Ever wonder how many baseballs are used in an MLB season and how many wind up for sale in team stores?
The Athletic is reporting that the estimated number of baseballs used during the 2019 regular season will be over 1.1 million. That number doesn’t include home run balls or those used during batting practice.
One of the reasons the number is so high is the MLB Authentication Program, which plants an authenticator at every game and carefully tracks every ball put into play. Even balls in the dirt that are removed from play are kept, given a hologram and put into a database. Then, they’re offered for sale. Some are only $20-$25 but a ball that’s hit for a single by a reasonably well known player can cost a couple hundred bucks.
Apparently, there’s enough interest. Teams say they sell up to 50 baseballs per game to fans either in stores or online. Multiply that number by 81 games over the course of a season and you’ll quickly realize that there are a lot of these game-used baseballs in circulation already and many more to come.
A long-time hobby dealer passed away recently.
The always affable Wayne Varner, who founded Shoebox cards with partner Bill Zimpleman 25 years ago, died after a long illness. He was 77.
A Pennsylvania native, Varner also operated Pittsburgh Sports Collectibles and Pittsburgh Doubleheaders in the 1980s, prior to opening Shoebox Cards, which sold at shows and online.
Varner was a fixture at major shows and attended nearly every National Sports Collectors Convention since its inception in 1980.
Earlier this summer, we wrote about 2Bros Sports Collectibles in Minnesota. Owned and operated by Todd and Tom Hallada, the shop is not only a successful brick and mortar operation, it is home to a large eBay platform as well. In fact, they were among the finalists for eBay’s Small Business of the Year. The Halladas both have muscular dystrophy.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune featured the Hallada’s business in a feature story over the weekend.
A new hobby shop is open in southern Georgia. The Pro Shop Sports Cards and Memorabilia opened recently in the small community of Adel, north of Valdosta. Chris Hart is the owner. He’ll offer cards, autographs, supplies and other collectibles.
Giants’ third baseman Evan Longoria talked baseball card facts, collecting and more for NBC Sports Bay Area’s ongoing feature series:
Former Cubs and Cardinals pitcher Bill Campbell will be the autograph guest at the Illinois Valley Sports Card and Collectible Show October 26 at the Peru Mall. It’s a 40-table show that runs from 10-4. Peru is off Interstate 80 in north central Illinois. For more info, call (815)830-1677.
That Olympic relay torch used in the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France has sold at auction for $178,500. Grenoble Olympic torches are the scarcest of all Olympic torches. Only 33 were produced for use by the more than 5,000 torchbearers who carried the flame to Grenoble for the opening ceremonies on February 6, 1968.
Bidding through Nate D. Sanders Auctions began at $150,000.
Here’s a feel good story about another piece of Olympic memorabilia.
The first gold medal in women’s swimming won by a British athlete is coming home after her hometown stepped up and bought it along with several other items from her celebrated career.
Lucy Morton won gold in the 200 meter breaststroke in Paris back in 1924. Her granddaughters had recently consigned the medal along with nearly 40 other items to an auction. With help from a civic grant, Blackpol Council bought 18 lots, including the medal, and will put it all on display in the town where Morton lived for over 70 years.
The total hammer price for all lots including the Gold Medal was nearly $15,000.
When Morton retired from competitive swimming, she spent years teaching local children to swim.