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Putting a sports spin on the History Channel's wildly popular reality show Pawn Stars, ABC earlier this month debuted Ball Boys (Saturdays, 3 p.m. EDT), a peek behind the counter at Robbie's 1st Base, a sports memorabilia store in Baltimore. SI caught up with the joint's owner, Robbie Davis Sr. (below, in red), to talk business.
Your show is just as much about the sports obsessions of co-stars Junior, Sweet Lou, Shaggy and yourself as it is about the shop. What's the group's longest-running debate?
Junior says baseball players today are better than those of my era. I don't think so. Willie Mays and Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron would have dominated today.
You claim to be the best negotiator in the world. Explain.
I was a car salesman before this. When you're a car salesman, you sell payments. A person walks out with a shiny car, but he also walks out with a bill for 48 or 72 months. With this job our customers walk out with something from one of their heroes—Cal Ripken Jr., Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle. That makes this easy.
What's the most expensive item you've sold?
A Babe Ruth--signed baseball: $21,000. His signature was the cream of the crop.
Your store is on fire. What one item do you go back to save?
[Co-stars] Robbie Jr., Shaggy and Sweet Lou. Nothing else matters.