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Cubs fan Steve Bartman offered $25K for just one autograph

Big League Stew

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. and the National Sports Collectors Convention sure have devised a way to get a lot of marketing without ever having to pay a dime.

As you might have read on Deadspin, they're offering infamous Cubs fan Steve Bartman a cool $25,000 if he shows up to their memorabilia show in suburban Chicago and signs just one picture of him destroying the World Series dreams of Cubs fans everywhere getting tangled up with Moises Alou in Game 6 of the '03 NLCS.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

To collect the cash, all Bartman has to do is show up at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., at 1 p.m. on July 31, prove his identity and sign a photograph of the infamous play. It will then be auctioned on the Web site with the proceeds going to a Chicago-based charity, according to a news release for the publicity stunt event.

"No one in sports memorabilia history has ever been paid $25,000 to sign one autograph — not Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, or any other athlete,” said Mike Berkus, co-Executive Director of The National. "Steve Bartman has been a recluse for years, but we’re hopeful that he will accept our invitation and generous offer to appear ... We have personal security to provide to Steve at The National and to a destination of his choosing.”

It's an ingenious marketing plan, really, because I'm sure the organizers know they're dealing with probably the only man on Earth who wouldn't simply sign his name and then collect $25K. In the almost five years since his name became synonymous with the Billy Goat curse, Bartman has turned down every single interview request that has come his way and no doubt also said no to numerous book-TV-movie deals that were worth much, much more than what a bunch of baseball card dealers are offering here.

What's worth noting, though, is just how much attention just the mention of Bartman's name in a press release can draw. Can you imagine what it'd be like if he actually showed up for one of these stunts?

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