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Man Fought for Football from Immaculate Reception; Still Owns It

There were no authenticators then.  No eBay. No big  auctions anywhere because “sports memorabilia” was just a fancy phrase no one really used.  It was just “the Immaculate Reception ball”.   At least that’s what most people called it when Jim Baker showed it to them after one of the most famous plays in NFL history.

Forty years after Franco Harris caught a deflected pass and ran in for a Steelers’ touchdown, propelling them to a victory over the Raiders and on to the Super Bowl, Baker still has the ball.

Or at least he says he does.

There’s no real way to prove it and there is no video that shows him coming out of the pile of fans that chased down the extra point.  His story, though, isn’t new and it hasn’t changed.

Baker wanted that football and he did something he wasn’t supposed to do to get it.  It seems almost quaint now and it would surely never happen with the ample security at today’s games.  He went onto the field.

If it were to ever come up for auction, assuming bidders were OK to suspend disbelief, the ball could sell for big money.  Baker is conflicted, though.  He knows the ball should go to Harris. Yet for Baker, there is meaning and sad nostalgia inside the ball too.

Grantland.com takes us back to day a guy who’d given up his season tickets and become a new father, acquired one of sports’ most famous modern artifacts.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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