A lot of people are saying that Christian Lopez, the guy who caught Derek Jeter‘s 3,000-hit homerun ball, got hosed by the Yankees when he gave it back in return for some signed memorabilia and Yankees tickets worth an estimated $70,000. According to a Bloomberg article, the ball’s estimated value could be as high as $250,000. So the knee-jerk reaction of a lot of headlines was to assume that Lopez left $180,000 on the table, even though last month, Bloomberg reported a much more conservative estimate of between $75,000 and $100,000 for Jeter’s 3,000-hit ball.
I’m not saying it couldn’t go for $250,000, but assuming it’s a given seems presumptive. Read what Rick Harrison, star of the cable show Pawn Stars, has to say about the likelihood of the ball fetching $250K at auction.
That’s perfect world, perfect buyer stuff. This wasn’t a unique ball in the sense that it established a big-league record. Getting 3,000 hits is a great accomplishment, but not unique like a 61-homer baseball was in 1961. Or even Mark McGwire’s 70th homer ball before he was tainted by steroids (sold for $3 million, now estimated at $150K). Jeter became the 28th man to do it. Craig Biggio is on the list. How much do you think his 3,000-hit ball would go for? You’d need multiple major Yankees fans at an auction with money to burn and the luxury market has dried up in this economy.
Considering Lopez and his girlfriend paid only $65 a piece for the seats to Saturday’s game, walking out with $70,000 worth of Yankees swag strikes me as doing just fine.