Entries in Baseball (5)


Honus Wagner Baseball Card Sells for Record $2.1 Million

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- The most sought-after and valuable baseball card ever made, the 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner card, sold for a record-breaking $2.1 million in an online auction on Saturday morning.

The card was being auctioned by Goldin Auctions, who has not released any information about the eventual buyer. He or she spent a total of $2,105,770.50 on the card, including the commission fee.

The last time a Wagner card was offered for public sale was during the financial crisis in 2008, when it sold for $1.62 million. According to Goldin Auctions, the average Wagner card has appreciated 70 percent in value since then.

Wagner was already a baseball legend when the card was released in 1909. Wagner was one of the first five men ever inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, getting an equal number of votes as Babe Ruth.  

There are reportedly fewer than 200 T206 Honus Wagner cards. It’s said that there were so few cards made because Wagner objected to the cards, since were made by the American Tobacco Company and being given to children. This is probably untrue, as Wagner was a heavy and public cigar smoker himself, and it’s far more likely he simply wanted to be paid to his image.

This particular card is known as “the jumbo Wagner,” because due to printing inconsistencies, it is slightly larger than other T206 Wagner cards.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ted Williams Memorabilia Auction Attracts Big Collectors

Hulton Archive/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- This weekend’s auction of memorabilia from Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams was a hit with his fans. Williams, who played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, died in 2002 at age 83.

The top selling piece at the auction inside Boston's Fenway Park was Williams' plaque for winning the 1949 Most Valuable Player Award. It went for close to $300,000.

Another highly sought after item was a baseball Babe Ruth signed that read, "To my pal Ted Williams, From Babe Ruth."Despite the simplicity of the inscription, someone paid $195,000 for the souvenir, the highest amount ever paid for a ball associated with Ruth that wasn't part of an actual game.

Williams' appeal as one of baseball's greatest sluggers was clearly evident by how much his fans were willing to shell out for other items that included $230,000 for his 1957 Babe Ruth Sultan of Swat Award for outstanding batting achievement, $126,500 for a used Red Sox road jersey and $110,000 paid for Williams' Hall of Fame induction ring.

By the time the auction wrapped up, close to 800 items had new owners. Part of the proceeds went to benefit The Jimmy Fund, a cancer research charity near and dear to Williams' heart.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Madoff-Mets Trial: Sandy Koufax, Baseball Hall of Famer, to Testify

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax has been named as a witness in a trial over whether the owners of the New York Mets, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, knew of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme when they withdrew approximately $300 million in profit from his firm.

The former pitcher for the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then Los Angeles, was a childhood friend of Fred Wilpon, a fellow investor in Madoff's firm, and is among a dozen witnesses submitted Tuesday by lawyers of the Mets co-owners, according to court documents.

Court-appointed bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard has filed over 1,000 lawsuits against former Madoff investors to reclaim billions of dollars of investments lost by the majority of other investors. He claims that the foreknowledge of investors such as Wilpon and Katz allowed them to withdraw enough money to come out way ahead of other losers. Picard's civil suit against the Mets owners, first filed in 2010, claims that the two knew or had reason to know of Madoff's illegal actions, but turned a blind eye in order to avoid their own loss and gain a "fictitious profit" of about $300 million.

Lawyers for Picard have attempted to block the testimonies of Koufax and three other witnesses claiming that the individuals have "high profile and impressive credentials," but do not sufficiently know whether the Mets owners had knowledge of Madoff's fraudulent activity.

Picard initially made efforts to force the owners to pay out as much as $1 billion, but U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff narrowed the amount owed to no more than $386 million.

In a March 5 ruling, Rakoff stated that the owners must pay as much as $83 million, but a jury will decide as to another possible $303 million. Rakoff said that Picard must prove that Wilpon and Katz were "willfully blind" to Madoff's actions in the trial set to begin next week.

Arguing against Koufax's testimony, Picard's lawyers said, "The defendants clearly intend to attempt to improperly persuade the jury that they are 'good' because they associate with good people, or have done good works, and as such they cannot be guilty of anything as untoward as willful blindness to fraud."

In response, the defense's lawyers wrote that "the jury can conclude that it strains credibility to think that Mr. Wilpon would expose his oldest and closest friend to potential financial ruin -- for no benefit to Mr. Wilpon himself -- if he subjectively believed that Madoff Securities might be operating a Ponzi scheme."

Wilpon, close friend of Madoff, claimed in 2011 that he was the victim, having blindly trusted Madoff for 25 years. Madoff himself attempted to absolve the Wilpons of any blame in an interview with the New York Times.

The Madoff and Wilpon families have been close ever since Madoff's son, Mark, and Wilpon's son, Jeff, became friends in Roslyn High School on Long Island. Consequently, the Madoffs also became friendly with Wilpon's brother-in-law and business partner Saul Katz.

Bernie Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence for his $65 billion Ponzi scheme that he ran for 20 years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spring Training Travel Deals: It’s Time to Play Ball

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Spring training kicked off last weekend, and while many of us around the country shiver in the cold, our favorite teams are playing ball in two warm-weather vacation destinations. When you consider the relative affordability of a ticket -- $12 for a Yankees vs. Pirates ticket, for example -- and combine that with the hotel deals below, it may make for an affordable family, guys or girls getaway this month. But unless you live within driving distance of the stadiums, don’t forget to factor in the cost of airfare and a rental car.

Cactus League:
Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers.

Three Cactus League-area Marriott hotels are participating in the “Major League Savings package," which offers accommodations, complimentary hot breakfast, complimentary parking and a baseball amenity kit including popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, bottled water and a travel-sized sunscreen. Be sure the promotional code SPE appears in the appropriate box when making reservations. Rates from $142-$256 per night, depending on property.

Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain
If you’re looking for a little luxury once you leave the ball fields, check out the “Home Run” package at the four-and-a-half-star Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain, priced from $429 per night. It includes breakfast each morning (a $30 value) and a ballpark kit including a baseball cap, T-shirt and sunscreen.

W Scottsdale

The spring training deal at the W Scottsdale includes two cocktails per person, per day; credit for a free game ticket with the purchase of one spring training ticket; a box of Cracker Jacks and peanuts for the game; a W Scottsdale baseball hat; and complimentary transportation to Scottsdale Stadium. Call 877-782-0104 and reference rate plans TOWNPKG1-4.

Grapefruit League: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals.

Intercontinental Tampa

The hotel’s “Spring Training Package” includes a 20-percent discount off the best available rate for deluxe accommodations.  Also included is a Fan Tool Kit that includes baseball for signing, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, popcorn, bubble gum, soda and the lyrics and history of the song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Rates from $135 per night.

Jupiter Beach Resort
The Diamond Spring Training Package, priced at $539 per night, includes accommodations in an ocean view two-bath superior suite; breakfast each morning for up to four people; four field box tickets; welcome gift including baseball, red Sharpie pen and Cracker Jacks; a personal curbside Roger Dean Stadium escort who will greet you and your party when you arrive at the stadium; a behind-the-scenes escorted tour of the clubhouse and the 110-acre sports complex; the opportunity to watch batting practice on the field; join the players back out on the field for pre-game festivities and national anthem and throw out the first pitch to start the game off. Two kids in your party -- must be under 13 -- will get to sit pre-game in the dugout for photos and autographs.

The resort also offers a less comprehensive “Play Ball” package which includes breakfast for two each morning; welcome gift including baseball, red Sharpie pen and Cracker Jacks; and a credit of $10.00 for a hotdog and beverage at Roger Dean Stadium when you present your spring training tickets.


Red Roof Inn
With locations in both Arizona and Florida, Red Roof Inn has deals for both sets of fans. Cactus League Red Roofs are 15 percent off for one night and 20 percent off rooms for two consecutive nights or more. Grapefruit League properties’ Baseball Spring Training Rates are 15 percent off with the exception of the Red Roof Inn in Fort Myers which is 20 percent off.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will Baseball Fan Have to Pay Up for Returning Jeter's 3,000th Hit Ball?

Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Christian Lopez returned the home run ball that represented Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit last Saturday, the New York Yankees showered Lopez with tickets and autographed memorabilia as a sign of the team's appreciation.

But come Tax Day 2012, the 23-year-old baseball fan may see those gifts as a burden if he gets stuck with a bill from the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax experts told The New York Times that Lopez would have to declare as income everything the Yankees gave him for the historic ball.  This includes free tickets for the remainder of the 2011 regular season, as well as for any postseason games; and three bats, three baseballs and two jerseys all autographed by Jeter.

The tickets alone are estimated to be worth between $44,800 and $73,600, according to the Yankees' website.

If the gifts were valued at just $50,000, Lopez would be forced to pay about $14,000 in taxes, a tax expert told the newspaper.

The IRS declined to speculate whether Uncle Sam would come after the baseball fan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio