Rich Klein: Of Kobe, Mickey and More

by Rich Klein

It’s been an interesting spring.  First of all there is the ongoing Kobe Bryant memorabilia saga. As you read on Sports Collectors Daily Friday, a judge issued a temporary restraining order on Goldin Auctions’ proposed sale of items consigned by Kobe’s mom.

Richs Ramblings I don’t even know where to start on a story like that where the family is battling over whether Kobe should lay out a few hundred thousand dollars for another residence for his parents. I don’t know about you, but if someone was to give me a house worth that much money, I would sure respect their wishes. And as for Ken Goldin, he has had a long relationship with the family going back to the Scoreboard days so why not tap into that relationship to attempt to get items for an auction?   You wonder why this wasn’t ironed out ahead of time and I don’t think this saga is going to have any winners.

The more I read about the twists and turns in this case the crazier the whole situation gets. The question, at least to me, seems to come down over who owns the material involved and does that person have the right to sell those items. I’m no lawyer so I won’t  venture a guess as to who’s right here.  The final determination of this case will be fascinating, though, and will also help to provide guidelines in future situations. Personally, this is one auction—if it goes forward—that might benefit from the huge publicity the case has gotten.

And how about the corked Mickey Mantle bat?  Nothing like seeing the continuing humanization of one of your childhood idols. A future Rich’s Ramblings will discuss a couple of incidents involving Mantle but if he really did homers with a corked bat, how can we now say he is better than any of the steroid figures on the past 20 years or so?  The only aspect I do not like about this is Mickey is not here to defend himself or answer questions about that bat. Was it used in BP or did it find its way into some games that counted?  We won’t know unless it can be absolutely photo matched.

X-Ray Mickey Mantle bat cork

By the way, Mickey is also involved in the most famous typo in Beckett history, and that will also be included in an upcoming edition of Ramblings.


The 2013 baseball season is now six weeks old and as always there are guys making early headlines. A few I’m following with much interest are Carlos Gomez, Shelby Miller, Andretlon Simmons, Jean Segura and Anibal Sanchez.  This is the time of year when we start to see which players simply got off to a great start and who’s really breaking onto the main stage for the long haul.  It’ll be a fun summer.


My good friend Jeff Johnson, operator of Player Direct has signed top prospect Mike Zunino to an autograph contract. We talk via AOL messenger almost every evening and he has made great strides since this venture began less than a year ago. His next goal is to select a non-profit or two for donations.


I received an email last week from Frank Barning, the former publisher of Baseball Hobby News who is now an active blogger. Frank reports that Ed Broder (yes for collectors in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s, that Ed Broder)  is living in Las Vegas and still playing with creating old ‘broder type elements’.  Long-time collectors will recall the unlicensed Broder baseball sets created by Ed and his son Rob in the 1970’s and 80’s.


Thanks to the graciousness of fellow Columbia grad Paul Rogers, our synagogue (Adat Chaverim in Plano, TX) will have former American League President Dr. Bobby Brown as our featured speaker on May 23 at 7 p.m.  Dr. Brown is a great raconteur and the cost for the dinner is only $15. All residents of the DFW area are invited. And anything we receive above the food costs, will be used to help young people who need assistance in the area.


And finally,  if you are fortunate enough to still have your mom, be thankful.  Mine passed Mother’s Day week in 1994 and I do miss her.   Happy Mother’s Day.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]