Sports number markets in everything what would Oliver Williamson say?

by on August 3, 2011 at 7:49 am in Sports | Permalink

Pitcher Roger Clemens gave slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado a Rolex, valued at $20,000, for uniform #21.  Former NBA player Vin Baker once bought his number from another player for the relative bargain price of $10,000.   In 2007, NFL player Jason Simmons used the opportunity to do a good deed, giving new teammate Ahman Green #30 if Green agreed to pay the down payment on a home for a disadvantaged single-parent family.

Former NFL punter Jeff Feagles is one of the few who has been able to sell a number twice — although with mixed results.  His first transaction, with quarterback Eli Manning, went smoothly, and Feagles got a family vacation to Florida out of the deal.  His second one, however, did not go so well.  When wide receiver Plaxico Burress joined the New York Giants in 2005, he bought #18 off Feagles in exchange for an outdoor kitchen.  But as of August 2010, Feagles had not received the kitchen. (Apparently, this was unrelated to the fact that by this point, Burress was in prison for accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a New York City night club.)

There is more to the article here, and my Dan Lewis source is here.  Of course, given that the players are now on the same team, these are more like repeated exchanges than at may first appear.

1 Mark August 3, 2011 at 8:21 am

And Chris Kluwe sold #5 to Donovan McNabb for the latter’s promise to plug the former’s band Tripping Icarus in five press conferences.

2 Cliff August 3, 2011 at 8:43 am

Feagles had the bad luck of dealing with a thief. Burress basically stiffs every business partner he has and has been sued by many.

3 Andrew' August 3, 2011 at 9:32 am

That’s one explanation for the gat in Mexicarry, the other being stupidity. I wouldn’t carry a loaded Glock in Kydex.

4 JW August 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

I remember John Kruk, then of the Philadelphia Phillies, saying on David Letterman one night that he gave up his number in exchange for two cases of beer.

5 Attorney at Flaw August 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

That is the most John Kruk story of all time. Loved that guy, even though I hated the Phillies.

6 Sekou August 3, 2011 at 11:40 am

how long until we have punters and special teams players “squatting” on good numbers in hopes of selling it to a high paid qb or wr.

small correction: it was number 17 not 18 that feagles sold to plax.

7 Jim August 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

Let’s hear it for Jason Simmons. It’s too bad his actions didn’t get more press at the time. What he did should have shamed everyone who came afterwards into submission. Like Carlos Delgado needs a (nother) Rolex??

I never thought about it before, but I find it interesting that the uniform number is effectively the property of the player. I wonder if that is spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement. If you’re a player, the management can trade you, fire you, bench you, fine you, tell what position to play, tell you when to arrive and when to leave, tell you to put on a throwback uniform, set your curfew… but they can’t tell you to change the number on your back.

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