I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: this offseason, I am writing a recurring column with the pleasingly alliterative name of “Ben’s Bookshelf.” Each column features a review of a Minor League Baseball-themed book, and there have been two thus far: the first took a look at Dave Rosenfield’s Baseball…One Helluva Life and the second ventured a gander at Katya Cengel’s Bluegrass Baseball.
Thus far the response to the column has been robust — at least when it comes to the number of authors seeking to have their books reviewed. I’ve received seven submissions in less than a month (and more are welcome), so clearly this is something that has legs. Or at least a spine.
But anyway! This is where you come in: I’d like to beef up Ben’s Bookshelf by including reader-submitted reviews of favorite (or perhaps not-so-favorite) Minor League tomes. These reviews should be short (no more than 300 words), but beyond that there are no real restrictions so long as the book in question has some sort of Minor League Baseball angle. Interested in having YOUR review featured in an upcoming column? Then simply send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll discuss your proposal in a genteel yet not needlessly loquacious manner.
And, along those lines, I’ll be soliciting ultra-concise Twitter reviews as well, so follow @bensbiz and keep your eyes peeled for literary-minded missives of the utmost brevity.
Okay! With that bit of business out of the way, I’d like to briefly and belatedly follow-up on one of this past summer’s most interesting promotional endeavors. As you may recall, the Fresno Grizzlies held a season-long raffle for a most intriguing piece of baseball history: a pack of 1909-11 Piedmont Cigarettes, which could possibly include the ultra-rare and incredibly expensive Honus Wagner T-206 card.
The winner, announced on September 3 (the last home game of the season), was one David Tyckoson. So, what did Mr. Tyckoson decide to do with his prize?
“I’m not going to open it immediately, if ever,” said Tyckoson, in a press release put out by the Grizzlies. “One of the things I love about the sport of baseball is the history behind it and this is a part of that history. To connect back to something from that history is really cool.”
So, the mystery of what’s in the box shall remain just that: a box. Or, I mean, a mystery. What would YOU have done?
If you’ve got $5 burning a hole in your pocket, then there’s something wrong with your pants, the money, or both. But, should you be in Fresno at any point this season, then I nonetheless have a good suggestion as for how you should spend it.
Beginning last week and continuing through the end of the season, the Fresno Grizzlies are giving fans a chance to win nothing less than this, the most valuable baseball card of all time.
That’s the Honus Wagner T206, aka the holy grail of baseball cards. Estimates vary regarding how many were produced (between 60 and 200), and in recent years it has sold for upwards of $2.8 million dollars.
The Grizzlies are specifically raffling off a Wagner card, however. At this juncture I’ll give the floor to Grizzlies media relations coordinator Chris Kutz:
[W}e are raising money for our Grizzlies Community Fund through a raffle for an unopened, professionally-graded pack of 1909-11 Piedmont cigarettes….[T}his unopened pack of cigarettes could contain the “Holy Grail” of baseball cards depicting Honus Wagner, as a limited number of these cards are still potentially out in the public, somewhere to be found. While there is not a guarantee the Honus Wagner card is in the unopened pack, there very well may be other collectible cards from the T206 set inside the pack that are worth thousands of dollars as well.
Our raffle will run from now until September 3rd (Labor Day). We have our last regular season game on 9/3, and we will reveal the winner at the game, giving them the choice to open it there or hold off.
Raffle tickets are $5, and are available on the Chukchansi Stadium concourse during all Grizzlies home games. Proceeds benefit the Grizzlies Community Fund, whose various initiatives include the team’s Wild About Reading program and the Junior Grizzlies baseball league for youths with physical and mental disabilities.
And, as Kutz points out, the intrigue won’t end when a winner is named on September 3. Will he or she then open the pack in hopes of a Honus? Or would selling it untouched to the highest bidder be the wiser move? And, of course, there’s always the chance of some sort of KLF-inspired protest of the entire notion of commerce.
Meanwhile, I am writing this post while on the cusp of my next road trip. Once again, the itinerary:
June 7 — Oklahoma City RedHawks
June 8 — Tulsa Drillers
June 9 — Northwest Arkansas Naturals
June 10 — Springfield Cardinals
June 11 — Travel (should be in Memphis that evening)
June 12 — Memphis Redbirds
June 13 — Jackson Generals
June 14 — Arkansas Travelers
Please get in touch if you have anything whatsoever to share about any of these locations. And, if you plan on being at any of the games, then please make sure to say hello. I enjoy meeting people (on the road and otherwise), and say yes to as many invitations and recommendations as I can.
Therefore, this will most likely be my final post until Monday. And, from that point on, expect another deluge of “On the Road” content — both here at the blog and over on MiLB.com. Good luck and Godspeed, me.