I hope this doesn’t turn into a shitshow, but I can easily see this turning into a shitshow.
I’m not even really that much of a pessimistic guy, really. I’m just going off the history here. What history? Well, you’ve gotta figure that a baseball like this, the final out of the World Series in which the Chicago Cubs actually won for the fist time in 108 years, the value has to be unprecedented, or close to it. The Barry Bonds baseball for home run No. 756 went for $752,467.20 at an auction in 2008, a Babe Ruth 1933 All Star Game home run ball that he signed went for $805,000 in 2006, and then Todd McFarlane made the incredibly regrettable decision to pay $3 million for Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball from 1998 in 1999. That ball’s gotta be worth like 17 bucks now.
So, with another once in a lifetime baseball up for grabs, what might the Cubs final out baseball go for in an auction?
The ball’s value goes far beyond sentiment. It might fetch more than $3 million if sold, said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions in New Jersey. He set a price floor of about $1 million.
“It would be one of the most coveted baseballs of modern times,” he said.
The ball’s value would be driven by two things, Goldin said: The team’s 108-year championship drought and the number of wealthy Cubs fans who would be willing to fork over whatever it takes to own it.
More than three million bucks for a baseball. But that’s if it actually goes to auction. I have a feeling that it won’t. Those other baseballs were home run balls, as in they became somebody else’s property, not the player’s or the team’s. As far as we know, that ball is Rizzo’s property. To this point, Rizzo has made “only” $12 million as a player, but that’s going to change in the coming years. He’ll easily get a contract that approaches or exceeds $200 million at some point, so I’d imagine that the final out baseball is priceless, considering he won’t be hurting for money when he becomes a free agent in 2020, possibly even before that if the Cubs work out an extension.
The reason why I thought this has the potential to become a shitshow is because of the 2004 World Series ball example. That year, it was Doug Mientkiewicz who caught the final out, a defensive replacement first baseman who the Red Sox acquired at the deadline in 2004. Rizzo is a fixture over there in Wrigleyville. If he kept the ball, I don’t think anybody would be too upset about it. People freaked the fuck out in Boston when Mientkiewicz kept the final out baseball. People were even threatening the guy’s wife over the baseball. The Red Sox wanted it, and the fans wanted anybody but Mientkiewicz to have it, because most feared that he’d sell it. Years later, Mientkiewicz did an interview where he said he had no intentions of selling it, and he ultimately donated it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Not that anyone would buy the Cubs World Series ball with intentions of destroying it, but that’s happened before, too. Actually, I take that back. People will do just about anything for retweets these days. But the example that I’m thinking of is when a restaurant owner bought the Steve Bartman ball in 2004 for $113,824.16 and then blew it up to get rid of the Cubs’ curse.
If I’m Rizzo, I’m doing the right thing and lending it to the Cubs so that it can be on display at Wrigley Field for next season, and/or lending it to the Hall of Fame so that it can be part of the Cubs’ World Series exhibit, which they do for a full year for every reigning World Series championship team. Then, at some point in 2018 or so, I’m getting it back and keeping it forever. Either that, or I’m giving it to Theo Epstein, who deserves it more than anybody, in my opinion.
You can’t put a price on baseball history, so there’d be zero chance that it’d go to auction if it were my call. Regardless, it’s definitely something that should be shared with Cubs fans, so even if Rizzo decides to keep it, he’s gotta fork it over for Cubs fans to see for at least a year, and definitely not sold to some millionaire. I’m looking at you, Bill Murray.