World Series rings in the hands of a politician? They’ve wound up in stranger places.
Frank Crosetti, who was a member of the Yankees during their most dominant era, could have started his own jewelry store with the number of World Series rings he collected.
Crosetti was in 22 World Series as a player or coach, 17 of those were championship teams. Once his baseball days were done, though, Crosetti’s ‘collection’ included only one ring. During the 1930s and 40s, players had their choice. A ring or something of equal value. Crosetti chose the latter option more often than not.
"I may not have rings, but I do have five World Series shotguns," Crosetti once told Jerry McNeal, a St. Louis-based expert on Series jewelry, who’s been studying post-season awards for 25 years. An avid hunter, Crosetti said he usually chose everything from hunting gear to watches but only a few rings, giving away all but one to members of his family.
McNeal told SportsCollectorsDaily.com Thursday night he doesn’t know of another politician receiving a World Series ring, even though many have been fans of a certain winning team. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has been the subject of scrutiny in the city this week, after it was revealed he was given four Yankee Series rings while in office. Giuliani later paid approximately $4,000 for each of the rings, which is essentially what each cost. The collector value is, of course, significantly higher, especially since they contain the name of the popular Republican Presidential candidate. Some say the rings could fetch over $200,000 total if placed in the market.
Placing a value on the rings could help determine if Giuliani violated any laws. Replacement value is difficult to judge because of their rarity and value in the secondary market. As jewelry alone, Giuliani may have paid what the Yankees did for the rings presented to team personnel after each World Series victory.
No complete lists of recipients of Series rings through the years are available. McNeal says Frank Sinatra was hoping for a ring after his friend Tom Lasorda managed the Dodgers to a title, but the club rejected the request.
Players sometimes put the rings in secure storage but others choose to wear them, especially those who have rings less gaudy than those often produced in the current era. Occasionally, they disappeared. Former Cardinals’ shortstop Dal Maxvill lost his ring on a fishing trip.
Joe Schultz, a coach for the Cardinals during their two 1960s championship seasons, was said to be out drinking with friends one night when he tossed a beer from the open car window, only to have the ring fly off with the can of suds. "He and some others came back and looked for it the next day," McNeal laughed. "And they found it along the road, but it had been run over so many times it was ruined."
Players can get their rings replaced. As long as the original die is there, a new ring can be cast for a player who loses one, but the ring recipient must go through the club to request that a new one be made.
The Florida Marlins created the largest and most expensive ring of all time after their 2003 championship. The ring featured 229 diamonds and 13 rubies and cost $46,000 to make. 85 were created at a total cost of nearly $4 million. Most of the players found themselves elsewhere the following season as the cash-strapped club began to cut payroll.
The value of a ring in the collectors’ market depends, of course, on the player or official to whom it may have once belonged. McNeal says the highest price paid for a World Series ring was $250,000 for Babe Ruth’s 1927 model. Mickey Mantle’s 1956 ring sold for $125,000..
McNeal has photographed examples of World Series rings dating back decades and collected stories for a book he hopes to publish. The Giuliani World Series ring saga may make for a new chapter.