eBayers: Research is King
Let me put it to you this way. There are baseballs and then there are autographed baseballs. Big difference in value, right? Well, on eBay there are big differences in the value of items you want to sell and what buyers will pay for them. The difference depends on you, the seller.
Using the baseball analogy, if you saw a baseball with an autograph, you would want to know more about it, right? The baseball in question has an inscription from a player named Rob Dibble. Wouldn’t you want to know more about this player and the value of his autographed goods?
So, where to begin? We live in the digital age, so use “Google” to look up Rob Dibble. Wikipedia has some choice information: “During his career Dibble was known for his temper. After a game in April 1991, he threw a baseball 400 feet into the center-field bleachers seats at Cincinnati, inadvertently striking a woman. He was also involved in a brawl in 1991 with Astros shortstop Eric Yelding. Later in the 1991 season, he was caught attempting to throw a baseball into the back of Cubs outfielder Doug Dascenzo as he ran down the first base line. Dibble also was involved in a locker room brawl with Reds manager Lou Piniella after a game.”
Yes, we are talking about THAT GUY. Rob Dibble was known as “the nastiest man in major league baseball.”
His trips to the baseball commissioner’s office were legendary. But, so were Dibble’s accomplishments. Wikipedia goes on to say: “He was an MLB All-Star in 1990 and 1991, and was the 1990 NLCS Most Valuable Player (along with fellow "Nasty Boy"Randy Myers). In 1990, Dibble and the Reds won the World Series by beating the Oakland Athletics in four consecutive games. Dibble recorded his 500th career strikeout in fewer innings—368—than any other pitcher in modern baseball history.”
As it turns out, you have an interesting and possibly valuable baseball. Let’s talk about provenance, the backstory of the baseball. Who owned it? Do they have other Cincinnati Reds or Rob Dibble memorabilia? Is there proof that Dibble signed the ball during the 1990 World Series? That would certainly bump up the value and also, combined with other Reds items, make an attractive package.
Let’s say you found the ball in a “lot” that you purchased at a storage facility sale. You have no provenance. You might want to get the opinion of a local baseball expert, who might throw a lowball figure at you, or you might want to call the Cincinnati Reds “front office” and ask for their PR department. I would go to the Reds and talk to their staff historian. They might have examples of his signature on file and a quick couple of faxes would clear up questions.
There is ANOTHER way to judge the provenance of an item. Go to www.pbs.org and click on PROGRAMS. Select ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Click on APPRAISERS, then choose SPECIALTY. Under SPORTS MEMORABILIA, you will find five names of people recommended by Antiques Roadshow. I know of somebody in Michigan who inherited a huge garage-full of classic and antique cars. After calling an expert found at the Antiques Roadshow site, they were able to sell those cars, make a pile of cash, and put it in the bank.
You can also contact the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY or call Rob Dibble himself. Yes, the nastiest man in baseball is the current varsity baseball head coach at Calabasas High School in Calabasas, CA.
Easier still, do a search on the internet and find other Rob Dibble autographed baseballs. There is one currently for sale online at over $100 and that’s a start. With more information, yours could be worth more!
Remember, eBayers: Research is KING! The better prepared you are, the more your item will bring, and your buyer will be the most grateful of buyers! Keep this in mind and remember, there are Baseballs and then there are baseballs with history. Spend some time wisely researching an item because it just may lead to higher values which means, more money in your PayPal account.