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Sports teams have been selling memorabilia for decades, back to Honus Wagner-autographed baseball cards at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, sports memorabilia has burgeoned into an industry of its own — one worth billions of dollars. Autographs typically boost the value of items such as game balls and equipment, but the amount of contact a player has with that equipment can raise the selling point even higher. One of Babe Ruth’s earliest worn jerseys sold for $4.4 million in 2012.
And while that price point isn’t typical, sellers are trying to make money off well-known players wherever they can in the industry. Take, for example, New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter, who will play his last home game before retirement on Sept. 25 vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Companies like Gatorade and Nike that have relied on his endorsements for years have already begun to capitalize on nostalgia surrounding his legacy with commercials, but now his team is looking to hawk everything he has ever touched, including his used socks.
Unfortunately, buyers won’t be able to savor his foot sweat as the socks have already been washed, but they can impress fans of “The Captain” when they arrive at New York sports bars for a mere $409.99 per sock. They’ll have to hurry, though, because there are only 19 left as of today.
Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports, which is orchestrating the sale of most Jeter memorabilia, recognized that most would make fun of the decision to sell such an odd item, but argued that it shouldn’t tarnish Jeter’s image or the integrity of the sport in any way. “You can look at the sock tongue-in-cheek and take a shot at it, that’s fine,” Steiner told the New York Post. “No one is forcing you to buy the sock, or a jersey. People want to get connected to the players they love.”
Dedicated fans of the all-star shortstop can go beyond socks by purchasing autographed lineup cards for $10,000, game-used bases for to $12,500 and game-worn uniforms — grass stains and all — for $25,000 and up.
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