Few leisure activities can be as uniting and as divisive as sports. People watching it can bond over their shared admiration of teams and players, or develop sudden enmity because of the same thing. Even small details, such as which tactic to employ or what mascot a team should have, could potentially make or break friendships.
And at the heart of this storm of unity and disparity are the fans. Without their devotion, sports probably wouldn’t be as intense as it is today. Sports fans can show their dedication to a team or a player by purchasing certain things. One aficionado could buy a radar gun for their baseball games. Someone else might buy a jersey with their team’s logo.
But how devoted is a sports fan who purchases any memorabilia from the following categories?
Some memorabilia are only loosely “sports memorabilia” because they used to be the property of a famous coach or player. Or they could simply have the name of a player slapped on it.
The latter is the case with the Michael Jordan BBQ Sauce, made by McDonald’s in honor of the basketball star in 1992. A jug containing a gallon of the stuff sold for $10,000 in 2012. In 1999, a signed death threat sent to multi-award winning baseball player Mickey Mantle sold for $18,400 in an auction.
On a more unhygienic note, a man once had football legend Barry Sanders sign a urinal. The porcelain piece became a part of football history and sold for $3,000.
Filthy But Famous
If something with a famous athlete’s signature is impressive, then surely objects that have their bodily fluids must be worth more, right?
It must seem so to the devoted fan who bought a jockstrap used by Texas Ranger’s Nolan Ryan. The fan bought the used undergarment for $25,000. Its best not to speculate what has become of it since.
Another piece of baseball history contains the DNA of Curt Shilling. During a game, Shilling’s ankle, which had just undergone surgery, leaked blood into the sock. His blood subsequently made the sock priceless, and he sold the bloodstained garment for almost a hundred thousand dollars. It’s not just used clothing that fans are willing to pay tons of cash for. Luis Gonzalez, a baseball star from Arizona, sold a piece of gum he had chewed for $10,000.
Actual Bits and Pieces
In the hierarchy of memorabilia, it seems pretty obvious that actual parts of sports stars are the collectibles. Just ask the CEO of Planet Hollywood, who bought the ponytail. The chunk of hair is now on display in one of their restaurants, because nothing is as appetizing as a bunch of loose hair. Former relief pitcher Jeff Nelson had to undergo surgery once to remove tiny flecks of bone in his arm. Taking advantage of his sports stardom, he tried to sell his bone chips on eBay, but the site’s policy preventing the sale of human parts stopped him from netting over $20,000.
Finally, in an act of goodwill, World Series MVP David Ortiz sold his magnificent beard for charity after the final game of the series. He donated proceedings from his shave to a charity that raises awareness about mental and physical health issues among men.
Sports may be divisive, but when men like David Ortiz use their clout and fame for good causes, it reminds people that it also brings people together. In each game, in every field, people form friendships, families bond together, and people feel joy. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that positivity, even if it’s a signed urinal?