Even to a proud Hall of Famer like Baltimore Orioles legend Jim Palmer, it's just stuff. Palmer's three AL Cy Young Awards and two of his four Gold Glove trophies are for sale via Hunt Auctions. The Cy Young Awards could fetch at least $80,000; the Gold Gloves perhaps $15,000 in bidding that runs until July 9.
Palmer, now a broadcaster for the Orioles (and you might remember him from the baseball scene in "Naked Gun"), says he's not hurting for the cash. It's just, at 66 years old, Palmer says his "priorities have changed," since he pitched in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Memories of his accomplishments are enough; he doesn't need all of the mementos too.
Palmer recently had the Cy Young plaques on display in his home, but the Gold Gloves were in storage because:
"Gold doesn't go with my wife's design," Palmer said. "She has a design shop for women's wear in Palm Beach, and she doesn't do gold."
Gold Gloves might have an inner beauty to them, but they're pretty hideous to display as art. And, no matter how they look, what good are they doing Palmer collecting dust in storage? Some of the proceeds will go to the autism project of Palm Beach County, Fla. (Palmer has a 15-year-old stepson named Spencer, who has autism) and the rest will go in the bank, perhaps to help fund the education of Palmer's grandchildren. Not even Earl Weaver could argue with Palmer on this.
Years ago, he said, Palmer successfully auctioned a package that included a Cy Young and Gold Glove in a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis in Colorado. A man paid $39,000 for the lot, but never claimed the trophies.
"It was for the cause," Palmer said.
And it got Palmer to think. What might a collector pay for a trophy he or she actually planned to keep? It's easy for baseball fans to worry themselves when a famous athlete starts selling their trophies or championship rings because he's gone into serious debt. But if Palmer's doing it proactively and not as a reaction to financial distress, then good for him. And good for the cause.
Big BLS H/N: Hardball Talk