Photo by Louis Requena / Major League Baseball / Getty
By Robert Dominguez
Baseball fans have a shot at owning a piece of Roberto Clemente history during this year’s All-Star game festivities.
Dozens of memorabilia items from the game’s biggest stars are being auctioned off through Tuesday, July 11, as part of the hoopla surrounding MLB’s FanFest and All-Star Week — topped by a massive sale of Clemente artifacts that includes his trophies, uniforms, two World Series rings — and even the snazzy sports car the Puerto Rican icon earned as the 1971 World Series MVP.
Among the highlights of the first part of the auction session, which began July 7, are items tied to several old-time greats: a bat signed by both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig estimated to be worth up $500,000, Gehrig’s 1934 AL All-Star team pendant, bats signed by Joe DiMaggio and Ty Cobb, and a Babe Ruth-signed baseball attributed to his 571st home run.
Also up for grabs are vintage baseball cards from the first Topps set in 1952, including Mickey Mantle’s iconic rookie card worth up to half a mil.
But it’s the Clemente memorabilia that is sure to attract much of the attention considering the god-like status the late Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder holds among his legions of fans.
Items in the Clemente collection, which were put on the block by his wife and sons and will be offered during a live auction at noon on July 11, highlights many of his major achievements from his Hall of Fame career, including his National League Silver Batting Championship bats from 1964 and 1967; Gold Glove awards from the 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972 seasons; his 1960 World Series home uniform; his World Series rings from 1960 and 1971, both worth up to $300,000; his Hall of Fame induction plaque; and the1971 Dodge Charger presented to him as the MVP of the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
“The legacy that Roberto left with all of us is impossible to properly describe but I truly believe his commitment to helping others has resonated with the game of baseball and become a guiding light for future generations of players,” his widow, Vera Clemente, said in a statement.
“We are very pleased to share some of our treasured memorabilia with the great fans of the game.”
For more information on the auction, go to huntauctions.com.
Robert Dominguez is a senior editor at the New York Daily News and co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls.”