There hasn't been a more vibrant and original piece of baseball memorabilia available in recent memory than the custom-made, red, white and blue, American flag sports jacket that Jonny Gomes wore during the Red Sox visit to the White House on April 1.
The jacket is autographed by Gomes, manager John Farrell and 24 of Gomes' teammates, including David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Clay Buchholz, Mike Carp, Jon Lester, Mike Napoli, Jake Peavy, Grady Sizemore and Shane Victorino.
If you want to buy the jacket, it's for sale at auction here to benefit the Travis Roy Foundation via MLBAuction.Com. Bidding closes on Sunday. The high bid as of this posting and 42 bids overall was $10,050, nearly $9,000 more than the jacket was fetching last week.
But Gomes' jacket isn't the only piece of juicy memorabilia available for Boston sports fans.
The internet is flooded with baseball cards, autographed balls, bats and jerseys, and other unique pieces of the city's sporting past. And, who knows, some of it might actually be authentic. When Gomes' jacket hit the market, we decided to come up with out completely subjective list of the "10 Unique And Amazing Pieces of Bostons Sports Memorabilia You Can Own." Baseball cards are omitted because they are a separate category. We've purposely avoided items available through team-sponsored auction sites, many of which are produced in large number.
This is the stuff you probably can't find anywhere else.
Unnecessary legal disclaimer: Inclusion on this list in no way guarantees the authenticity of any item listed. As they started saying back in 1523: "Caveat Emptor." [You should see the ones we didn't include.] These 10 are completely subjective, although they are pretty damn cool.
Items are listed with their list price, the current highest bid, or the "Buy It Now" price, and a link to where they can be purchased.
Enjoy and spend wisely.
The Red Sox honored Young on Aug. 13, 1908 at the Boston American League Grounds on Huntington Avenue. Young had entered the twilight of his career. The Red Sox thought it would be Young's final season, but he would leave the Red Sox after 1908 and spent the next three seasons with Cleveland before finishing his career back in Boston with the Braves in 1911. He won 40 games after leaving the Red Sox, including his 500th and 511th games.
This program has 10 pages. From its listing:
"The beautiful red, white, and blue color scheme of the cover, and its striking design, help make this majestic program one of the very best of all items relating to Cy Young. The program was produced with tremendous care and attention to quality and detail. It includes numerous photographs of Cy Young at various stages of his career."
Three baseball records that will never be equalled. Ever. 511 wins. 389 losses. 900 decisions.
9. 1955 University of San Francisco Yearbook - Signed By Bill Russell - $2,999.95 [ebay] - Yes, USF is not in Boston. But Bill Russell won 11 championships in his 13 years with the Celtics and became the first black coach in NBA history. Choke on that, Donald Sterling. Russell doesn't sign many autographs, and even less for free, so any signature of his coveted.
Celtics teammate K.C. Jones played with Russell and the Dons as they won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1955-56. As players, Russell and Jones enjoyed an amazing run of never losing an NCAA tournament game, an Olympic Game or Game 7 of any championship series. Jones' career ended in 1967, while Russell extended his as a player until 1969.
8. Johnny Bucyk's Retired Number No. 9 From 1980 - $10,000 [ebay] - You can have the actual spoked "B" No. 9 the Bruins gave to Boston's original "Chief" when they raised his number to the rafters of the original Boston Garden on March 13, 1980.
You want irony: the Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings, Bucyk's original team, that night by a 4-2 score. The Bruins just happened to beat the Red Wings by the same score in Saturday's playoff-series-clinching victory at TD Garden. That's a sign screaming: "Buy, buy, buy."
From the listing:
This spectacular banner features black and gold letters, numbers and accents on a white background. It measures roughly 37 inches in diameter and is displayed in a square yellow frame measuring 41 inches..
7. Contract For Construction of Fenway Park Signed By Thomas A. Yawkey From 1933 - $2,900 [ebay] - Jed Hoyer, who was Red Sox assistant GM during the early 2000s, told ESPN that he still has the Red Sox contract signed by Alex Rodriguez. Expect that one to fetch a couple of million dollars if it's ever offered for sale.
In the meantime, you might want to consider this letter. After all the renovations performed on Fenway Park in the past 15 years, it may be hard to imagine that the original document spelling out the terms of payment for the company that designed it and supervised its massive first renovation was one typed page. The deal between the Osborn Engineering Company and Thomas A. Yawkey was signed on Aug. 21, 1933, following his purchase of the team earlier that year.
During this re-construction phase, a fire tore throughout most of the park on Jan. 5, 1934. But under Osborn's supervision, construction crews were able to finish the job in time for the season opener on April 17, 1934. Concrete bleachers replaced the wood bleachers in centerfield. Duffy's Cliff partially was leveled off. The 37-foot wooden left field wall was replaced by a more durable, 37-foot sheet metal structure.
From the listing:
This is a historically significant document securing the engineering and architectural design services of the Osborn Engineering Company in connection with additions and improvements made to Fenway Park, Home to the Boston Red Sox. The single page agreement dated August 21, 1933 is signed in black fountain pen on behalf of the "Boston American League Baseball Company" by Thomas A. Yawkey, Hall of Famer and long-time owner of the Boston Red Sox and by the President of The Osborn Engineering Company.
6. 1904 Boston Marathon Finisher's Medal - $15,000 [ebay] - Fake bibs weren't a problem back in 1904, when only 67 people ran the 8th annual Boston Marathon. About 40 or so finished. This sterling silver medal was made by the Dieges & Clust Gold and Silversmiths, then located on Tremont Street. The race was won by New York's Michael Spring, who had finished third the previous year. Spring, 21, crossed the tape in 2:38:04. In comparison, this year's winner Meb Keflezighi finished in 2:08:37.
5. Last Puck Used By The Boston Bruins At The Original Boston Garden From 1995 - $3,125 [ebay] - The rarest of rubber. The seller writes: "I am giving a true Boston fan the chance to put this great item in their collection." It purports to be the final puck ever used at the original Boston Garden and comes with a "Letter of Authenticity from Referee and Player Paul Stewart."
From the listing:
"This unquestionably is one of the most significant artifacts in all of sports. The last puck ever used at Boston Garden, this piece was removed from the ice by referee Paul Stewart after the Bruins' 1995 NHL exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens. Puck shows definite wear, with 'Thanks for the Memories 1928 Boston Garden 1995' screened on the opposite side of the classic NHL shield design. Obviously, this puck is a perfect candidate for a compelling museum display, but . . . it may soon appear in your memorabilia collection."
4. Jimmie Foxx Signed Baseball - $31,087.22 - [SportsMemorabilia.Com] - "There's no crying in baseball." Tom Hanks said that when he was playing a character loosely based on Foxx in "A League Of Their Own." There would be plenty of tears if you ended up dropping $31K on a signed baseball that turned out to be fake. This ball comes fully certified with a "Certificate of Authenticity" and tamper-evident hologram. More importantly, is includes a money back guarantee if the signature indeed turns out to be not authentic.
[Our blog, however, comes with a double-your-money back guarantee and a lifetime of free Tweets at @RealOBF.]
This ball was signed by Foxx sometime between the term of American League president William Harridge [1947-53] and Foxx's death in 1967. Foxx played for the Red Sox from 1936 until he was waived by Boston and picked up by the Cubs during the 1942 season. How good was Foxx? "The Beast" hit 534 PED-free home runs in 20-year career, including 58 for Philadelphia in 1932 and 50 for Boston in 1938. On the BaseballReference.Com MLB EloRater list of all time batters, he sits at No. 9, between Mickey Mantle and Eddie Collins. The modern-day player he most resembles, according to the site, is Albert Pujols.
We felt obligated to add one autographed ball to the list. There are countless Ted Williams autographed balls, baseball bats, jerseys and baseball cards available on-line and at stores across the country. A Google search of "Ted Williams Autographed Baseball" registers more than 129,000 results. Teddy Ballgame, at the urging of his late son and then business manager John Henry Williams, undertook an autograph rampage late in his life. While Williams merchandise remains expensive, it is indeed plentiful.
There are several Babe Ruth-signed balls available on Amazon and on ebay, some costing upward of $45,000-$50,000.
3. Letter from Harry Frazee Urging Herb Pennock To Sign With Red Sox From 1917 - $3,500 [ebay] - We know Frazee did not sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees to finance "No, No Nanette." But this letter comes with the bonus, an original piece of sheet music from the song "Tea For Two," which was featured in that infamous play.
Underneath official "Boston American League Base Ball Club" letterhead, Frazee urges Pennock to sign his contract for the coming season, writing "your release would mean nothing to you unless you intended to continue playing baseball. However, I have great hopes that you will remain with the Boston Club and become one of the regular pitchers the coming season. Therefore, sign the contract and return same to me today and I assure you, you will have no reason to regret your treatment as I will be more than fair with you on any question that might come up in the future."
Pennock took the deal and finished 5-5 that year. He had pitched for Boston during both their 1915-16 championship seasons, but did not pitch in appear in either World Series. He joined the Navy in 1918 but returned to Boston the following season. In 1923 he was traded to the Yankees, re-joining Ruth, and won four more World Series Cups. He would play on seven world title teams in his 22-year career.
2. Program And Press Pass From Bobby Orr's Debut With The Bruins From 1966 - $3,999.99 [ebay] and $1,999.99 [ebay] - Robert Gordon Orr debuted with the Bruins on Oct. 19, 1966. During that game, a 6-2 victory over Detroit, Orr recorded an assist in his NHL debut.
If this season pass isn't quite the ticket, the same ebay seller has a program from Orr's first game for sale, as well. That program originally sold for 50 cents.
The centerfold score sheet shows Orr in the line up for his first game. The scorebook includes a feature by D. Leo Monahan entitled "Bobby Orr . . . 'He's different.'" Different, to say the least.
The perfect gifts for the Bruins fan in your life who has everything else.
1. New England Patriots Super Bowl Championship Rings - Up to $63,000 [ebay] - Vladimir Putin got his Super Bowl ring for free back in 2005. He's gone on to swipe Georgia [the country, not the state], Crimea and a piece of Ukraine. The ring above is one of three authentic Patriots Super Bowl rings for sale on ebay. These rings were awarded to members of the team's staff. They are not player rings. The one above is by far the most expensive for sale, at least when it came to the "Buy It Now Price."
This ring, which can be had right now for $63,000, is a size 11.75, so the "Staff" member to whom it was given either played football, has really, really chunky fingers or both. According to the seller, the ring "is made of 14k white gold and weighs in at 70 grams. This ring has a total of 2.61 carats of diamonds." It comes with with the original display box and an appraisal.
There are two other Patriots Super Bowl rings for sale on ebay from a different seller. One is another "Staff" ring from Super Bowl XXXVI available at auction starting at a mere $39,999. It is currently a size 12.
The second is a "Staff" ring from Super Bowl XXXIX. That one, a gargantuan size 14, can be had for a mere $6,599 and also comes with its original wooden box, There must be some very large fingers in Foxborough.
This ring features some pretty sharp inscriptions on the sides, including: "21 straight," denoting the team's win streak from 2003-04; "9-0," which was the postseason record of the team during its dynastic run; and "Back To Back," noting the team's consecutive Super Bowl victories.
It will be 10 years since those consecutive Super Bowl victories come next February.
And that fourth ring would be priceless indeed.
The OBF Blog is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Got a news tip, want to let him know directly what you think, have a complaint or compliment about his "aggressively relevant" content or hate people who speak about themselves in the third person, hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or hit him on at his
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