Do I hear a Steve Miller Band refrain playing in the background? Who-oh, take the money and run. When Seattle Seahawks fan Scott Shelton caught Jermaine Kearse’s touchdown victory throw, he soon found himself being offered $20,000 for the ball.
What was he thinking?
He even got a phone call from Kearse, who offered him his game helmet signed by the entire Seahawks team.
Maybe he had a slightly higher price in mind. Apparently not. As it turns out, this 32-year-old fan, who is jobless, a troubled past and two kids, thought a famous game ball was more important than, well, $20,000.
Sure, the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers was exciting, nothing short of amazing. But it was not Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” or the Steelers’ “Immaculate Reception.” It wasn’t the ball Alan Ameche carried one yard in a sudden death overtime win by the Baltimore Colts over the New York Football Giants in 1958.
This ball is hardly the holy grail, except to two people – Shelton and the memorabilia shop offering five figures. Either the dealer figured he’d get $20,000 in publicity (he probably already did) or he thought he could at least double his money.
This ball will not be worth $20K again for decades. That offer was one bent on impulse by someone who wanted it regardless of any market value.
The ball has drama but not controversy. Consider other examples and the marketplace. It lacks the historical context of the Steve Bartman ball, which sold for $106,000. Of course, that was blown up to help erase the memory of what might have been – a playoff appearance — for the Chicago Cubs. It lacked the horrific impact of the Mookie ball, which trickled past Bill Buckner in Shea Stadium in 1986. That ball in 2012 sold for $418,250.
No doubt a crazed Packers fan would pay more than $20,000 for the ball Bart Starr carried into the end zone during the “Ice Bowl.” But the Seattle Seahawks? Jermaine Kearse’s? There is one ball that someone seeking national attemption might be worth more than $20K or $25K? And that’s the underweight ball from the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots game. It’s a more historic franchise with a broader following than the Kearse ball. And it’s attached to a future Hall of Fame quarterback, and comes attached with controversy. Equipment with historic properties always reach historic prices. Add to those qualities signatures of all of the actors. It’s the collector’s version of Moneyball.