It doesn't quite pack the historical punch of a Mickey Mantle corked bat, but a baseball stained in the blood of Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija could have been yours for a reasonable price had you placed a bid on it in a Cincinnati Reds auction that closed on Friday.
The auctioned baseball comes from the Cubs-Reds game played at the Great American Ballpark back on April 24. A wound suffered on a first inning comebacker off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo left Samardzija's pitching hand bloodied, but wasn't enough to knock the 28-year-old right-hander from the game.
With blood still oozing from the wound, Samardzija was forced to finish out the inning before he could receive treatment beyond what was administered by the Cubs head athletic trainer on the field. He did so successfully, holding the Reds off the scoreboard, but that meant the baseballs he was using were stained in his blood. Among them, a baseball that was eventually fouled off by Zack Cozart, but didn't quite reach the stands. As is always the case, that baseball was quickly retrieved by a member of the Reds on field staff and then held once it was realized it was smeared with blood.
Six days later, the Reds labeled it and placed it up for bid on their auction website, and now a lucky fan (we suppose) owns it after placing the winning $ 130.01 bid.
"It's pretty exciting. I remember looking at that ball, wondering what was going to happen to it," Samardzija told ESPN Chicago on Friday. "I was hoping the umpires didn't see it. I don't know, it's pretty interesting. Somebody who gets it has to be a pretty intense fan. That's for sure."
Intense and perhaps even blood thirsty, I'd say.
"There was one that had the most intense amount of blood on it for sure because it lasted about five or six pitches," Samardzija said. "I had more opportunity to get a little bit more action on it. I think that was the one if they kept it. I don't know how they got it, but it's pretty crazy."
I'm guessing that method for doctoring baseballs won't catch on. But hey, when it's available, why not use it, right?
But here's the best part of the story. As is the case with all Reds auction items, all proceeds go to The Reds Community Fund. That definitely offsets any weirdness involved and turns this into a bloody good thing for everybody involved.