When your friend says he brought you two balls…

“Hey, I placed two balls in your mailbox.”

That’s an actual quote from a co-worker.  Fortunately the co-workers is a good friend, and the balls were in fact baseballs, not something else.

This friend is a guy whom I’ve written about before. He has an extensive game-used NFL jersey collection, and sometimes dabbles in game-used baseball items.  I assist him occasionally in photo matching items and he sometimes randomly surprises me with gifts.

Today was one of those days. The gifts included two baseballs, both of which he wanted me to guess the signature before he told me.

The first ball was inside a red Rawlings brand cardboard box. I opened the box and instantly recognized the poorly faded chicken scratch as that of Red Sox legend Jim Rice. What’s cool is the ball is inscribed with “MVP 78.”  The ball is authenticated by Celebz Direct, which is a company from which I have purchased before, they contract with players to do signing, and from time to time sell collections acquired from the player.

The second ball stumped me initially, but I was able to figure it out with the assistance of the Internet.  Not only is the ball signed, it apparently is the ball that Cleveland Indians closer Michael Jackson used to shut down the Detroit Tigers on July 25, 1998. It was Jackson’s 25th save of the season. The signature is again authenticated by the aforementioned Celebz Direct.

Neither of the balls would fetch big money on the open market, but neither of them are intended for the market – they’re heading into my show case to go with other signed and game-used baseballs I’ve acquired over the years.

Thanks for the baseballs, friend.  Can’t wait to see the new loot you picked up.

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