May 28, 2003

Anyone who caught the end of Annika Sorenstam's second round at the Colonial saw Chris Felty, a seriously geeked 17-year-old, catch the ball she threw into the gallery. Considering the price of Annika Sorenstam Colonial memorabilia on eBay, Felty was either generous or stupid in giving it to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida.

posted by rcade to golf at 08:06 AM - 10 comments

Doesn't the whole sports memorabilia thing impress you as stupid? The value of this stuff is completely abstract, and I keep expecting it to collapse, a modern day tulip mania brought low. I mean, seriously, why on earth would anybody pay anything for Pete Rose's signature on a bat? They keep making bats, and Pete keeps signing them-- there is certainly no shortage. One thing the market for this stuff has done is taken away a once simple ritual that alowed fans to bond a little with sports stars. Now that this stuff has an economic value, athletes are reluctant to just give it away. Too bad, I think. The ball Annika threw, and that Felty caught, is a little bit of history. People will be able to look at it at the Hall, and it may mean something. Sitting in someone's rec room, what it mostly means is that someone paid way too much, and that the person who did is probably a chump. Good for Felty, for recognizing why the ballwas important, and what was appropriate to do with it.

posted by outside counsel at 09:51 AM on May 28, 2003

In this particular case, where important history was made, and whereas Annika is not the kind of person who would charge for her autograph (would she?) I agree that giving the ball to the H of F is cool. But years ago, there was serious discussion about McGwire's 62nd home run ball. In the days and weeks leading up to it, MLB made special balls so nobody could fradulently claim they had THE ball, etc. It was a big deal. Naturally everybody speculated on what it would be worth, what the person who caught it should do with it, what they would likely do with it, etc. The ballplayers themselves sincerely thought that whoever caught it should donate it to McGwire or Cooperstown. To which I would say, "fuck you ballplayers". You guys are the ass clowns that charge $5, $10, or $50 per autograph at your sessions. I wouldn't have donated that ball unless McGwire made a solemn vow to never charge a dime for his filthy stinking signature again. Otherwise, I'd have cashed it in for top dollar. We didn't make this society where memorabilia has some monetary value, but it's the society we live in. Should I ever come into possession of an item that will buy Christmas presents and pay mortgages for a good chunk of my future, well, who would like to start the bidding?

posted by vito90 at 10:09 AM on May 28, 2003

During the McGwire record chase, I couldn't believe anyone fell for the argument that it was somehow crass to keep his home run baseballs and sell them. Funny how it cheapens things to sell the baseballs, but it didn't cheapen them for McGwire to sign his name to endorsement deals that came as a result of his achievement. As nice as Felty's contribution was, I would've sold the thing in a heartbeat.

posted by rcade at 10:36 AM on May 28, 2003

I can see both sides of it. I think Felty was cool for donating it, but I would have also kept the ball. My view is it goes in the stands, I'm keeping it. A player throws it to me, I'm keeping it. I paid to get into the damn place. And as much as these morons have driven the autograph market themselves by asking $100 a pop, they have no right to bitch about people trying to make money off them. As for what to do with the ball? Being from St. Louis and having lived this discussion, I always said I would have taken McGuire's 62nd or 70th directly to Budweiser and asked them to write me a check, so THEY could donate the ball to the Hall of Fame and reap the publicity. That way everyone gets what they want. :)

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:58 AM on May 28, 2003

Good for Felty. He should get a lifetime pass to the Colonial and the IGHOF for this. Would I do the same? I want to say yes, but then again, I've never been in a similar situation. That said, I don't think I'd get much of a kick from seeing the actual ball used, but I know others would. I wouldn't really tell someone what to do in a similar case though. Fate throws something their way and they have the right to do with it what they will. But I reserve the right to applaud and respect this kid for his decision.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:20 AM on May 28, 2003

It's a market economy and as long as some dope with too much discretionary income (say, from writing comic books) is willing to pay, then athletes should feel comfortable charging. Of late, I haven't heard too many athlete's actually complaining about fans selling their stuff - but I'm sure there's more than one player out there who thinks only he should benefit from the nose-to-the-grindstone task of signing your name. The ones who really suffer are the kids who genuinely want an autograph for their own. I've always liked Cal Ripken's approach to this: sign a gazillion autographs thereby flooding the market completely and devaluing any one piece. And he's made a lot of kids happy over the years.

posted by kloeprich at 12:02 PM on May 28, 2003

I don't want to post this as a separate link, but it's worth noting: Golf broadcaster Jim Nantz helped Sorenstam select the Colonial, a fact he didn't note during the four-day sloppy wet kiss he delivered during the event. What a cheese.

posted by rcade at 01:07 PM on May 28, 2003

He was neither generous nor stupid -- not generous because giving a golf ball to a hall of fame is not an act worthy of the description generous. Was he stupid? No, but if he had sold the ball and the donated the cash to someone then he could have been generous and savvy.

posted by 8ighteenAcres at 03:22 AM on May 29, 2003

I highly resent the comment made about me by rcade. I agree that I did make a fool of my self, but to call me "seriously geeky" was way off. I am always a shy, mild mannered person, and I think that anyone who caught a piece of history would have to be excited. I did what I thought to be right. I wanted that ball to be shared with the rest of the World instead of just keeping it for personal gain. Also, I did get her glove that she wore all day and another ball that she had played with and they were both autographed by her. I appreciate the nice responces made by others. I hope someone reads this since it is a little late.

posted by cfelty at 03:00 PM on June 17, 2003

There's a bit of a misunderstanding here. I said that you were "seriously geeked" (as in "seriously excited"), not "seriously geeky" (as in me). Incidentally, I got a chance on Father's Day to see the golf ball you gave back to Sorenstam at the World Golf Hall of Fame here in St. Augustine. Thanks.

posted by rcade at 04:24 PM on June 24, 2003

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