This is your chance to win the Cy Young Award. Well, win is not quite the right word. More correctly, the word is buy. The seller is Steve Carlton, who has put his 1982 trophy up for auction this week along with 43 other pieces of his memorabilia.
A spokesman for the auction house, Mastro Fine Sports Auctions, of Oak Brook, Ill., said that Lefty is not selling the relics for reasons of pressing finance. We couldn't get an elaboration from the reticent Carlton, who declined through the auction house to be interviewed for this article. Too bad. It would be nice to know if Carlton had a bonus clause in his contract for winning the Cy Young, in which case he now would be trying to cash in a second time.
Easier to understand was the motivation of Pete Rose, whose debts were hinted at in the inventory of Roseabilia to be found in card shops and at autograph shows long before the debts came under the scrutiny of the late Bart Giamatti. The joke about Rose was that there was a large volume of his game-used stuff available because he supposedly had sold Dumpstersful to dealers.
Collector: I'd like a Pete Rose game-worn jersey please.
Dealer: Reds, Phillies or Expos?
Dealer: Home or away?
Dealer: What size?
There are four Carlton uniforms and six warmup shirts up for bid. A Phillies home uniform that the 329-game winner wore in his remarkable 27-victory season in 1972 opened at $1,800. A more mundane Cleveland Indians shirt from 15 years later opened at $300. There's also the full uniform Carlton says he was wearing when he struck out his 4,000th batter while with the Giants in '86. That uniform, the glove he used during the game and the warmup jacket he wore before and after are being auctioned separately with minimum bids totaling $3,600. The catalog notes that the jacket "is complete with two pieces of Bazooka gum still in the right pocket." But it's that Cy Young Award that will draw not just the most money (bidding opened at $7,500) but also the most consternation.