If you like uniquely customized SUVs and baseball autographs, we might have the ultimate tax deduction for you.
Take the hood of a Chevy Tahoe; bring it to six Major League Baseball parks; have more than 220 players sign it, including today's stars, Baseball Hall of Famers and future stars; and what have you got? A conversation piece on wheels.
Baseball memorabilia collectors and auto enthusiasts will have the opportunity to bid on this one-of-a-kind vehicle on January, 16, 2009, at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to non-profit youth baseball programs across the United States.
In addition to "standard" luxury features like top-of-the-line stereo, DVD player with several screens and custom paint, the SUV features Rawlings baseball glove leather seats and steering wheel and baseball-bat ash wood dashboard, door panel and steering wheel accents.
Adding to the draw of this unique Tahoe is a second hood that is signed by Major League Baseball stars like Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Zambrano, Chipper Jones, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum. About 220 current players from eight teams - the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, the San Francisco Giants, the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres - have signed the hood. It also made a stop in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July, where Hall of Fame members Yogi Berra, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, Tom Seaver, Whitey Ford and others also signed. All signatures on the hood were authenticated by Steiner Sports.
Front and center on the hood is the first signature from Goose Gossage, the only player inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. He helped collect the signatures as part of AutoTrader.com's Drive to a New Start program.
Drive to a New Start was one of AutoTrader.com's 2008 marketing and community outreach programs. In each city Gossage visited with AutoTrader.com, he hosted a youth baseball clinic for inner city children, met fans and signed autographs at pre-game events and conducted on-field or in-box media interviews. At each city, Gossage helped collect players' and coaches' signatures on the hood, with each signature garnering an AutoTrader.com donation to youth baseball programs in those cities. The program raised a total of $100,000, and the proceeds from the auction of the signed hood and the tricked-out Chevy Tahoe itself in January will also be donated to youth baseball programs.
"It was a real thrill to be involved with this program during my Hall of Fame induction year," said Gossage. "Touring the country, collecting these signatures and helping kids learn about baseball was all very rewarding. I'm excited to see what this unique collectible fetches at auction in January. It's definitely going to make the lucky winner very happy."
"Steiner Sports is honored to be the official authenticator for such a creative campaign," said Jason Teitler, senior vice president, Steiner Sports & Entertainment Marketing. "The AutoTrader.com hood features a rare blend of autographs with signatures from current and future baseball legends that makes this piece a one-of-a-kind collectible and a unique investment."
The vehicle will sell to the highest bidder with the proceeds benefiting MLB Charities. To register to bid on this one-of-a-kind vehicle, please visit barrett-jackson.com or call 480-421-6694. Internet and absentee bidding is also available for fans who cannot attend the Barrett-Jackson event.
"This is a unique opportunity to own a piece of history that combines two of America's favorite pastimes -- baseball and car collecting," noted Steve Davis, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. "We're excited about this historic piece of sports and automotive memorabilia, especially since proceeds from the sale will help encourage kids to get out of the stands and into the game. Providing this incredible opportunity once again creates an exclusive Barrett-Jackson experience."
To see images of the vehicle and Gossage's autograph appearances, click here.