One of our missions at Big League Stew is to inform the public when baseball memorabilia once considered to be precious and valuable — at least sentimentally so — has been relegated to the thrift shops of this great nation. Especially when that memorabilia originated far away from where it ended up. It's the classic Island of Misfit Toys scenario. Call me Yukon Cornelius.
Case in point: On a recent excursion to a Salvation Army Family Store in Morton Grove, Ill., to find some baby clothes (and perhaps something for this post), I happened upon a sparsely stocked shelf in a corner of the store. And there it rested, next to a jigsaw puzzle package, an "official league" baseball and practice golf tee with real AstroTruf.
A New York Yankees photo montage — matted, mounted and laminated in a pressboard frame/box thingie — of the Bronx Bombers celebrating their World Series victories in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Three in a row! Who does that anymore? On the right, Mariano Rivera's face smiling, big as can be, with his arms extended to catch Tino Martinez (No. 24). In the middle, Derek Jeter screaming for joy as Chuck Knoblauch (No. 11) reaches for the sky. On the right, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez appearing to grab hold of (someone believed to be) a very vulnerable Bernie Williams with his legs in the air like he just don't care.
And somebody threw this out?!
Err, donated it to a thrift store?
Sure, some of the corners are beat up (watch out for splinters!) and the product is 12 years old and the Yankees have won the World Series as recently as 2009, but c'mon. The previous owner couldn't find someplace for it on his or her walls, or in a closet, or under the bed, or in the garage behind the broken gardening equipment?
What do you think finally prompted the donation? Delayed reaction from '09, after the owner had been holding on to it until the Yankees reached the promised land again? And why drop it off here, at a thrift shop in northwest suburban Chicago? There's a Bronx Ave. nearby, but that's about it, so the buyers market is pretty weak. And it's not like the Salvation Army will pay cash for it. eBay would have brought some kind of remuneration, maybe (especially if you dress it up like this guy did), but it's a perceived hassle to sell stuff on the Internet if you're not used to doing so.
Well, I tried to rescue this bit of Bronx history, but when I went to the register, the cashier said no, I couldn't buy it — because there was no price tag. I pointed to a "5" scribbled on the back, but that didn't count. If I came back in "about two hours," they would have re-stocked the item for purchase. As far as I know, it's still sitting there, next to the ski boots, ice skates and Ultimate Race Set. Won't someone give it a home? For Mo!