Don Fehr, MOT and former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, is trading his baseball cleats for hockey skates. This according to a recent online column (not a blog!) by MOT sportswriter Murray Chass.
Interestingly, the the C-suite has been kind to members of the tribe. Of course, Commissioner Bud Selig is the HHIC (head Hebrew In Charge) of Diamond Affairs. And, since 1983 the baseball union's executive directors have been Jews. Fehr succeeded Marvin Miller, and gave way to current MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner.
The corner offices above the ice and the hard wood are also inhabited by desert descendants. Like his soon-to-be NHLPA Union counterpart, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is also Jewish. So, too, is NBA Commish David Stern.
On the collectibles side, collectors have limited options for the baseball execs. That said, the union reps and commissioner have been generous through-the-mail signers, at least in my experience.
Fehr and Weiner have little official in the way of collectibles. Fehr is featured in the Jewish Major Leaguers set (2007, #45, a card he shares with Miller, and 2010, #44, a card featuring Miller and Weiner). Both union heads have been willing through-the-mail signers in the past, however. I've got autographed letters, on MLBPA letterhead, from both, along with Weiner's signed business card in my collection.
Marvin Miller is immortalized on pasteboard with a 2005 Topps Fan Favorites (#80; refractor insert #77) and an Upper Deck 1994 American Epic (#74) cards. Both sell for under $1 on Beckett. He's also included in the JML set (2007, #45, a card he shares with Fehr, and 2010, #44, a card featuring the labor leaders trio) and has a variety of paisley shirt/tie "relic" and autograph cards in the 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter series. The A&G relics have been selling for about $10 on eBay, the autograph for upwards of $30.
Miller is also the author of A Whole Different Ball Game. Signed copies of the book sell for $250 and up. Miller signed for me TTM in the past, but took his time doing so (this is not a criticism, just an observation; no one is obliged to sign). Miller's wife recently passed away, and the former union head is getting older by the day and more upset about his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame. I don't expect he'll remain a willing signer, though I hope I'm wrong in this suggestion.
Selig has several cards. These include a Hero Deck playing card bearing his caricature, a Wisconsin Historical Museum issue (#63 in the series honoring the 1957 Brave), and JML cards (2006, #43, 2010, #43). The JML cards sell for $5-10. The Wisconsin Museum card is listed on eBay for $3. The playing card is available for around $2.
The Commissioner is a willing through the mail signer, signing my HeroDeck card and enclosing a signed business card in response to my letter.
Selig is also memorialized in bronze, with a statue in his likeness having recently been unveiled outside of Miller Park. The St. Paul Saints issued a "Best Bud" statuette to commemorate the occasion. The stadium give-away is limited to 2,500, and is selling for $10 and up on eBay. Selig's facsimile signature is, of course, on every official Major League Baseball. I'd love to add a signed Selig OML ball to my collection. Does anyone have one?
An eBay search for Bettman yields lots of unofficial photos, many signed, selling for approximately $25. Bettman has been featured in numerous hockey magazines, is also the author of the foreward to The Official Treasures of NHL Hockey. Can the hockey collectors out there add to the list of Bettman memorabilia?
Ditto for David Stern. Hoops' Head Hebrew has no cards of which I am aware. Jewish sports uber-collector Neil Keller has been kicking the tires on publishing a Jewish basketball card set, and it makes sense the Stern would be included when and if the project ever comes to fruition. Signed photos of the basketball commissioner are available on eBay, along with a variety of other memorabilia, for about $20. As always with the auction giant, buyer beware.
Does anyone know of Stern cards and memorabilia? Is he interviewed for The First Basket, the Jewish basketball documentary? Do you have any Stern memorabilia or autographs in your collection?