David Price will sign hundreds of baseballs with an unusual historic note -- that he threw the home-run pitch that gave Derek Jeter 3,000 career hits.
Price, a 25-year-old left-hander for the Tampa Bay Rays, agreed to sign balls and photographs that say, “I Gave Up DJ’s 3K, 7-9-11,” said Brandon Steiner, president of Steiner Sports Marketing.
“It’s all in good fun,” Steiner said in a telephone interview. “It’s a cool collectible that’s being done tongue-in-cheek.”
Price;, Jeter, the New York Yankees’ shortstop and captain; and Christian Lopez, the fan who caught the home-run ball at Yankee Stadium on July 9, also agreed to sign a limited number of baseballs that will be offered today by Steiner. The signatures also will be available individually in a three-ball set.
Price’s ball goes for $159.99. Add Jeter’s autograph and the figure surges to $799.99. The three-signature ball will cost slightly more, Steiner said. Lopez’s ball that says, “I Caught DJ3K,” sells for $34.99.
“The balls are a little on the pricey side,” Steiner said. “But then Jeter is a little pricey these days.”
Not since Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s streak by playing in his 2,131st consecutive games on Sept. 6, 1995, has the sports-collectible field experienced so much “insanity” caused by an individual feat, Steiner said.
After Jeter became the first Yankee and the 28th Major League Baseball player to reach 3,000 hits, Steiner said, the company got 6,000 calls for memorabilia commemorating the feat.
“This was kind of an exclamation point with Jeter,” Steiner said. “This brought non-Yankee fans into perspective. They wanted a piece of Jeter to put in their kids’ rooms to represent how baseball should be played. You don’t have to like him, but you have to respect him.”