Former Orioles manager Phil Regan, who in 1995 said he felt a part of history when he inserted Cal Ripken into the batting order for his record-setting game, has arranged for the historic lineup card and related items to be sold tomorrow.
The artifacts could fetch as much as $30,000, predicts the
auctioneer handling the sale.
Regan, who left the Orioles after the season in which Ripken tied and then surpassed Lou Gehrig's durability record, said he gave the items to his daughter, and that she plans to keep the money.
"That's her decision," Regan said in a telephone interview Friday from his home in Byron Center, Mich. He declined to give his daughter's name and said she was unavailable for comment.
"I don't keep a lot of stuff," he said.
At the time he filled out and signed the 2,131 card, Regan was more sentimental.
"You think of all the great managers who could have had this opportunity," Regan told reporters. "To me, this is really big."
At Baltimore's Babe Ruth Museum, word of the pending auction prompted sadness that the historic artifacts could be lost from public view if a private collector buys them.
"It's understandable, but unfortunate," said Mike Gibbons, executive director of the museum, which has a copy of the 2,131 lineup card and other items related to Ripken's consecutive-games streak.
"Sports memorabilia should be in a place where it can be enjoyed by everyone," Gibbons said. He said he may try to recruit a bidder to buy Regan's card and other items and donate them to the museum, which is planning a streak exhibit.
On Sept. 6, 1995, the night of Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game, Regan used carbon paper to make five copies of the lineup card he filled out. Regan kept the original, along with the ceremonial pen provided by the governor's office, said Steve Ryan, president of North Shore Sports, the Chicago-area memorabilia company that is handling the sale.
A carbon copy of the lineup card was given to Ripken, to the manager of the opposing team, to the plate umpire, to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and to the Babe Ruth Museum.
The Babe Ruth Museum sought the pen from Regan shortly after the game. But he said then that he had given it to his daughter.
Now the pen, Regan's copy of the lineup card and his copy of the lineup card from the previous game, Sept. 5, 1995, are set to be sold. Ryan, the auctioneer, said Regan handled the details of the sale and approached him about it.
Advance telephone bidding for the card and the pen associated with the 2,131 game had reached $8,400 Friday, and for Ripken's 2,130th game, the value had reached $2,000, he said.
Ryan said he expects bids for both to go much higher before the close of bidding tomorrow.
He anticipates the first card will sell for $3,000 to $5,000 and the record-breaking one and pen to fetch $20,000 to $25,000.
Those prices are high but realistic, said Tom Mortenson, editor of Sports Collectors Digest.
"We've seen some astounding prices recently. If you were going to buy one lineup card, that would be the one," Mortenson said.
Larry Barnett, the plate umpire, donated his copy of the lineup card and related items to Bowling Green (Ohio) State University last year. The university put the materials up for sale, at an asking price of $1 million.
When no buyers could be found at that price, the university withdrew from the market, said Robert Urban of Baltimore, who brokered the deal. The university intended to endow a scholarship with the money.
American League senior vice president and spokeswoman Phyllis Merhige said Friday that the lineup cards are Regan's to dispose of as he wishes. "I'm just surprised to hear they are for sale," she said.
Neither Ripken nor his agent, Ira Rainess, could be reached for comment.
Regan was witness to another moment of sports history this year. As pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs, he watched St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run, eclipsing Roger Maris' record. Regan will move next season to the Cleveland Indians as pitching coach.
Pub Date: 12/07/98