For the last five years, I’ve been raising money for a children’s baseball charity called Pitch In For Baseball, and for the last two seasons, I’ve given away a bunch of prizes to the people who’ve donated. I’ve decided to do it again in 2014, so let me start with a quick list of the stuff you can win. Then I’ll show you photos of everything and explain how this is going to work:
1) game-worn uniform pants autographed by Dwight Gooden
2) a 2001 World Series ball
3) a 2007 Home Run Derby “gold ball”
4) an inscribed copy of The Baseball
5) a signed copy of Miracle Mud
6) signed copies of The San Francisco Splash and The Wrigley Riddle
7) baseball cards from the 1987 and 1988 Topps Traded sets
8) ticket stubs from the Opening Series in Sydney, Australia
9) souvenir cups from the Opening Series
Here’s a photo of Gooden’s uniform pants (which he signed with his nickname “Doc”):
Why am I just giving this away? Because (a) I want to make it irresistible for you to donate money to this worthy cause and (b) the pants are damaged . . . slightly. Do you remember when the top three floors of the Argosy Book Store got soaked during Hurricane Sandy? (Here and here are two blog entries about it.) That’s how the damage occurred, and as a result there’s now a faint orange stain on the crotch:
It looks nasty, but I promise it was only water that caused it. Maybe that makes the pants extra valuable in a weird way — you know, getting damaged in a famous storm. Maybe if you win this prize, you can carefully remove the stain. Who knows? Your call. But anyway, the Argosy received insurance money for everything that got damaged or destroyed, so that’s why I’m able to give this away.
Here’s one more photo of the pants:
Obviously that’s a VERY special item, so good luck.
Here’s the 2001 World Series ball, which, as you’re about to see, is an alternate collector’s version:
Because of 9/11, Major League Baseball replaced the World Series logo with the American flag — not on balls that were actually used at stadiums, but just as a separate tribute.
Here’s the 2007 Home Run Derby gold ball:
No, I didn’t snag this ball at the Derby — although I *was* there. It was given to me (along with the 2001 World Series ball) when I got a private tour of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 2009.
Speaking of balls, here’s the copy the The Baseball:
If you win this prize, tell me how you want it signed, and I’ll personalize it to you.
Here’s the cover of Miracle Mud . . .
. . . and here’s the autograph on the title page:
It was signed “2013” because that’s when the author, David A. Kelly, gave me a bunch of books to be used as charity prizes. Here are two more of his books . . .
. . . and this is how he signed them:
Here are the baseball cards:
As you can see, there are two sizable stacks from the 1987 and 1998 Topps Traded sets. They’re arranged alphabetically in the photo above, so don’t be discouraged by the Juans on top. There are more recognizable names buried within:
Here are the ticket stubs from the Opening Series in Australia:
In case you’ve forgotten, these counted as regular-season games — the first ones ever for Major League Baseball in the southern hemisphere — and I was there. These two tickets (one from each game) will be given together as one prize.
Here’s what the souvenir cups look like:
The image above shows one cup from three different angles; I will be giving away two cups together as one prize.
There’s a good chance I’ll add a few more prizes over the course of the season, so keep an eye on this entry for updates.
People who donate money to Pitch In For Baseball through my fundraiser will be eligible to win these prizes. (I don’t get any money from this because my fundraising page is simply a place for people to make pledges. After the final game of the World Series, I will email everyone with info about how to actually donate the money directly to the charity.) Remember how this worked last year? It’s all based on how many baseballs I snag over the course of the MLB season. For every penny per ball that you donate, your name will be entered into the drawing; in other words, someone who donates 25 cents per ball will have five times the odds of winning over someone who donates a nickel per ball. The person whose name is picked first will get to pick which prize they want; the person whose name is picked second will get the next choice, and so on. If I had to guess, I’d predict snagging about 500 balls this season, so if you pledge one penny per ball, that will end up being about a $5 donation. You can make a pledge anytime — here’s more info about my fundraiser — but in order to be eligible to win a prize, you’ll need to send in the money by December 1, 2014.
On a final note for those who don’t know, Pitch In For Baseball is a non-profit charity that provides baseball and softball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. Here’s a blog entry that I wrote last year about the charity helping Hurricane Sandy victims. Here’s a TV segment about the charity on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. There’ve also been a bunch of articles about Pitch In For Baseball on MLB.com, which you can read here and here and here and here.