Commentary

Appraising Yankees items, Red's stogie

Updated: June 22, 2011, 6:51 PM ET
By Brandon Steiner | Special to ESPN.com

June has been a crazy month, as baseball is in full swing and New York is mesmerized by the fact that a New York Yankee has never had 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter is almost there.

[+] EnlargeDiMaggio painting
Edward Krawiec Sr. Joe DiMaggio items, such as this painting, are always special to baseball collectors.

I knew June 7 was a special day. The day began in our offices with Yankees great Andy Pettitte coming up for a quick interview for my YES show, and it was my first time seeing Pettitte since his retirement.

Of course interviewing Pettitte is always special, and this day was no different. I'm sure none of my readers are surprised that the interview turned slightly to collecting.

Surprisingly, Pettitte gathered a lot of signed balls in his first few big league seasons, from players he had respected greatly. Then the collecting turned to game-used items, as Andy would get his jersey, shoes and articles he wore in the World Series framed in a large display. After the first World Series, he went on to do this many more times.

Pettitte was most proud of his all-time postseason win total, as well as the win-save record he shares with Mariano Rivera. This is an incredible statistic, 68 times Andy won a game, Mo saved the game, a major league record

Wrapped it up with Pettitte, then head straight to the MLB Fan Cave for my weekly show, "What's it Worth?"

We started with Jim Houlihan, from Houlihan Parnes, who brought three amazing New York Yankees World Series programs from the 1930s. Houlihan and I got a laugh from the fact you could buy a brand-new car for $399, according to the advertisement that graced the back cover. World Series programs in beautiful shape from that era are worth upwards of $500. The 1936 was amazing as it was Joe DiMaggio's rookie year as well as a year the Yankees went to the World Series.

Then came the type of item I am always hoping to see. Peter Norrito, from Going Pro, came on the show with one of the nicest single signed Roger Maris balls I have ever seen. The signature was strong and in blue ball point, and the ball itself had minimal signs of vintage toning.

I estimated the ball at between $10,000 and $15,000.

I then met collector Greg Carol, who had quite an unusual item, which always shows me the different twists and turns to collecting. It was a 1945 World Series-era Tigers baseball, signed on the sweet spot by Babe Ruth. Must have been a Ruth single signed, and the collector then added Tigers Champs, amazing. Ball is no question the only one of its kind, and is valued at $5,000.

I logged onto my ESPN email account and saw great stories and entries for my column.

Brandon, I have a partially smoked cigar from Red Auerbach. In 1990, when I was in high school, a friend of mine invited me to the Celtics' rookie camp because his uncle was some key person at Babson College. He invited me to help out at camp for a day. Red made a short visit, and at one point I saw him throw his cigar on the ground. As someone was in the process of picking it up to throw it away, I ran over there and said I wanted to keep it. It has been in my parents' house for two decades in one Ziploc bag inside another Ziploc bag because of the smell. It is about 3 inches long or so.
Ian Baldwin
Gainesville, Fla.

[+] EnlargeRed Aeurbach cigar
Courtesy of Ian Baldwin Red Auerbach was almost as synonymous with cigars as he was with the Celtics.

Steiner: Ian, great item and story. You know what collecting is all about. I would say to take this cigar from the Ziploc bag, add it to a great Red Auerbach photo, and frame it up, so you can enjoy the item and savor the memory. I estimate the value at $500.

Brandon, here is my item: It's a painting done in 1991 of Joe D. It is on thick acid-free stock. It's 22 inches by 29 inches unframed. Included is the show flyer photo, signed by Mr. D. on July 27, 1991, and in blue Sharpie. I do have a photo of Mr. D. signing it.
Edward Krawiec Sr.
Old Bridge, N.J.

Steiner: Ed, Joe DiMaggio items are always special. The painting looks to be in great shape and the signature strong.

I have good news, this particular DiMaggio is worth well into the $750 range.

Keep the requests coming, as nothing beats finally knowing what it's worth!

Brandon Steiner, the CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing & Memorabilia Inc. in New Rochelle, N.Y., will offer appraisals of fans' sports memorabilia items monthly in The Life. Send emails with details and photos of your prized items to steinerespn@gmail.com and check back for Steiner's next installment.

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