HOME RUN BALL REALITY
The world of game used home run baseballs found a no-sale and a no-auction event in the past week-plus.
First off, Jose Molina’s September 21st home run against Baltimore (the last home run in Yankee Stadium history), not only did not meet the $400,000 pre-auction estimate, it was pulled after failing to draw even the $100,000 reserve.
Second, the Manny Aybar home run that helped Tampa Bay to it’s first A.L. pennant in it’s Game 7 defeat of Boston won’t be seeing the auction block, at all. The ball, which also set an ALCS record by being the playoff series’ 26th homer, was sought by Aybar, who offered a jersey and bat in trade.
The man who caught it, Cortney Taylor, turned down Aybar’s trade offer, but NOT to strike it rich with an auction house. He agreed to donate it to the Baseball Hall of Fame, which was all too happy to receive it, as their holdings of Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays memorabilia is mostly artifacts pertaining to Wade Boggs’ 3000th hit.
A related postscript, the news website that posted the story got an irate post from a woman identified only as “Amy”, who is chagrined because her brother, Rich, caught the first-ever Rays ALCS home run (hit by Evan Longoria) and has gotten no offers nor recognition for his catch.
For the record, both the first-ever Devil Rays home run and D-Rays yielded home run (both spring training)sit in Chicago area collections. The first one hit by Tampa Bay’s Bubba Trammell is owned by a retired Waveland Avenue Ballhawk who tried, without success, to sell it for $1,000 three years ago. The first one ever given up by the D-Rays, hit by college second baseman Brooks Badeaux (later drafted by Tampa Bay) sits in the Oak Park-based collection of a Rays collector, who acquired it from yours truly, who retrieved it when it was hit back in the first-ever Rays spring game in 1998.
BAMBINO & BASKETBALL
Hunt’s Auctions will have it’s second annual Louisville Slugger auction on November 15th. The prime piece of the auction: a 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers road flannel shirt and pants worn by Babe Ruth during his one-year stint as first base coach with Dem Bums. The uniform is made by Spalding, with Ruth’s name stitched in both pieces, and the 1939 World’s Fair patch (worn in ’38 by the Yanks, Dodgers and Giants, as 1939 was the sport-wide donning of the Baseball Centennial patch) is present on the left sleeve.
On a more recent, and less expensive front, www.nba.com has a link to their shopping section involving a couple dozen NBA Hardwood Classics jerseys (the NBA equivalent of Turn Back the Clock and Throwback uniforms of the MLB and NFL). The available unies are all registered in the MeiGray database.
What, exactly, IS Intera? It was supposed to be a revolutionary new fabric blend that Russell Athletic was going to use when they took over the MLB uniform contract in 1992. The extinct newsletter Diamond Duds carried a reference to it as “a doubleknit that breathes”, supposedly less stifling to wear than traditional polyester knit jerseys that were used for the previous 20-plus seasons. In essence, it was the same approach Majestic sought with the introduction in 2006 of their Cool Base game uniforms, and before that, in 2003 with similarly constructed BP jerseys.
As it happens, Majestic succeeded, and Russell did not. Intera jerseys in MLB appeared sporadically in 1992-93, and pretty much disappeared after that.
The Intera-made gamers had their own fabric content flag tag, larger and more text filled than the traditional 100% Polyester (and Nylon) nub-sized flag tags. Their presence was in gamers only, and were, depending on team, either flagged underneath the Russell manufacturer tag in the tail, or flagged in the collar of the jersey. In a matter of a couple of seasons, Intera was out!
Harry Mangurian Jr., the owner of the Boston Celtics from 1979-83, died after a battle with leukemia. He was 82. Mangurian was the owner of the 1981 NBA Champion Celtics team.
Former NBA star Nick Weatherspoon died on October 18th at age 58. He played in the Association from 1973-80, splitting his career between the Bullets (3+ season), the Supersonics (less than a full season), the Bulls (1 year) and the Clippers (2 years)
Football HoFer Gene Hickerson, considered by legendary RB and former teammate Jim Brown to be the greatest downfield blocker ever, succumbed to a long illness on October 20th. Age 73 at the time of his passing, the career Cleveland Brown played from 1958-73, and ended his career playing in 165 consecutive games.
Finally, Lou Stringer, an infielder in the 1940s who primarily played second base, died October 19th at age 91. Stringer was a regular with the Cubs in 1941-42, and played part of the 1943 season with the Wrigleys before going off to war. He returned in 1946, and was a back-up for the ’46 Cubs as well as the Red Sox from 1948-50.
KYLE ORTON, YOUR TABLE IS READY!