Pirates Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell have been in the news of late, or, rather, their "stuff" has been in the news when their respective widows, and in Clemente's case, his children, announced that the late Pirates stars' memorabilia will be put up for action later this summer in two separate auctions. Gold Gloves, MVP Awards, World Series and Hall of Fame Rings and lots and lots of other neat stuff will be available for folks to bid on and take home.
This might surprise some people that families would do such a thing. On a recent Pirates telecast, Steve Blass seemed horrified at the thought of Clemente's World Series rings being sold. Blass flashed his 1971 Series ring to the camera and said some to the effect that "this baby will NEVER leave my possession."
I get Blass' sentiment, but I also get the Clemente and Stargell families' motivation. This is all, after all, just "stuff" and what are they, the families, going to do with it as they get older? Also, we have no idea as to the financial situations of the Clementes and Mrs. Stargell, so who are we to judge?
However, I do get a kick out of the disingenuous statements released by both families. It went something to the effect of "We know that Roberto/Willie have many thousands of devoted fans out there, and we thought that now was the time that these mementos and artifacts be shared among them."
So, I said to Mrs. Grandstander "You know, one of those Gold Gloves of Clemente's would look nice on a shelf in our office. Maybe Vera and the boys will 'share' one of them with me, as I was and remain to this day a devoted fan of Roberto." Well, I suppose that there are many definitions of the word "Share", and in this case, the relevant definition is "it's yours if you are the high bidder, preferably something in the high five figures."
I seem to remember that when Bill Mazeroski did something similar with all of his stuff a few years back, he pretty much came out and said that he'd like to have the money for himself in his later years and for his children and grandchildren after he's gone. No b.s. about sharing with the fans from Maz, nosiree!
Like I said, I have no problem with what these two families are doing, and I hope that they get what they feel they need for whatever their reasons may be, but they can spare us the song and dance about sharing with the fans.