03.08.14

George Foster : Almost As Lousy An Archivist As He Is An M.C.

Posted in Baseball at 7:11 pm by

“You’re just punishing yourself if you worry about those types of things, because there is nothing you can do about them.  It’s like water under the bridge.”  While you might hope former Reds OF George Foster is talking about the critical reaction to his “Get Metsmerized” 12″ (above), he’s actually referring to his decision to give away the home run ball from Carlton Fisk’s dramatic game-winner that dinged the left field pole atop Fenway’s Green Monster in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.  From MLB.com’s Terrence Moore  : (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Given the mega bucks that will be involved next month in the auction for the Fisk ball, and given that Foster surely could use some of those pennies to help his love affair with philanthropy, did he wish he hadn’t given the ball away “to a friend as a souvenir” in 1999?

Foster paused, and then he said without the hint of regret, “Back then, you really didn’t look at the value of things like that. It wasn’t until sometime after that, when you started to hear of people saving dirt from the World Series, or even broken bats and different gloves and those types of things.

“Back then, it wasn’t really a big deal for us. You don’t realize the value of a ball until it’s in somebody else’s hands, because you looked at it as more of sentimental value, not monetary. When I gave [the Fisk ball] away, no value was placed on it, because it was more of a gift to somebody else from that World Series.”

Foster didn’t name that “somebody else,” but soon after the ball left his hands in 1999, it was purchased later that year by Red Sox fan Rick Elfman, when Elfman paid an estimated $110,000 for it during the first auction for the ball.

Foster had returned to his home in California for the winter with his duffel bag — you know, the one that just happened to have baseball history stuffed between sweat socks and underwear — and carried on with the rest of his life. The days became months, and the months became decades, and for the Fisk ball, there was no special trophy case at Foster’s home, no security box at the bank . . . no big deal.

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