We will start this piece off with
a summary presented in a “good news, bad news” format that seems most
appropriate for the subject.
Bad news: Earlier this summer, St. Louis
Cardinals great Bob Gibson made public his
plans to auction off 100 pieces of personal memorabilia collected during his
Hall of Fame career and since.
Good news: On Monday, the Cardinals
announced the acquisition of four
artifacts for their Cardinals Museum collection. Three Gibson items,
including his 1968 Cy Young Award, are among them.
Cardinals had to spend over $136,000 at auction to secure the three
purchasing them, the Cardinals have protected the future of these important
links to their past.
new acquisitions will not be on display to the public indefinitely because there
is no Cardinals
Museum in which to house
the meantime, the above photo will have to suffice.
that you get the drift, let’s delve into the details.
Cardinals proudly announced via press
release their newest acquisitions, which include Gibson’s 1968 Cy Young
Award, Gibson’s personal Hall of Fame plaque, one of Gibson’s game-used gloves
and Earl “Sparky” Adams’ 1931 World
Series Championship ring.
I am not going to go into Gibson’s
legacy and importance to the Cardinals franchise. Suffice it to say he is simply
the best pitcher to have ever put on the uniform, a man we ranked in 2007 as the
second greatest Cardinal of all time. The 1968 season was his signature
campaign, making the acquisition even more important.
The team’s Monday announcement
helped to fill in some important blanks to a story I first introduced back on
June 30th at my blog, TheCardinalNationblog.com, a companion site to this one.
In an entry entitled, “Bob Gibson: ‘Who will buy my
memories?’”, I related my conflicted feelings over Gibson’s plan to
auction off his personal mementoes, accumulated over the last fifty
The live auction was held on July
31 at the National Sports Collector's Convention in Cleveland. It was
conducted by a local company hired by Gibson called Legendary Auctions.
this Monday, I knew just the basics – only a dozen items had been sold, netting
over $450,000. The details of what was purchased and at what prices were
released, but none of the buyers’ identities were disclosed – until the
Cardinals’ announcement, that is.
are the specifics from the July auction, with the three items purchased by the
Cardinals listed first:
|1968 Cy Young Award
|Personal Hall of Fame plaque
|Game used glove
|Other Gibson items
|1959 contract - rookie year
|1st victory game ball
|1967 World Championship ring
|1971 Gold Glove Award
|1968 MVP Award
|1981 Hall of Fame induction
|All Century Team collection (7
|2006 World Championship ring
I originally came to the realization that it is Gibson’s right to sell his
personal items, I still didn’t like it. Something about seeing my childhood
hero’s spoils auctioned to the highest bidder just felt wrong. Now it seems even
more a shame given how this played out.
secure key items from Gibson’s legacy for the team museum, his own organization
had to compete against a convention of memorabilia hawks, paying market value
plus hefty auction fees.
couldn’t the two have worked it out without having to go to that extent?
all, Gibson remains employed by the club as a special instructor and has often
been in uniform during recent spring training camps. Ironically, one of the most
recent items sold to the highest bidder in July was his 2006 championship
officials are also not above scrutiny as they represent both what is right and
what is wrong with this story.
applaud them for doing what was necessary to ensure fans for years to come will
have a chance to see Gibson’s Cy Young Award and the other items instead of
allowing them to disappear into the collectors
the same time, I remain critical of ownership for having shut down the
Museum. Ironically, the
“temporary” closing announcement
was made exactly 365 days ago.
promise is of a new bigger and better Museum. The problem is that its future is
tied up in the never-ending Ballpark Village saga. Instead of opening an
interim museum location, the team is trying to placate history-hungry fans by
displaying a tiny subset of the collection at Busch
St. Louis having been the center of the baseball
universe during this summer’s All-Star Game Week festivities, wouldn’t that have
been an ideal time to share the depth of St. Louis’ rich baseball past with tens
of thousands of visiting fans?
Wouldn't it have been nice to see the Museum's new acquisitions as Adam Wainwright completes his own Cy Young Award bid and during the playoffs?
there was no museum to visit in July, there still isn’t one now and no one has any
idea when there will be.
delays associated with even the initial phase of Ballpark Village means there has been no target
re-opening date established for the Museum, founded in
such, until the new Museum opens, there are no plans to display the new
acquisitions announced Monday, a club official confirmed. It appears they will
go into storage with the vast majority of the over-15,000 artifact collection.
only the Cardinals had gotten together with Gibson regarding their interest in
acquiring some of his memorabilia, maybe they could have reallocated some money
for rent on a temporary downtown storefront to re-open the Cardinals Museum, an
Brian Walton can be reached via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The
Cardinal Nation blog.
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