Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., Gold Sport Collectibles and Major League Baseball Properties have unveiled the new, special edition “gold ball” for the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby in Phoenix, Monday, July 11. The authentic baseball, featuring one leather panel infused with actual 24-karat gold leather crafted by Rawlings and Gold Sport Collectibles, will be thrown to each Derby participant once he reaches the final out of each at bat.
Rawlings previously introduced the 24-karat gold leather baseballs produced in partnership with New York City-based Gold Sport Collectibles. This is the first time a league-standard baseball made with 24-karat leather will be featured as the official gold ball for the State Farm Home Run Derby. For each “gold ball” home run hit during the State Farm Home Run Derby, Major League Baseball and State Farm will combine to donate $18,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
“This continues Rawlings’ push to set the ‘gold’ standard across all product lines,” said Mike Thompson, Senior Vice President of Marketing for St. Louis-based Rawlings, a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation. “With our friends at Gold Sport Collectibles, we believe this is a piece of baseball memorabilia collectors worldwide will want for their own displays, and fans sitting in the outfield seats will scramble to catch during the upcoming State Farm Home Run Derby.”
The proprietary and 100% environmentally-friendly technology fills the leather with 24-karat gold yet leaves the leather feeling soft and untreated. Derby participants will not feel any difference hitting the gold-infused baseballs compared to the baseballs used during the season.
“We are always looking to raise the bar and find new ways for our fans to get excited about baseball,” said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President of Licensing, Major League Baseball. “When Rawlings brought this technology to us and we determined the integrity of the ball was maintained, it was immediately a no-brainer for us.”
“By applying this gold infusion technology to a league standard ball, we are able to bring a unique element to the State Farm Home Run Derby that has never been possible before,” said Stefano Ongaro, senior vice president of marketing and product development for Gold Sport Collectibles. “Having a real 24-karat gold leather ball used as the official gold ball will be a truly exciting experience for fans and players alike.”