Not being a fan of Major League Baseball, nor collecting sports memorabilia in general - as I’ve spent copious amounts of Dinero upon Motorsports items such as Diecasts, lithographs and serigraphs instead, I simply had no concept of why one particular baseball card would fetch millions…
And I have to say that the more I hear the term T206 I think of thee Terminator, as in T2 I believe it was once called? Y’all know that indestructible robot character ‘Awnie (Arnold Schwarzenegger) played back in the early 1990’s when Judgment Day was released; but I digress…
Thus, having just heard of another record sale being made at auction for this mysterious T206 card, which fetched an incredible $2,105,770.50 for Golden Auctions on April 6th; Aye Karumba! I was left pondering just who in the Hell is Honus Wagner and why is his baseball card worth so much?
A quick perusal of the Internets led me to the all knowing Wikipedia, which I prefer to call ‘WICKEDpedia due to its being correct approximately 69.86% of the time? Yet nevertheless, its T206 Honus Wagner page was quite interesting, along with being entertaining too, as I was totally unaware that the lucrative, prized and most expensive example of this baseball card is known as the Gretsky T206 Honus Wagner, which is the Holy Grail of all known existing Wagner cards having last fetched a staggering $2.8-million paid by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick.
Apparently the card is worth its insane value due to its miniscule publication, as its age of original circulation plus overt rarity makes its availability a veritable needle in a haystack! As the card was produced by the ATC (American Tobacco Company) between the years 1909-11, with only a mere 50-200 thought to be produced.
As the ATC created the T206 series in order to interest purchase of its cigarettes - deciding to issue cards representing 524 Major League Baseball players of the time period, for which apparently Honus Wagner was considered to be the greatest player of all then - a distinction sometimes disputed with ty Cobb, whom himself admitted to Wagner being the greatest ever, while historians decry Honus as the greatest Short Stop to ever play the position.
But I still don’t know who Honus was? As a quick search reveals that he played for twenty years in the majors, almost exclusively for the Pittsburg Pirates, beginning his big league career in 1897 and hitting a ‘Mega .344 batting average as a rookie. As Wagner would end up with a lifetime hitting average of .327 while hitting over .300 in seventeen of his twenty seasons! He also won eight batting crowns along with a World Series ring and upon retiring became the Pirates manager.
He was also called the Flying Dutchman which makes me laugh since that is the moniker firmly affixed to two time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, albeit Luyendyk is actually of Dutch descent whilst Wagner’s nickname was affixed due to his prestigious speed and Germanic descent, as in Herr Deutch…
Reportedly the Wagner baseball card’s rarity is due to the fact that Wagner refused to give the ATC permission to utilize his image due to not wishing to have youngsters purchasing tobacco in order to obtain his card, which hence, the ATC quickly pulled from its T206 series.
As for the illustrious Gretsky T206 Honus Wagner card, which was first sold to memorabilia dealer Bill Mastro, originally for a paltry $25,000 during the mid-1980’s, which changed hands a second time before being sold again, I’d presume part of its intrinsic value is due to the Provenance of one of its past owners, as yeah, its that Gretsky, as in thee Great One, i.e.; the National Hockey League’s No. 99 Wayne Gretsky who purchased the card in an auction in 1991 where the card’s pre-sale estimate value was pegged at a measly $114,000 for which Gretsky shilled out $451,000 - four times the estimate, before he turned around and resold the card four years later to Walmart for use as a grand prize giveaway, for which Gretsky was paid a cool half million, with the Sweepstakes winner name being drawn upon the Larry King show…
The winner, a Post Office employee couldn’t afford the taxes upon her winnings and thus elected to have it put up for auction again, this time being sold at Christies for $640k to Michael Gidwitz, who’d lost out on the card four years earlier against Gretsky - and thus the precedence was set for this card’s value to continue skyrocketing, while another Sports Memorabilia expert named Alan Ray claimed previously that he had pictures revealing that the card had been doctored by its original buyer, a one William (Bill) Mastro, which was refuted and primarily downplayed.
Thus, I’m sure partly due to the recent sale of another T206 Wagner card, possibly the “Jumbo” Wagner? I’m sure that public scrutiny of all things Wagner is tantamount? As ironically just four days prior to the latest sale, a judge rejected Mastro’s second Plea-arrangement deal for mail fraud, in which he’s not only admitted to hiring “shill Bidders” to pump up bids for his former Auction company, but did indeed tamper with the Gretsky Wagner card by trimming its edges in order to increase its value. Which I’d presume is one of the few times altering an original is actually worth doing, since typically alterations are known to ruined an item’s intrinsic value…
And Y’all may have heard recently of the Honus Wagner card that was bequeathed to the Roman Catholic Nuns of Baltimore’s Sister’s School of Notre Dam, which also had an interesting outcome during its 2010 auction. Its original winning bidder failed to cough up the quarter-million plus he’d agreed to pay for it, before the Auction company offered it to a longstanding reputable client for the same price, which after they’d taken their obscene 19% Commission Fee, wired the Nuns a cheque for $220-large!
While another interesting example of a Wagner card is known as the All Star Café card and was apparently once owned by Charlie Sheen who loaned it to a café from which said card was stolen…
As all of this collecting hysteria makes me wonder if Baseball Cards are the only type of cards worth any value. As I have NO idea if the NFL, NBA or NHL offer such cards? Which makes me wonder if I’ve got anything of value myself?
While I’ve also read recently about a current Major League Baseball player named Pat Neshek of the Oakland Athletics whose trying to collect a complete set of a single year, as Neshek is trying to finish off his collecting of the year 1985 - having approximately 75% of the staggering 792 cards signed! Which makes me wonder just how valuable an entire 524 T206 card series would be worth? Especially since 76 of its selectees became Hall of Famers…
An Autograph Collector With Special Access
Tags: Misc · MLB Baseball
Wednesday, April 3rd was the day of reckoning for Sacramento Mayor and ex-Phoenix Suns All Star ‘KJ, nee Kevin Johnson to present his latest rescue plan to the National Basketball Association to keep the city’s only major professional sporting franchise from leaving his city.
Having grown a bit weary of the will they, won’t they made for TV drama that’s been occurring in Sacramento for the past three years now. In a nutshell, without going into the whole enchilada of details, the Sacramento Kings have been teetering upon relocation for the last three years, after the current majority owners, the Maloof’s reneged upon a handshake promise to keep the team there and occupy a new, purpose built basketball arena, after Joe and Gavin Maloof had tearfully told a sell-out crowd at center court with Kevin Johnson alongside that they loved the city and were staying put for the foreseeable future - the next thirty years when announcing their new Arena financing scheme whilst beating the Utah Jazz on Feb 28, 2012.
Yet, this like previous deals were scuttled ultimately by the Maloof brothers, sending Mayor Johnson scrambling to secure the Kings staying put by making last minute “Three-pointers” from Downtown, when presenting NBA Commissioner David Stern rescue plans, as Johnson and his latest entourage will present his second rescue package in the past three years in New York city after the combined professional basketball’s relocation and Finance 12-member committee hear Seattle’s Chris Hansen group pitch first.
The Maloof’s, who tried moving the NBA Franchise unsuccessfully to Anaheim once, made a pending sales agreement with Chris Hansen, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom’s to purchase their 65% majority stake back in January for $341-million, upon which the team would be relocated to Seattle and a new purpose built 18,500 seat Arena would be built in Downtown Seattle, nearby the current homes of the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders FC and Mariners, with the brand new facility costing $490-million, which $200m would be financed by the city.
Meanwhile, in his last ditch heroics to save the Kings, Johnson has rustled up a new ownership group along with orchestrating a new $448m Arena project which would utilize $258m public funds while renovating a fast decaying portion of the cities downtown corridor.
The part I’m not crazy about is how the NBA has issued a gag order against the Maloof’s and Chris Hansen’s ownership group while letting ‘KJ have the public spotlight all to himself. Yet, I feel that perhaps it’s all just more theater? As it seems the important caveat finally disclosed is: the league is purely meeting to discuss whether or not to approve the pending sale, which it’s only blocked once in recent history, back in 1994 involving the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But with today’s meeting solely focusing upon whether or not to approve the pending sale and subsequent relocation, which the sale only needs 75% approval and the relocation 50%, coupled with the fact that George Maloof says he wishes to complete the pending sale.
Along with the fact that Seattle’s new ownership group’s deal is already in writing, plus having the twelfth largest television market vs. Sacramento’s twentieth; eight Fortune 500 companies vs. 0 and Chris Hansen just divulging that 44,000 people have placed their names upon the priority ticket waiting seating list, not to mention 268 potential suite owners and 983-interested business sponsors, I’d have to say that the ball certainly seems to be bouncing in Seattle’s favour.
Yet after a five year void of no professional basketball team here, and once again having had to cancel our yearly waterfront Fourth ‘O July Fireworks extravaganza; not to mention that the World Cup Soccer qualifying match this summer is being capped to only 42,000 tickets due to a Mariners game taking place at the same time, does Seattle really need another professional sports team? As I cannot say I’ve overly missed them, yet we’ll all find out when the entire NBA Board of Governors meet for their annual meeting upon April 18-19…
Tags: NBA Basketball
In 2012, the total payout from the US Open sat at $25.5 million. This number is set to increase to $33.6 million in 2013, and will continue to climb all the way up to $50 million by 2017.
Over the past year tennis players have pressured officials to increase the money they put in the prize pot. The tournament brings in around $250 million a year, and only around 10% of that was paid to players in 2012. Now the number will gradually increase all the way through to 2017, which should reassure players and bring an end to tensions.
US Open tennis tickets website StubHub says the news will lead tennis players to turn their attention to Wimbledon. The All England Club will reveal their 2013 prize package towards the end of April, and they are likely to see intense lobbying in the run-up to the announcement.
Players were lobbying not just for increased pay, but also for a change to the hectic schedule where the semifinal and final would be played on consecutive days. The US Open has acknowledged that this is no longer appropriate for the modern game and they have agreed to change the way it works. Now, the tournament will run for 15 days instead of 14. The men’s final will run on Monday, and the women’s on Sunday.
The players are unhappy with the idea of a Monday final, but this will change after 2015. From that point the men’s semi will be on Friday and the final on Sunday; the women’s semi will be on Thursday and the final on Saturday. This will allow the men to have a Sunday final, and it will give players a full day of rest between matches, which has been an objective of the players for some time.
The players have consistently said they would like to see tennis have more professionals who can afford to live off the sport. This would suggest that they would like to see more prize money reach players at the bottom, but it’s still unclear how the money will be distributed, although the final total has been agreed.
It is unclear whether or not men and women will be paid equally in the coming year. This has become a hotly debated topic in the sport, and unless women see equal pay, we can expect to see aggressive lobbying on the issue.
Having just returned from a glorious two-plus week sojourn to Kona, Hawaii, obviously my mind is far away from the pitch of the stick ‘N ball world, as I’d rather still be on the B-I-G Island instead of the tepid, wet and windy climes of the Pacific Northwest right now…
And I know Y’all will shed copious amounts of Crocodile tears for your humble Sportyblog scribe, right? As its pretty funny to Mwah, how upon the first day of Spring, significantly Spring Equinox that we’re currently under a Gale Force Wind Advisory, not to mention a deluge of precipitation and near freezing temperatures here in Seattle - with the evil SNOW word being bantied about, whilst Mr. Sporty basks in the mid-90’s mercury currently, but enough of the weather channel blather, right? Hey, you try returning to the keyboard after a three week layoff and see what you can conjure up to ‘poond away about, not to mention trying to regain some semblance of your pathetic typing speed; but I digress…
Meanwhile a fellow motor racing blogger, who contrary to popular belief doesn’t scribble ‘bout ‘RASSCAR; gee Wally isn’t that the only form of noteworthy motor racing in the good ‘Ol USA? Whom happens to reside in Nashville, likes to commonly refer to his local “Fishwrap” (newspaper) the Tennessean as the “Thin-asee-an” apparently due to its ever diminishing lack of content.
Thus I could only chuckle to myself - noting how the island’s local newspaper, the West Hawaii Today doesn’t hold a candle to the Tennessean in regards to its rather non voluptuous page count, as I think I was told it held a whopping twelve pages total one day! Hence the news was pretty short ‘N sweet, as my hosts took it upon themselves to read me various tidbits of the woefully anemic sports section.
Thus I really don’t recall much being read to me out of this section other than droning on about America’s sport; NO! Not Football, but that other 869lb Gorilla in the room affectionately known as ‘RASSCAR! As I was pleased to hear that Matt Kenseth won his first race for his new employer JGR, nee Joe Gibbs Racing in only his third-outing in Sin City, aka Las Vegas which I typically refer to as los wages… As surely the corporate honchos at Home Depot are happy with the remarkable improvement, having not been in NASCAR’s “Whiner,” Err winner’s circle since Tony Stewart drove their entry a few years ago.
I also got to hear about Denny Hamlin’s $25,000 fine for being detrimental to the sport by criticizing ‘RASSCAR’s new “GEN-6” racecar iteration by claiming it don’t drive no better than the GEN-5 did… Sheez, I mean its ok for the “Boys to Have at It” with fisticuffs and fighting in Pit lane, or intentionally ramming competitors on track - but don’t Y’all dare say anything even slightly negative about our racing series, Yuh Hear!
Meanwhile I did hear one bit of euphoric news in regard to the all consuming March Madness, as that tiny little school from the east side of the mountains in Spokane, Washington known as the Gonzaga Bulldogs were named the NCAA’s No. 1 team after Indiana was knocked off of this perch for a second time by Michigan - as Gonzaga easily hung onto the ranking thru the end of the regular season and is now apparently one of the top four seeds in the March Madness brackets, which I typically refrain from following at all.
Hell, I must admit that I haven’t even remotely followed college basketball since the days of Das Foreigners, when two Germans led the UW Huskies to multiple Pac 10 championships, whose names were Christian Welp and Detlef Schremp - the latter having a much more successful NBA career, playing for the likes of the Indiana Pacers and our beloved Seattle Supersonics!
Speaking of which, obviously I haven’t heard a word about the pending relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, which I’m hard pressed to understand how it won’t happen since as far as I know there’s already a signed contract for the pending sale, and surely if Clay “BA” Bennett blocks the move as head of the relocation committee, surely there will be acrimonious accusations over his clear conflict of interest, right? As perhaps David Stern is simply letting ‘KJ (Kevin Johnson) and Sacramento have their day in the sun in order to pretend that the league is unbiased… Even though Seattle is a larger television market, which I presume would mean more money in the owner’s respective pockets!
Lastly, one night while watching the nine O’clock local news, there was a short sports segment about the insane accomplishment of a local big wave surfer named Garrett McNamara who was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, since a longtime resident of Hawaii, who currently resides in Haleiwa, Hawaii who’d apparently topped his previous record 78-foot B-I-G wave ride recently in Portugal!
According to McNamara’s Wikipedia page, the aspiring surfer began his career at the tender age of 11-years old following in the footsteps of his big brother Liam before joining the professional circuit at seventeen alongside his brother and plied his trade there for the next ten years before jumping on the contentious tow-surfing bandwagon en route to winning the sports largest ever purse of $70,000 in Maui at Jaws in 2002.
Subsequently Garrett went onto become the first to surf tidal waves in Alaska, make movies and as noted, set the Guinness world record for biggest waves ridden when being towed by Jetski into the froth of monster waves and then conquering a gigantic 78-foot monster…
McNamara has now apparently broken his own world record by fearlessly surfing upon a 100-foot wave once again off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal, which the local Kona news station showed video footage of this perilous feat as McNamara serenely rides down a ten-story tall wave with others of equal height following directly behind him!
As why does McNamara’s first name Garrett make me think of another long lost Hawaii legend, who I believe was fictionally called McGarret “5-Oh,” right? As in the original Hawaii Five-O’s lead character played by Jack Lord - as I have NO interest in watching the current remake…
Tags: Racing · Misc · College Basketball
Filling out brackets, joining the office pool and playing a few contests is what March Madness is all about. However, bringing your bracket to life is much easier than you might expect. The tournament comes around once every year and sometimes we get the opportunity to see our favorite school make it deep or even win. If your school makes it into the big dance, this year, you can bring your bracket alive by attending the games.
There’s nothing like following a team through the entire tournament, especially a smaller school expected to make a quick exit. The feeling you get when watching an upset or buzzer beater on TV doesn’t even compare to the excitement of actually showing up at the game. This is an emotional time of the year for students, alumni, players, coaches and fans. The best way to be a part of it all, show up at the games.
A Few Exciting Things About Your Bracket
No matter how many games you pick right, it won’t matter, if you’re lucky enough to attend just one close game coming down to the last shot. You will completely forget about your bracket during this type of game and you won’t be able to help yourself. This is what it’s all about and the excitement really does come alive when you attend the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
If you cannot attend, but you still want to create as much excitement as possible, you need to play a few contests. The Car Madness Contest, an office pool, brackets between friends and family or any other contest you can enter will make it so much more exciting. This is especially true if your favorite team doesn’t make the big dance, but equally true if they do.
There’s no doubt, you will lose a few games and upsets will surprise you, along with most of the experts. Every year fans get to witness some type of Cinderella story and many upsets. Watching the games live, at a bar or with a group of people can make it so much more fun. Early round games should always be watched somewhere with multiple TVs or you could miss some of the action.
Preparing for the Tournament
As March Madness creeps closer, you need to get ready for some of the things you can expect with your bracket, any viewing parties and just the madness in general. Preparing food, beverages, multiple TVs and inviting all your friends will make this a more enjoyable experience, if you plan to host. However, if you’re not going to host, you need to know where you will be watching the games.
Since the first couple rounds air all day, you may want to consider taking some vacation time from work and meeting up with your group of friends at a sports bar. This can provide an exciting atmosphere to watch the games and good friends to enjoy all the excitement with. You can even rotate which person will host each day or make it a potluck so you’re not responsible for all the food.
When it comes to your bracket, this time of year is the perfect time to start looking at all the teams you’re not familiar with. Watching the conference tournaments or at least reading the articles after can help you choose the right upsets and help you make the most of your brackets. We all know upsets will happen and sometimes you depend on luck, but preparation can help with your selections.
If you gain the opportunity to attend any of the tournament games, you should. It will make March Madness a very memorable experience. However, if this isn’t possible, there are many other ways to enjoy this time of year. It’s like Christmas and only comes once a year, so make the most of it and become a part of the excitement this year.
Tags: Misc · College Basketball