The Weirdest Pieces of Sports Memorabilia

Andre Agassi’s Ponytail

Though younger fans will be more familiar with Agassi’s iconic bald look, there was a time when he sported one of the most impressive manes in all of sports. His hair was long and flowy, easily extending to his shoulders. It was his identity and a source of embarrassment, as it turned out to be a wig to hide his balding.

That didn’t keep someone from paying an undisclosed amount of money for his hair. When he finally made the decision to just chop it all off instead of hide it, it was auctioned and allegedly sold to the Official All Star Café on Times Square by Planet Hollywood. The restaurant had it on display along with other sports items such as one of Shaq’s destroyed backboards until it shuttered in 2007. Maybe the follicle purchase ultimately put the store under.

Jeff Nelson’s Bone Chips

Not all items on this list represent things that were sold, but not for the reason you think. After all, it would seem odd that anyone would want to purchase another man’s bones, but that is precisely happened after pitcher Jeff Nelson had surgery to remove bone chips from his arm.

When he put them up for sale on eBay initially, it was little more than an inside joke by he and his teammates. However, the price soon started to climb higher and higher, leaping over twenty grand. That’s when someone had to come in and ruin the fun, and the auction was taken down. According to site rules, no one, no matter how famous, can sell human body parts through the website. The fact that someone was willing to fork over five figures for another man’s bones is definitely strange.

Mickey Mantle’s Death Threat

It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to keep a death threat around. The fact that one was sold with a player’s signature is even weirder, but it makes a bit more sense given who did the signing. With a perchance for the obscene, many items with Mantle’s John Hancock along with a short phrase have sold over the years, including a baseball that stated that he slept with Marylyn Monroe.

The one item that takes the cake is the signed death threat that was apparently auctioned off. It was just one of many items being sold by Sotheby’s auction of sports artifacts provided by the Barry Halper Collection of Baseball Memorabilia. I’m sure whoever wrote it to Mickey Mantle would be annoyed if they knew that their letter somehow managed to kick a profit.

Nolan Ryan’s Jockstrap

Speaking of baseball, Nolan Ryan’s strikeout record is one that will probably remain untouched forever. Only one player even comes within a thousand of his 5714 total Ks, with most falling far short of that milestone. This lets items bearing his name hold a lot of value on the secondary market. Perhaps the oddest of these is an item that held his unmentionables, as someone once paid a pretty penny to buy one of his jockstraps.

As the story goes, someone shelled out $25,000 to own a piece of baseball history when they paid for the item. It was allegedly the same one he wore when pitching his record-setting seventh no-hitter on May 1st of 1991. The details are somewhat murky past that, but whoever bought it must have a huge set of cojones to be willing to put it on display.

Broken BCS Championship Trophy

A championship trophy being sold for a high price in auction is nothing really that odd. Super Bowl rings and other things of that nature have long been popular items in the secondary market. What makes this particular listing strange is that it was broken, which resulted in it fetching a higher price than expected.

Normally, something that gets shattered means that it can only hold a fraction of its value. When a player’s father accidentally dropped and broke Alabama’s 2011 crystal BCS Title Trophy, it somehow caused the price to skyrocket. Prior to being smashed, it had an estimated price tag of a cool 30,000. After deciding to auction it off, it ended up netting over a hundred grand instead. Needless to say, that’s not the way economics is supposed to work. Could you imagine someone buying things just so that they can break them for a profit?

Michael Jordan’s McDonald BBQ Sauce

The marketability and absolute dominance of Michael Jordan is often stated to be a reason why the NBA became so successful. Sports fans all over the world tuned in to watch MJ dunk over hapless opponents or effortlessly drop a fadeaway over the league’s best defenders. His popularity from that era is a huge driving factor to why people wait in long lines to purchase Air Jordans every time a new pair comes out.

Sneakers bringing in the bucks are one thing, but what about barbeque sauce? The “McJordan” was a burger that had a quarter beef patty that was dressed with bacon, onions, pickles, mustard, and a special sauce that was unique to the sandwich. Someone managed to hold onto an entire jug of the stuff for years, auctioning it off in 2012 for almost ten grand.

Curt Schilling Bloody Sock

In all of Baseball history, only one team has ever overcome a 3 to 0 deficit in a base of seven playoff series. That was the Boston Red Sox during their shattering of the Curse of the Bambino, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen at first. They were winless against the vaunted Yankees in the ALCS that year, but fought back in historic faction.

That year, Curt Schilling was struggling with ankle issues, and it became very noticeable in a critical Game 6. Blood started visibly seeping into the white portion of his sock, but he was able to pull the victory off in the end. Years down the line, he auctioned it off for almost $100,000 dollars. The shattering of the curse is definitely significant, but it meant so much to someone that they were willing to shell out the big bucks for the article of clothing.

Robert Griffin III’s Cast

A sock is something that most people own, but what about a cast? RGIII was supposed to be the Washington Redskin’s future, but injuries kept him from achieving prolonged greatness. One of those mishaps is when he dislocated his ankle in Week 2 in the 2014 season, causing him to miss six games. During that time, he wore a black cast, and he decided to auction it off early in 2015.

The price ended up settling at just over $1,500, but that price tag wasn’t just for a piece of sweat-soaked plaster. Most people usually like getting their casts signed by the people around them, and RGIII’s was no different. It ended up essentially autographed by the entire Redskins team, which included well-known players like DeSean Jackson and DeAngelo Hall. Who knows what it could be worth in the future if he suddenly reestablishes himself as a true star?

Two Pieces of Luis Gonzalez’s Chewed Gum

Gonzalez is one of the most popular players in Diamondbacks history, partially due to his performance in the 2001 World Series. In Game 7, he faced down the greatest closing pitcher of all time, Mariano Rivera, but he would not be intimidated. He smashed the game-winning hit to give Arizona it’s first and to date, only World Series Championship.

The year after, an auction for what was purported to be piece of gum chewed up by Gonzalez went up for auction. When the authenticity of the item was bought into question, Gonzo chewed a fresh piece of gum and sent it in a water bottle to be included in the sale. It sold for over ten grand to a gum manufacturer, but the investment makes a lot more sense in context. The publicity generated from the purchase gave Quench gum a needed boost in visibility, and the product is still on shelves today.

Tom Seaver’s Used Toothpick

Not every baseball player relies on gum or chewing tobacco to sooth their chewing cravings. A toothpick gnawed on by legendary pitcher Tom Seaver sold in auction for $440 in 1992. The used item was found in the pocket of his Mets warm-up jacket that was worn in the late 60s. That means when it was sold, the piece of wood would have been old enough to purchase alcohol.

For the price of purchase, you get the tooth pick and a letter of authenticity penned by Tom Seaver himself. The humorous part of it all is that he assures the would-be buyer that the item is original and unrestored. If there’s a market somewhere out there for restored toothpicks with teeth marks by baseball players, maybe that proclamation would make a little more sense.

Takkarist McKinley’s Dreadlocks

McKinley isn’t quite a star yet, but he’s been playing effectively for the Atlanta Falcons. After being picked in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he has notched 13.5 sacks so far in his career. He’s been off to a slow start in the 2019 season, having only reached .5 in the first five games of the season.

Despite him not being a household name yet, one of his dreadlocks started gaining traction on eBay. Someone was selling it after picking it up off the field after a game with the Detroit Lions. McKinley himself started following the action, tweeting about it as the price climbed to over eleven thousand dollars. As mentioned before though, the website forbids the selling of body parts, and hair falls under that rule. It was removed from the website, though he definitely still has a head full of them if you wanted to buy one.

David Ortiz’s Beard

Beard hair is something many men have to deal with in their lives, making sure it doesn’t flow down the drain and subsequently clog it up. Instead of throwing it in the trash, Steiner Sports decided to encase his shavings and sell it off in auction. The ball of hair ended up bringing in $10,000 in 2013 in a package along with the actual razor used and a signed autograph.

Why would anyone keep around an old used razor? It makes a little more sense when you realize it was from the Red Sox’s World Series-winning 2013 season. That, and the city of Boston has a relationship with Gillette, given that the New England Patriots play in Gillette Stadium. The owner has subsequently tried to auction it off a few times after that, but no one appears to want to pay that kind of scratch for someone’s scratchy beard.

Steph Curry’s Mouthguard

The image of Steph Curry chomping away on his mouthguard while it hangs half out of his mouth is nearly as iconic as one of his beautiful three pointers. It’s something that he finds therapeutic, and the constant chewing necessitates in him getting it replaced evert week or so. They have no real value to him, but a fan managed to score a few bucks after scooping up one of his custom pieces.

Emblazoned with the Warrior’s logo along with Curry’s name and number, it was allegedly left behind by the player after a game. That particular piece sold for $3190 dollars, but subsequent mouthguards have been put up for auction since then. Ironically, they have cost Curry a whole lot more, as he’s been fined multiple times by the NBA for his nasty habit of throwing it on occasion when things don’t go his way. He was docked fifty grand for throwing it at a ref, and another $25000 when another one flew into the stands.

Barry Sander’s Signed Urinal

Sometimes, trash can be turned into treasure just by having someone’s signature on it. The ultimate proof of that is when a Lions fan purchased an old urinal from the Silverdome for a mere twenty-three dollars. That by itself isn’t really news-worthy, but he ended up lugging it along to a Barry Sanders signing and getting the Detroit legend to ink his name on the porcelain. He originally didn’t want to do it, but felt bad because the guy had lugged it all the way down to the event.

When it reappeared on eBay in it’s signed state, the auction ended at over 3000 dollars. For those doing the math at home, that’s over a ten thousand percent markup from original price. It’s hard to imagine just how many fans have done their business in it over the many years, and now it’s probably hanging on someone’s wall.

AJ Lee’s Teddy Bear Trading Card

This is the only sports card on this list, as there is nothing intrinsically weird about them being produced and sold. However, this is probably one of the strangest to be produced by Topps. Cards containing a piece of jersey or other personal items is nothing new to the industry, but the company decided to ship some containing pieces of an actual teddy bear.

Even stranger is the picture that companies the piece of hair. AJ Lee is mostly remembered for her portrayal of a somewhat unhinged character, and that is exemplified by the image of her tearing the head off a stuffed animal. This was around the same time a picture of her kissing a decapitated teddy bear went viral on twitter, but who knows why the card was created in the first place.

Michael Vick’s Chewed Baseball Cards

Speaking of animals and chewing, a Michael Vick fan was less than amused when his animal cruelty and dog fighting charges came up. A dog owner herself, Rochelle Steffan let her pets go to down on two dozen cards in an ironic reversal of roles. After the deed was done, some even had pieces that were missing, presumably swallowed by one of the pups.

When she went to go sell some of her collection, the chewed-up mess ended up reaching much higher prices than her pristine rookie cards. After the dust had settled, the winning bid sat at 7400, but that money also had honorable implications. She had originally expected maybe 100 dollars that she could donate to a local shelter, but the subsequent thousands was given to the Humane Society instead. What Vick did was reprehensible, but the silver lining is that the high-profile nature of the case bought in a good amount of money for good causes.

Mariano Rivera’s Dirt

Dirt isn’t worth all that much, since you can just go outside and grab a handful anytime you want. But what if what you are buying is some dirt that is from an actual MLB game? You can buy a framed picture of Mariano Rivera standing on the mound along with a small container of authentic, game-day dirt.

To be certain, the seller makes no claims that it’s dirt from the bottom of his cleats, or even from a mound that he was standing on. What you get is some dirt that some entrepreneur decided to fill his pockets with from a stadium that Rivera was standing in. Perhaps the fact that Mariano became the first player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously in his first year makes it a little less weird, but it’s still a rather odd thing to try to sell.

Art Modell’s Toilet

The Cleveland Browns were once the most feared team in the land, making the NFL Championship every year in its first six seasons. Jim Brown’s prowess kept them relevant after that, but things started to go downhill a few years into Art Modell’s ownership. He made a number of controversial decisions with the team, including firing popular coach Paul Brown and his moving of the team to Baltimore.

This meant the Cleveland Municipal Stadium was to be demolished, so they auctioned off whatever they could get their hands on. This included the toilet from Modell’s owner box. The owner of a nightclub bought it with the intention of hanging it from the ceiling for publicity. In his words, he “wanted to see where Art Modell made all his bad business decisions.”

Bags of Air from Kobe’s Last Game

During his last game of his career against the Utah Jazz, Bryant put on a final show for his fans. He looked like a man half of his age, pouring in 60 points to give them a final 101-96 win on the season. One fan wanted to leave the arena with something special, and his plan is one of the most bizarre concoctions on this entire list.

He filled a number of Ziplock bags with air and put them on eBay for a dollar bid. This is strange enough in on itself, but the price started to soar after a few days. The price reached a high of over $15 thousand before the listing was suddenly removed, either by the seller or by eBay itself. While it was ultimately never sold, it might be still out there somewhere.

Ski Goggles from the Kansas City Royals

You might remember the large ski goggles that members of the Toronto Raptors were wearing during their finals win celebration. It has become a sports tradition mostly in this century for players to protect their eyes while beer or champagne is being sprayed around. Specifically, bubbly has a high alcohol content, so can realistically do damage to someone’s cornea. They definitely look a lot cooler than the swim goggles the Yankees wore after winning the 2009 world series.

When the Royals somehow made a wild mid-season comeback to make the 2014 playoffs, they had an early celebration, goggles and all. The thing that makes this particular instance notable is that the team store started selling these pre-worn, pre-soaked pieces of headgear for 500 dollars a pop. Needless to say, I’m sure there would be sanitation issues if they weren’t thoroughly cleaned before being boxed up and shipped out.