A blood-stained sock former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling wore during Game 2 of the 2004 World Series was put up for auction the other day. It sold for $92,613, purchased by somebody who wants to remain anonymous.
Spending that much money for a sock is madness, but at least the guy – I’m assuming it was a guy, because only a guy would be crazy enough to waste $92,613 on a sock – had the good sense to keep his name private.
What do you with one sock? Hang it from the fireplace mantle? Hide it in a vault? Decisions, decisions.
How do you tell your wife, knowing her reaction won’t be anything other than: “You spent how much on what?”
And yet the auction house expected the winning bid to be at least $100,000, so I suppose the anonymous person who spent $92,613 on Schilling’s sock figures he struck a bargain by saving $7,387.
“A one-of-a-kind item,” Chris Ivy, the director of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions, told a Boston reporter. “Sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle where a piece will take off like the Buckner ball.”
The Bill Buckner ball – the one that got away from the Red Sox first baseman in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series – sold at an auction last year for $418,250. A lawyer bought it and, yep, he also wished to remain anonymous.
The Buckner ball used to be owned by actor Charlie Sheen, who is constitutionally incapable of remaining anonymous. Sheen bought the relic for $93,000 in 1992, before reselling it to songwriter Seth Swirsky.
A ball is a ball is a ball, but wealthy sports memorabilia collectors are different from the rest of us. They write $93,613 checks for a sock they’ll never wear, and $418,250 checks for a baseball they’ll never throw, and then they go into hiding because they know, deep down, that what they bought is the very definition of useless.
Take the 14-karat gold World Series ring Alex Rodriguez won with the 2009 Yankees. Rodriguez says he made copies of it, and gave one to his cousin, Yuri Sucart, the same Yuri Sucart who reportedly injected A-Rod with steroids during the shortstop’s crazy, hazy days with the Texas Rangers.
Sucart sold the ring to a south Florida collector, who consigned it to an auction house. The ring is expected to fetch between $5,000 and $40,000.
Is there anybody goofy enough to spend thousands of dollars for a copy of a ring never worn by the most universally loathed baseball player on the planet? Of course there is. We’ll just never know his name.
On the other hand, if I were a rich man, I’d have been tempted to buy the hockey jersey Team USA captain Mike Eruzione wore during the 1980 Winter Olympics, when a team of American collegians upset the Soviet Union en route to achieving the “Miracle on Ice.”
Eruzione’s jersey from the semifinal victory over the Soviets sold over the weekend for $657,250. The stick he used to score the winning goal sold for $262,900.
The price for the stick is ridiculous, but the jersey can be displayed on a wall as a piece of art. A version of that jersey – the Sports Illustrated cover photo depicting the sheer pandemonium at Lake Placid 33 years ago – is on my home-office wall. I have few precious material possessions. The Sports Illustrated cover is one of them, as is a jersey of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton.
I bought it for $100 at a charity auction in 1978, wore it for a few hours one night, then had it put into a frame. Best thing I ever bought, and it cost $92,513 less than Curt Schilling’s sock.
Schilling, by the way, once had a sock that might’ve garnered even more at an auction house.
Working on a surgically repaired ankle – the sutures broke – the Boston pitcher’s valiant performance in Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees proved to be crucial in the Red Sox’s jinx-busting road to their first world championship since 1918.
But Schilling, not anticipating his unfortunate foray into a Rhode Island video-game business that would leave him bankrupt in 2013, did what anybody else would do with an old sock.
He tossed it into a trash email@example.com