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Diamondbacks Thing of the Week: 1999 World Series Tickets

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A couple of updates. The market for the replica rings given away last weekend seems to be buoyant. The ones being sold on Ebay, such as this one, appear to be getting bids in the $45-50 range, which is understandable, since they are perhaps the nicest giveaway in team history. Given there were 25,000 of them, that would work out at over a million bucks in total - though one imagines that 25,000 off them on Ebay would likely depress the price significantly! And the printing plate covered last week will be coming back to Arizona, as Seth, editor of SB Nation Arizona, pounced on the item in question. This week? Let's keep the World Series memorabilia coming...albeit, with a difference!

1999 ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS Phantom World Series Tickets

Hang on, you may be thinking. Did we make the World Series in 1999? The answer to that is, of course not: we lost 301 in the National League Division Series to the Mets. They then lost to the Braves, who were beaten by the Yankees in the actual 1999 World Series. However, the key word in this auction is "phantom". MLB can't wait until the last out of the Championship Series before printing up the tickets, so the result is that there are eight sets of tickets printed for the World Series, only two of which are actually used.

Season ticket holders will generally receive their strips in advance. While they are refunded or credited the cost for events that never happen, they can hang on to the tickets if they want. While most are likely tossed or kept by their owners, some do make their way on to the market,and become a memento of what never was. For a fan, it's a bittersweet souvenir, since it is as much a reminder of your team's post-season failure that year, as of their success in getting to the point where World Series tickets needed to be printed.

These aren't unique to baseball, with all the major leagues having much the same situation, and resulting in the same leftover memorabilia. It's hard to say exactly what the scope of these is, since a search on Google for "phantom tickets" is largely populated by results concerning opportunities to view a certain popular piece of musical theater, While this may help solve Mrs. SnakePit's Christmas present, it's not of much relevance here. But the vintage sports memorabilia section on Ebay yielded 224 matches. More than half (129) were for baseball, with football (36) pipping hockey (29), and basketball mustering only 13 entries.

Prices started at less than four bucks for 2004 Houston Rockets' playoff tickets. However, these aren't "true" phantom tickets, as the series in question did take place - it just ended before the games associated with these tickets took place. But little more will get you a 2001 San Francisco Giants NLCS ticket. I was quite amused by that. At the other end of the price spectrum, four hundred bucks plus shipping will get you a strip of four 1964 World Series tickets in Philadelphia. That's 25 times the face value of the tickets, for these date back to an era when four dollars got you into a World Series game. Albeit one that never happened...

There are other pieces of phantomabilia for events that never happened, e.g. the 1994 World Series baseball, and if you wanted an original of the infamou 1948 'DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN' newspaper, it would cost you upwards of $1500. But what I would really like to have is a 'New York Yankees: 2001 World Series Champions' shirt. I'm certain those were made, but unfortunately, at that time, it appears that, "Major League Baseball destroys the clothing that was made for its runners-up," so my chances seems slim. The good news is, they are now donated to charity, so any future repetition would prove more recoverable. Admittedly, I'd probably have to go to Africa to get one...