There are only so many one-of-a-kind items available on the sports memorabilia market and Curt Schilling‘s bloody Red Sox sock is one of them. Still, it’s tough for me to get psyched up about bidding on someone’s dirty laundry.
It should come as no surprise to us that the retired pitcher still has possession of the famous sock that he wore during the 2004 World Series when Boston won its first title since 1918. And we are all assuming that it hasn’t been washed with Tide or something to get out those persistent spots.
And since it hasn’t been cleaned, we presume, we must ask if it the sock carries any diseases in the fabric that could rub off on us. I like the idea that a soiled sock can be described as being in mint condition, but I don’t want it mingling with my black dress socks or white exercise socks in a drawer. Who knows what you could catch?
Seems to me that I have heard tales of former players’ dentures going up for sale in the memorabilia world (Maybe it was Ty Cobb‘s.), and the occasional lock of hair. And we always hear tell of game-used jerseys hitting the market. Seems to me only last year there was a game-used Babe Ruth shirt sold for something like half a mil, just don’t hold me to the price.
Only the other day I was having a conversation with a retired pro football player about his championship ring and he said he had been offered $25,000 for it right off his finger, but turned down the sale. Unfortunately for him, Schilling needs the money because of his highly publicized financial troubles stemming from investments gone bad in the business world.
So we understand Schilling’s motive for selling at a February auction through a Texas company. As for the buyer, maybe Shoeless Joe Jackson will take home the sock and wear it. That would be nice symmetry, don’t you think? Shoeless Joe would likely also inquire about the other sock, no doubt assuming they come in pairs. That’s a good question for Curt–where’s the other sock and is it included in the deal?
The sock has been on loan to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York for display, something which makes perfect sense since it is part of a story line. Now the sock has pretty much been transformed from souvenir of Schilling’s playing career to an asset in his portfolio.
Once upon a time the only thing fans paid for to collect was baseball cards. Then there were autographs, but they were free. That’s when sports memorabilia collecting was so new it could not even be said to be in its infancy, but still in the womb. Then people began collecting balls, and bats, and clothing, anything major leaguers touched.
What’s the limit? Surely, some maniac collector with big bucks could be found to house a mummified Hall of Famer in his home and display him. Maybe it’s already happened and we just don’t know about it.
There is speculation that the bloody sock Schilling wore, emblematic of him pitching through injury, will fetch $100,000 on the open auction market. Given that Schilling needs the moola, that’s fine. But it still sounds off-kilter enough to sound like something from a parallel universe like Bizarro World in the Superman comics.
Crazy or not, someone is going to break into his piggy bank and help out Curt.
Editor’s Note: Word first came out in early October that the sock, among other items in Schilling’s personal collection, would likely need to be placed at auction so that the right-hander could help offset some of the severe financial losses he took as a result of the failures of 38 Studios, his video game company that filed for bankruptcy in early June.