10,000 belt.” The Boston Strong Boy declared that the token would be “held and handed down to the generations of my future relations,” but he later chipped out the diamonds and sold off the stripped belt. According to boxing historian Bert Sugar, the prized item made the rounds at pawn shops but hasn’t been seen in a century. The Smithsonian has a Sullivan belt, though no one knows whether it’s the original or a replica made in 1901.

    Estimated value $500,000.


    At the heart of the prosecutor’s case in the People v. Edward Cicotte et al. were the signed confessions of three White Sox players — Cicotte, Joe Jackson and Lefty Williams — who had admitted to fixing the 1919 World Series. But before their trial on conspiracy charges started in ’21, those confessions mysteriously vanished from the Illinois State Attorney’s office; the prosecution’s case collapsed, and the players were acquitted. (Known as the Black Sox, they, along with five teammates, remained banned from baseball for life.) Three years later, when Jackson sued the team for back pay, the lawyers for owner Charles Comiskey countered by producing Jackson’s signed statement; it was the last time any of the confessions appeared in public. “The documents were probably destroyed because they implicated a lot of corrupt politicians and gamblers,” says RM Auctions director of memorabilia Simeon Lipman. “But you never know what could be tucked away in a briefcase.”

    Estimated value more than $1 million.


    After the Giants’ final out in 1957, 11,000 New Yorkers ran on to the field to pillage — their beloved team was forsaking the Polo Grounds for San Francisco. In deep center, three teens pried loose a plaque that memorialized third baseman Eddie Grant, the only major leaguer killed in World War I. Police nabbed the kids, but the plaque was never turned in to the precinct.

    Estimated value $20,000.


    Is there a more famous NFL play than the Immaculate Reception of Dec. 23, 1972? Losing 7-6 to the Oakland Raiders in the AFC divisional playoff with 22 seconds remaining, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw heaved a desperation, fourth-down pass from his 40-yard line. The ball ricocheted off at least one player and was inches from striking the turf when running back Franco Harris snatched it and raced 42 yards for the game-winning score. “It was pandemonium,” recalls Harris. “Fans rushed on the field, and the ball was knocked out of my hands. No one paid attention to the ball.” Jim Baker begs to differ. “I saw Franco circle around after the catch and hand the ball to the referee,” says Baker, 58, of West Mifflin, Pa. “Immediately afterward, the Steelers kicked the extra point, but they [the Three Rivers Stadium crew] never put the net up. That same ball went through the posts, bounced off a concrete wall and I grabbed it. I have the Immaculate Reception ball.” Harris, however, is not convinced. “It’s too hard to verify,” he says. “I would love to have the ball, but listen, it’s gone.”

    Estimated value 80,000.


    Collectors call it the “Mona Lisa of baseball cards.” Between 1909 and 1911 the American Tobacco Co. gave away a card packaged inside each of its products. Known as the T206 series, it included legends of the day such as Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner. But because he either wanted to be compensated for his image or didn’t want to promote smoking to kids, Wagner threatened to sue the company. Production of the card was halted after a few hundred were printed; now only about 50 are known to exist. Five years ago a T206 Wagner in near-mint condition fetched $1.265 million, the highest price ever for a baseball card. The dream find for a collector: a Wagner card in similar condition still tucked into an unopened pack of cigarettes.

    Estimated value $1.5 million.


    With the second game of the 1928 Stanley Cup finals scoreless at Montreal, 44-year-old New York coach Lester Patrick replaced goalie Lorne Chabot, who had been hit in the eye by a puck. Patrick made 18 saves over the final 40 minutes to lift the Rangers to a 2-1 overtime win; New York would defeat the favored Maroons in five games. Experts fear that Patrick’s goalie stick — which would be the most valuable in existence — was used until it was broken, then thrown away.

    Estimated value $15,000 to $20,000.


    On June 17, 1994 — the day O.J. Simpson’s white Bronco led the LAPD on an hourlong chase — USC officials, fearing vandalism or theft, removed the replica of his 1968 Heisman Trophy and the 32 jersey he wore that year from a display case at Heritage Hall. While Simpson awaited trial on murder charges (he would be acquitted), the trophy and jersey were returned to the case — then stolen a week later.

    Estimated value $40,000 to 50,000 for the trophy; $20,000 for the jersey.


    It seems that for each of the record 100 points Wilt Chamberlain scored in Hershey, Pa., on March 2, 1962, there’s a conflicting story surrounding the whereabouts of what Leland’s auction house then deemed “the most important piece of basketball memorabilia on the face of the earth.” Kerry Ryman, now a crane operator, claims that as a 14-year-old he snatched the ball out of Chamberlain’s hands after the Knickerbockers-Warriors game, then used it on playgrounds for years. “Wilt scored 100 points with that ball,” Ryman has said, “and I scored a couple hundred thousand.” Harvey Pollack, then Philadelphia’s publicist, and Chamberlain’s backup, Joe Ruklick, each say they placed the ball in Wilt’s gym bag. Even the Big Dipper had his own account: He’d given it to Warriors teammate Al Attles and wasn’t interested in tracking it down. (Attles has denied ever having it.) “It’s a mystery,” says Basketball Hall of Fame head curator Matt Zeysing, “but not all that surprising. Since 1962 we had what we thought to be Wilt’s 25,000th-point-game jersey — and someone recently auctioned off what he claimed to be just that.”

    Estimated value $600,000. (Ryman’s relic went for $551,000 at a Leland’s auction in 2000. Because of suspicions about its authenticity, the house suspended the sale; the ball was reauctioned six months later for $67,791.)


    In 1973, when Secretariat won the Triple Crown in charismatic fashion, it was a good bet that Big Red souvenirs would be of value. Many items sold in a ’99 Sotheby’s auction, but some key pieces have never turned up. The most coveted? The saddle cloth Secretariat wore at the Kentucky Derby. According to Leonard Lusky, the president of Secretariat.com, jockey Ron Turcotte handed the cloth embroidered with 1A to a Churchill Downs valet after the race. Three years ago a man calling himself Gus phoned Lusky and Turcotte claiming to be that valet, but he has yet to set up a meeting. Says Lusky, “Maybe he’s just too sentimental to sell it.”

    Estimated value $250,000.


    Trailing Evander Holyfield in the third round of their 1997 WBA heavyweight title fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson, while in a clinch, spit out his mouthpiece and took a bite out of the champ’s right ear. After referee Mills Lane disqualified Tyson for taking a second bite, the employee in charge of maintaining the ring scooped the inch-long otic chunk off the mat and into a latex glove, which was put in ice. Holyfield and his ear traveled in an ambulance to Valley Hospital, but along the way, the glove was misplaced. The ear hasn’t been seen since.

    Estimated value $5,000.


    The stories about the upright piano that’s supposedly resting at the bottom of Willis Pond in Sudbury, Mass., are legion. One is that in the winter of 1918, then Red Sox pitcher-outfielder Babe Ruth, while blotto during a party, pushed the piano off the porch, down a slope and into the water. Another: While hosting a sing-along for children, the Bambino tried to enliven the festivities by relocating both kids and instrument to the frozen pond, then left the piano there to sink in the spring. Three years ago underwater searcher John Fish looked for fragments using sonar equipment and a magnetometer. He, like others, turned up nothing.

    Estimated value “If you can prove that something is a part of the piano, then it’s one of those quirky type of things that could go for a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand,” says Simeon Lipman, vice president of RM Auctions. “There’s nothing really to compare it to.”


    When Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) returned from the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, he was so disgusted by racism in his native Louisville that he stripped the light heavyweight gold medal from his neck and threw it in the Ohio River — or so he said in his 1975 autobiography, The Greatest. A short time later, however, he admitted that he had done nothing of the sort. In either case, the medal remains missing (though at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch did present Ali with a duplicate gold ). After Ali’s oft-told tale about how he disposed of the original, it would be a significant find.

    Estimated value $1 million.


    On the eve of their 1925 playoff series, 10 Hamilton (Ont.) Tigers went on strike, prematurely ending the team’s fifth and final NHL season. (The franchise became the New York Americans for 16 seasons, then the Brooklyn Americans for one before folding.) To the knowledge of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s coordinator of cultural services, Izak Westgate, no Tigers sweaters remain today. He says that to find one — like that worn by star center Joe Malone (below) — “would be to find a true one-of-a-kind.”

    Estimated value $20,000 to $25,000.

    Not Having a Ball

    Each of the 80 or so baseballs major league umpires put in play during the average game is worth about $15 in pristine condition. But as soon as those balls get belted over fences in critical situations, their value rises, fights erupt, and lawsuits get filed. Here are a few baseballs so renowned that fans would no doubt line up to see them — if anyone knew where the darn things were.


    In the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski beat the Yankees 10-9 with a homer at now defunct Forbes Field. A plaque on Roberto Clemente Drive marks the spot where that blast left the park, but the ball has never surfaced. “Eight or nine people came back that day and said it was the real ball,” Maz told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I didn’t know. Everyone wanted a hundred dollars for it.”

    Estimated value $100,000.


    It is a memory that haunts Red Sox Nation: the seventh-inning, three-run homer by shortstop Bucky Dent that cleared the Green Monster at Fenway Park and lifted the Yankees to a 5-4 win in the 1978 AL East playoff game. “It has to either be with a Boston fan with voodoo pins stuck in it or sitting quietly on a mantelpiece in the home of a Yankees fan,” says Leila Dunbar, director of collectibles at Sotheby’s. Seth Swirsky, a collector and the author of Baseball Letters, has a more plausible theory: Because the grounds crew had failed to clear some 20 balls from the leftfield netting after batting practice that day, Dent’s home run ball could never have been identified.

    Estimated value $250,000.


    The first American League ball pitched — by White Stockings righty Roy Patterson at Chicago’s South Side Park on April 24, 1901 — has never been found. But the home plate ump, Tom Connolly, had a habit of pocketing milestone baseballs. “He had a keen sense of history,” says Sotheby’s Leila Dunbar, noting that Connolly’s daughters, who inherited his collection, gave out some items as gifts.

    Estimated value $150,000.


    The ball flew out of the Polo Grounds (Pafko at the wall!) and into the hands of a fan — a fan who held what would become one of the most sought-after collectibles in sports. On Oct. 3, 1951, Bobby Thomson launched his Shot Heard Round the World: a ninth-inning homer that foiled the Brooklyn Dodgers and clinched the pennant for the New York Giants. Last year Leland’s put a $1 million bounty on the ball. The auction house verified that one of the dozens of submissions was used in the game but couldn’t call it the Shot. It still went for $47,824.

    Estimated value $1 million.


    In the top of the fifth at the Polo Grounds on Aug. 16, 1920, New York Yankees righthander Carl Mays plunked Indians shortstop Ray Chapman (left) on his left temple with a curve ball. Chapman, 29, died the next day — the first and only death from an on-field incident in major league history. Joel Platt, the executive director of the Sports Immortals Museum in Boca Raton, Fla., claims to have the fatal ball, though, as Leland’s CEO Josh Evans says, “the piece has not been acknowledged as being real.” According to Platt, Cleveland centerfielder Chuck Jamieson picked up the ball on his way to check on Chapman. In 1969, Jamieson gave it to sportswriter Bob Curley, who donated it to Platt in ’83.

    Estimated value $100,000 to $200,000.

    Bygone Bling

    Note to athletes and coaches who believe that it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that ring: Cherish your championship, because the jewelry that goes with it can suddenly disappear.


    For 13 seasons undersized running back Rocky Bleier charmed Steelers fans with his perseverance and clutch play. He still has the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star he earned during his yearlong tour with the Army in Vietnam. But while he was giving a motivational speech in Charlotte last year, someone snuck into an unlocked dressing room and pilfered three of the four Super Bowl rings he won with Pittsburgh between 1975 and ’80.

    Estimated value $20,000 to $25,000 each.


    Last November two teenagers stole four championship rings from the unlocked car of UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma. The teens allegedly sold the rings (1995, 2000, ’02 and ’03) for $160 apiece to Javier Lugo of Hartford, who would not speak to the jewelry’s whereabouts in court last February. “It’s not something that I’m in a hurry to figure out,” says Auriemma, who still has his ’04 bauble. “I don’t put as much emphasis on those things as others do.”

    Estimated value $800 each.


    With his massive Afro and 7’2″ frame, Artis Gilmore was one of the ABA’s leading men, a dominant post presence who held the league’s alltime record for blocked shots. He was also the centerpiece of the Kentucky Colonels’ 1975 title team — a triumph somewhat muted by the theft of his championship ring. He had it swiped from a hotel room while playing for the Bulls in the late ’70s. “It brought up sensational memories,” says Gilmore. “It was irreplaceable.”

    Estimated value $15,000.


    Although 77 million viewers tuned in at the time, it’s believed that only a two-minute clip remains from the broadcast of Super Bowl I at L.A.’s Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 15, 1967. Both CBS and NBC aired the Green Bay Packers’ 35-10 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs on kinescope, but the four reels of 16-mm film were recorded over shortly afterward. There remains a slight possibility that one of the networks’ affiliates taped the game — and saved the recording.

    Estimated value more than $1 million.

    Rare Jordan

    When you reign for a decade as the world’s greatest basketball player — not to mention retire three times and unretire twice — you tend to generate a ton of memorabilia. Here are some of the more elusive pieces in what figures to be the increasingly valuable Michael Jordan collection.


    In 1998 a Chicago Chevrolet dealership offered a promotion: Buy a Blazer for $26,000 and receive a limited edition Michael Jordan trading card. On the front of the card was a portrait of His Airness; on the back, a coupon for dinner in an exclusive, glassed-in room at Jordan’s steakhouse. No one knows how many cards were given out; Oscar Gracia, author of Collecting Michael Jordan Memorabilia, has seen only two of them in seven years. He has one of those. “People turned in their cards, and the restaurant hosts trashed them,” he says. “That’s why they’re so hard to find.”

    Estimated value $2,000.


    Items bearing Jordan’s image were produced all over the world. By far the hardest to find is a sticker made in 1989 by CAO, a Yugoslavian publication. “They disappeared because of the war,” says Gracia, who knows of only a half dozen. “I have friends who have traveled to Yugoslavia three times trying to find them.”

    Estimated value $3,000.


    In 1994, after Michael Jordan first retired from the Bulls to join the Birmingham Barons, a White Sox Double A farm team, Fleer made his baseball card. But the company wasn’t happy with his photo, so it destroyed the 90,000 cards it had printed — except for the dozen or so kept by Fleer employees. Only three have surfaced in the past decade. Says Gracia, “They are so limited that most collectors don’t even know they exist.”

    Estimated value $1,200.

    Issue date: July 11, 2005

    And, BASEBALLCOLLETOR15, MLB thinks that M-O-R-O-N is a curse.

  33. Zack

    Oh. What does the “Heisman” mean? I know about the football award…is it used for someone who runs right past you while you’re trying to get an autograph?


    I’m gonna pass on reading it, only because of how busy I am. (See my new entry.)

  34. munkittr@ufl.edu


    Send me an email and i’ll be happy to give you all the info you could ever desire on Al Lang Field (us locals don’t call it Progress Energy). I’d also be more than happy to meet up with you and show you the ropes, if I’m free on your day of attendance.


  35. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    munkiekitty-you can microwave wet balls or leave in sun for 3 days————Zack too bad about hotties mom,sorry..thats sad….

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