Own a Piece of History (But Not a Very Important One)
If you want to see some truly historic sports memorabilia, you've got to make the trip to a hall of fame or museum. After all, Babe Ruth's uniform isn't just hanging in any old closet. However, if you wanted to start your own museum, you could do that, too. Granted, you probably wouldn't have the same quality of exhibits, but eBay sellers do a thriving trade with people who want to own a piece of sports history, just not a particularly important piece. While nothing currently up for auction is as unsettling as a wad of Terry Francona's used gum and chewing tobacco, all manner of absurd game-used gems are available. Let's take a look at some of the more bizarre offerings a PayPal account can secure you right now:
Masumi Kuwata 2007 Pittsburgh Pirates Jersey
From 1986 to 2006, Kuwata was a legendary pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League. In 2007 he joined the Pirates as a 38-year-old rookie reliever and proceeded to get absolutely shelled, as often happens to the Pirates' pitchers. Over the course of 21 innings, he racked up an ERA of 9.43 and surrendered six home runs. For those of you who aren't baseball fans, I'll clarify: he was truly horrendous. And now you can own one of the jerseys he might have had on while pitching this batting practice! The starting bid is a scant $1,750, which means if you want to dress as a "Terrible Relief Pitcher" for Halloween this year, this costume pretty much pays for itself.
Tony Dumas 1996-1997 Phoenix Suns Jersey
Dumas was a great target for mockery on some truly abysmal Dallas Mavericks teams, especially if you willfully mispronounced his last name. His career highlights include a 39-point game in 1996 and wrecking his knee while attempting his "Texas Twister" dunk in the 1995 NBA Slam Dunk contest. If you're a size 46 plus two inches of length, then you can slip into Tony's threads from his six-game stint with the Suns in the 1996-97 campaign. You probably wont' be able to pull off the Texas Twister, either.
Kazuhisa Ishii Game-Used Bat
Kaz Ishii spent four decent years as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets before returning to his native Japan. Like most pitchers, Ishii wasn't much with the bat. In 164 big-league at-bats in his four-year career here, he got 18 hits for a cool .110 batting average with a single home run, exactly one more than you've probably hit in the majors. For only a $99 starting bid, you might be able to own the lumber that Ishii used to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. The other guys in your softball league will be terribly intimidated.
NFL Game-Used ? Chin Strap
That rogue question mark isn't a typo "“ this one may not have been game-used at all. But really, can you afford to miss out on what could potentially be a piece of history? For only an opening bid of $10, you can get your hands on this handsome Riddell chin strap, complete with number 85 sticker on either side. The seller doesn't know what team or what player this gem might have come from or even if it was used in an NFL game, but if you want to own some memorabilia (or just keep a hat or helmet affixed to your head), this could be your bargain. Which number 85 might have worn it? Chad Johnson? Antonio Gates? An anonymous high-school tight end?
Kansas City Scouts Game-Used Hockey Bag
This item appears to be a vinyl duffel bag used to transport hockey equipment during the New Jersey Devils' forerunners' stint in Kansas City from 1974-76. Granted, I wasn't alive and watching hockey in the mid-"˜70s, so this might be a stupid point. However, unless the rules of the game were much, much different then, it seems hard to believe that a duffel was "game used." "Season-used," maybe, but were players toting bags around on the ice before faceoffs? It's only going for $300, though, so you might as well buy it to find out.
David LaFleur Dallas Cowboys Jersey
After an All-American career at LSU, tight end LaFleur became the Cowboys' first-round draft pick in 1997. Although LaFleur caught seven touchdowns in 1999, he was something of a bust in the NFL and was out of the league after the 2000 season. That doesn't mean you can't still buy his game-used jersey for a mere $200, thought. One look at the jersey itself illuminates part of why LaFleur was a favorite of NFL scouts: he's really, really tall. The jersey has seven extra inches of length, so even if you can't wear it to play football, it would make a sharp summer dress.