A $200 investment in some World Series programs back in 1978 turned out to be a stellar investment for a Canadian collector.
Owen Ricker, now 76, was visiting Los Angeles 38 years ago when he stopped into a book store and asked if they had any baseball-related items. At first, the answer seemed to be no but a check with the store owner produced a small stack of programs and scorecards from the infamous 1919 World Series.
Ricker hung onto his improbable find until 1980 when he sold two of the programs. He kept the rest until early this year when at the urging of family members, he decided to sell them at auction. Included were a program from Game 2 at Cincinnati’s Redland Field, along with the scorecards from Games 3, 4 and 5 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Legend has it Sox owner Charlie Comiskey was too tight to spring for a full-blown multi-page program and opted instead for the much cheaper scorecards.
The auction concluded last month in New York with Ricker’s four programs—all scored—bringing $24,498. Not a bad haul, especially considering they narrowly avoided destruction at the hands of Mother Nature.
Forbes’ David Seideman talked with Ricker and auction officials about the unique collection from one of baseball’s darkest hours.