Even though they have been collected by the grounds crew and hologrammed for years, I am a relative newcomer to collecting game used bases. That does not mean that I was unaware of bases, it was more of a “what can I really do with this” attitude. They are difficult to frame or display. Even if you want to lay a few out, that can be awkward. Many collectors have one or two but the collecting “completists” among us have a tough time finding satisfaction in that pursuit. Further, they can be pricey, even when it comes to the more common bases, and World Series pricing can be staggering. So I pretty much stayed away.
However, when I had the opportunity to pick up a fairly historic base in 2013, I jumped at the chance, and added to the collection 3rdbase from innings 7-9 of ALCS game 2 Boston v. Detroit. It was the bottom of the 8thand the Red Sox were down 5-1 and about to go down 2-0 in the series. Ortiz was 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in the series at that point, but the Red Sox had the bases loaded with two outs. The Tigers, taking no chances, brought in their closer, Joaquin Benoit, who had never allowed Ortiz an extra base hit in 27 career plate appearances. Ortiz swung at a first pitch changup and drove it over the right field wall, tying the game, immortalizing bullpen cop Officer Steve Horgan and burnishing his already stellar Hall Of Fame credentials.
Above is the third base that David Ortiz touched as he headed home having just hit the grand slam. It was also from this base that Jonny Gomes scored the eventual winning run in the bottom of the 9thwhen Jarrod Saltalamaccia walked it off with a single. I have found that this base resonates with fans and collectors. Rather than a white elephant, it fits with the game used balls, uniforms and bats in a collection from the 2013 playoff run. Player, team and ballpark collectors could find similar satisfaction when adding a few bases to their collection.