The Honus Wagner card from “Sweet Caporal Cigarettes”

Now that the season of the sport God loves best is underway again, we turn to the really important news.

From MLB comes this!

The ‘Holy Grail’ of baseball cards just sold for $2.1 million in an online auction

If you have a friend who’s obsessed with baseball cards, you’ve no doubt heard about the T206 Honus Wagner card. Known colloquially as the “Holy Grail,” the Wagner card is widely acknowledged to be the most coveted and valuable baseball card in history. One happened to be listed in an online auction throughout March, and on Saturday it finally sold.

For $2,105,770.50.

That’s a lot of money to invest in something that could easily be destroyed by the washing machine — particularly when that kind of dough could be used for so many other worthwhile pursuits.

For example, if this guy really loves baseball, that $2.1 million could buy a season ticket behind home plate at Yankee Stadium every year for 50 years and he would still have a ton left over.  [But he would have to watch the Yankees all the time… ugh…]

Having said that, who are we to judge what others do with their money? They earned it, and it’s their right to do with it whatsoever they wish, no matter if it might seem insane and whimsical.

He owns the T206 Honus Wagner card and we don’t. For him, that’s probably the only thing that matters.

If memory serves, I saw one of these rare cards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in terra: ubi ærugo, et tinea demolitur: et ubi fures effodiunt, et furantur. Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in cælo: ubi neque ærugo, neque tinea demolitur, et ubi fures non effodiunt, nec furantur. Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum.  (Matthew)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TopSully says:

    Yes, baseball is truly the game God loves most. Unfortunately I live in town with the baseball team loves least, namely Pittsburgh Pirates, Honus Wagner’s very own team. And I’m currently stuck watching the only game on TV at the moment, the Yankees at Detroit. But as it is every spring, my hope for the Pirates is high…

  2. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Father Z., I think you need to go to Confession about that Yankees comment.

  3. OrthodoxChick says:

    Sicilian Woman,

    I live with a yankees fan. Heck, I actually gave birth to him. Living with a Yankees fan (in Red Sox nation, no less) is 200%, unadulterated PENANCE. I second Fr. Z’s comment.

  4. Potato2 says:

    No matter what the Yanks have 26 WS titles! 26!!!!!
    If baseball is the sport God loves best, (its not) then the Yanks would have to be the team he loves the most!

    Luckily we all know that God is a football fan. Heck, you have Hail Marys and lots of prayer!

  5. campello says:

    I’m pretty sure they are called the evil empire for a reason!

  6. Bob B. says:

    Fr. Z deserves canonization for his accurate, fair and honest comment about “that” team (the “best” that money can buy).

  7. introibo says:

    Let’s go with your first comment without trying to judge the buyer. Objectively, $2.1 M could have gone for something much more worthwhile – physically and spiritually benefitting people. Our society’s priorities are way messed up. Here is an area where we can say thank God for Pope Francis.

  8. Darren says:

    Re: Bob B.: Fr. Z deserves canonization for his accurate, fair and honest comment about “that” team (the “best” that money can buy).

    I agree! In honor of Pope Francis, it is only fitting that the San FRANCISCO Giants win again this year, making it 3 in 4 years. Yes…

    But… …I am confused about something else. Father mentioned the “sport God loves best”, but there was no mention of hockey. :O

    In any regard, someone spent 2.1 million dollars on a little piece of cardboard with some ink on it in the image of some guy who was apparently pretty good at some game. Hopefully the recipient of the money will put it to good use and buy the local Catholic priest some nice vestments, a biretta, some nice statues for what might be a drab modern church building, new hymnals without goofy protestant and quaker hymns (maybe nothing after the year 1900)… etc etc etc…

  9. BillyT92679 says:

    I like you. You’re a good priest. I think you mean well.

    Baseball is not great.

  10. Bob B. says:

    Baseball must be the sport God loves best because it has Cardinals, Padres, and Angels (the first don’t do much, the middle do a lot and the last convey “His” wishes).

  11. Darren says:

    Bob B… good point. Hockey has Devils (but I don’t like them, not one bit… )

  12. HobokenZephyr says:

    But Father, I feel obliged to point out that if it is baseball that God loves best it is the National League’s version, not the heretical American League with their DH abomination. Baseball is a game for 9, not 10. And interleague play is ecumenism run wild!

    I fear this one may cause more response posts than comments on the liturgical aspects of Pope Francis!

  13. Therese says:

    O Baseball, if the Tigers can beat the Yanks, can Spring be far behind? ;-)

  14. gjp says:

    Isn’t there a Catholic Church connection to this baseball card? I seem to remember a story about how one of these rare little cards was willed into the posession of a convent?

    Ah, yes, here:

  15. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “They earned it, and it’s their right to do with it whatsoever they wish, no matter if it might seem insane and whimsical.”

    Hmmm. I dunno. I agree that forcing people by law to do something with their money is one thing (I’m generally aginit); but it’s another to say they have a “right” to do as they please with it. That, I’m not so sure of. I think God will say at Judgment: “Okay, let’s see, of yes, I put an extra $ 2.1 million in your hands. What did you do with it?…….You did WHAT? You bought a baseball card with it?”

  16. kellym says:

    Oh dear, where to start?

    @OrthodoxChick: Being a part of Red Sox Nation these last couple of years is to do a good deal of penance! I will pray for you and your Yankees fan progeny. The good news is #42 is retiring; God love him.

    I recently read an interesting article which equated baseball with American-ness; the ultimate renewal, the ultimate optimism toward the next year; couldn’t the same be said about Catholicism?

  17. Mum26 says:

    You have it all wrong. God loves soccer the best. After all He sent us a Pope whose favorite sport is soccer and who now is the proud owner of a jersey of the Saints of San Lorenzo.
    Fine by me so long as he does not turn it into a liturgical vestment. ;-)

  18. TxBSonnier says:

    So Father Z- who is your team? I’m a Rangers fan myself; the past several seasons have been kinda hard. So many years of not even getting close, then to be *right there* and choke… My husband laughs at how emotonal I still get talking about the 2011 World Series.

  19. Darren says:

    But Mum26… Pope John Paul II was given a SAINT Louis Blues hockey jersey on a visit to the US one year, and a hockey stick, so hockey MUST be God’s favorite sport! ;)


    Happy SF Giants fan here. Yes, I am in NJ, but they used to be the NY Giants, and my father and most in my family stuck with them when they moved to SF. There was no way on earth they would become Yankees fans! (or Dodgers fans)

  20. Nolite thesaurizare vobis tesseras basipilarias in terra…

  21. mburduck says:

    And now I learn that Fr. Z. is an avid baseball fan. God will bless you for that, Father. If we ever meet up, the box seats are on me! Of course there IS a chance it might be at Yankee Stadium, but hopefully you won’t mind too much….

  22. Phil_NL says:

    Dr Peters,

    Your response is a natural one, but we must not forget that such a purchase isn’t necessarily consumption, much less a waste. It might be that the Divine plan turns out to be that the man’s heirs sell the card in twenty years, perhaps even for a much bigger amount, and do something fruitful with the money then. It might prove to be a good investment, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with investing for the future.

    Now if the person would next purposefully flush the card through the toilet, yeah, that would qualify as mishandling ones wealth. But unless one is under vow of poverty, there is no reason to dispense of all one’s wealth (and for all we know 2.1 million is but a small drop for him, and more than balanced with all he other things he does with his wealth) nor do so immediately (again, this might be an investment. An enjoyable one, but an investment nevertheless).

    Now I don’t want to make your comment bigger than it was – or was intended to be – but I do see a markedly increased tendency to critize the wealthy over what they do with their money, which implicitly prepares the way for more intrusive (civil) legislation over what they do with it – i.e. more confiscatory taxes. Now you make it perfectly clear you’re in general against that, but I think it’s necessary in this day and age to fight those ideas on every front – even if they only form in the minds of the reader of a piece and not of the author.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Dr Peters, not everyone is called to poverty. Some people serve God through investments and art. I know a particularly good person who has been in the antique and art business for 40 years.

    I think waste is seen in different ways, like an evangelical couple I know with one child and seventeen houses. They live in three off and on and rent out the rest, but both have jobs as well and are millionaires.

    As someone who has wanted a house for a very long time and cannot afford one, I can only come to the conclusion that God in His permissive will allows these anomalies for my and others’ own good.

    C’est la vie.

  24. LarryW2LJ says:

    My cousin, who is a History Professor, pointed me towards one of my favorite quotes, by Gerald Early:
    “I think there are only three things that America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball. They’re the three most beautifully designed things this culture has ever produced.”

  25. John 1 14 says:

    The season of the sport God loves best is underway..?

    But Father, but father, football season is still months away!

  26. mburduck says:

    By the way, “the best team money can buy” is now the Dodgers, right?


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