Thanks to receivers who wanted to share the moment with fans, Tom Brady’s first and last touchdown passes both wound up in the hands of ordinary folks. His first sold, thrown to New England Patriots receiver Terry Glenn more than 20 years ago, sold for $428,841 last year. Early Sunday morning, the one that appeared to be his last went for even more but Brady then threw cold water all over it less than 24 hours by announcing he wasn’t retiring after all and would return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His retirement lasted about five and a half weeks.
The ball Brady tossed to receiver Mike Evans in the NFC playoff game against the eventual Super Bowl champion L.A. Rams on January 23 sold for $518,628 after a flurry of bidding in the final hours. On Sunday evening, Brady announced on social media that he wasn’t done just yet.
These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG pic.twitter.com/U0yhRKVKVm
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 13, 2022
The ball was one of the premier items in Lelands’ Classic Auction, which also saw a copy of Brady’s best rookie card sell for over $1.3 million.
Brady led a stirring Tampa Bay comeback in the playoff game and there was still 3:20 left in the fourth quarter when Evans scored on the 55-yard play and continued his tradition of throwing his touchdown catch footballs into the crowd at home games. At the time, the Bucs trailed by only seven points and no one knew that Brady would announce his retirement shortly after the season.
The ball was consigned by the fan who caught it after Evans tossed it into the stands and while the person’s name hasn’t been revealed, it has been photo matched to the play through MeiGray.
Brady will be 45 years old when the 2022 season commences.
We reached out to Lelands to see how the situation will be handled. Director of Acquisitions Jordan Gilroy told us “Good question but I do not have an answer right now. Time will tell.”
The ball would still have value as a Brady touchdown pass ball, but wouldn’t have the historical value or be worth anything close to the final selling price if Brady returns and throws at least one more scoring strike.
Auction bids are typically binding contracts but the ball was presented as representing Brady’s “last” touchdown pass and now appears likely to be something of a lesser nature.
While the Brady ball was one of the big pieces, it wasn’t the only highlight in the auction, which saw ninelots sold for over $100,000.
Other top selling items included:
- A one-of-a-kind typed 1941 letter from Babe Ruth to a fan who asked The Bambino some questions about unbreakable baseball records–with later handwritten responses from later superstars including Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Whitey Ford, Pete Rose and Cal Ripken Jr. sold for $341,628.
- The only known autographed copy of the 1936 V355 World Wide Gum #51 Joe DiMaggio card soared to $203,825.
- One of the highest graded copies of a ticket stub from Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in Hershey, PA 60 years ago sold for $107,828
- A 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald #97 Karl Malone 001/100graded BGS NM+ 7.5 went for $127,421
- A 2020 National Treasures Stars & Stripes #158 Justin Herbert RPA Rookie Patch Autograph 04/20 BGS NM-MT 8 – Auto 10 sold for $107,828.
- 1933 Goudey Baseball #144 Babe Ruth graded PSA VG 3 (MC) – Auto 7 went for $101,589.