Sports stars sell memories, beat tax increase


Sports stars sell memories, beat tax increase

NEW YORK (AP) Rather than leave a 56-year-old uniform hanging in a closet at his Idaho home, Don Larsen decided it should be used for education.

He's auctioning off the Yankee pinstripes he wore in 1956 when he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, and will use the proceeds to pay college tuition for his grandchildren, one in college and the other a high school freshman.

``I'm not getting any younger and I want to see them get an education before I leave,'' the 83-year-old Larsen said. ``They'll be appreciative later, more so than now, I'm sure.''

Similarly, Bob Knight is selling his NCAA championship rings and other mementos to fund education in his family. ``I have two grandsons,'' the Hall of Fame basketball coach said, ``and my wife has a niece and nephew, who would get good use out of this.''

In fact, a slew of sports memorabilia is on the market, coincidentally or not, just ahead of possible tax increases that could eat up some of the proceeds.

Also up for auction in coming weeks are baseball star Ozzie Smith's Gold Gloves, Evander Holyfield's boxing championship belts and an original of the agreement Pete Rose signed when he was banned from baseball for life in 1989.

``Sounds like a bunch of guys with full expectations that the Bush tax cuts are going to expire by year's end and not be back for next year,'' said Steve Gill, associate professor of accounting at San Diego State's Lamden School of Accountancy.

And starting Jan. 1, there will be a new Medicare tax on income from investments for higher-earning people. The IRS hasn't issued rules yet, so money from the sale of collectibles may be subject to the new levy.

``The 3.8 percent Medicare tax would probably be the thing that immediately popped into my mind in terms of what folks may be thinking about,'' said David Boyle, Americas director of personal financial services for the accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Some athletes used to give away the shirts off their backs or leave them in the clubhouse at season's end. Not anymore.

``If I knew then what I know now, I would have saved all my uniforms,'' baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra said.

These days, polyester double-knit has replaced wool flannel uniforms, and the 10,000-plus outfits sent to the 30 big-league clubs by Majestic Athletic are highly desired by fans. But it is gear from decades ago that is more prized.

``It's just a more honest period of time. Things were clearer. Things were simpler,'' said Brandon Steiner, whose Steiner Sports Memorabilia is auctioning the Larsen jersey and Knight collection in an online sale that will end Dec. 5.

Retired athletes and auction houses took notice in May when a circa-1920 Babe Ruth jersey was sold by SCP Auctions for $4.4 million to, which had a buyer lined up.

``Now not everybody is going to have a $4.4 million piece of memorabilia, but they might have something that is worth between $25,000 and $250,000,'' said Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions, which is selling the Rose agreement. ``So different deals are being cut with the auction houses to bring that particular memorabilia to market while the players perceive it to be a good time to do so.''

Larsen threw his last big-league pitch in 1967- when the average major league salary was $19,000. That would cover only a small slice of the price of top memorabilia these days.

In the same auction as the Ruth jersey, a 1934 Ruth Yankees cap that was owned by pitcher David Wells sold for $537,278, about $507,000 more than Wells paid for it.

The baseball that rolled through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series sold in May for $418,250. Two years ago, the bat Kirk Gibson used for his game-winning home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of the 1988 World Series sold for $575,912.

Those were bargains compared with a rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card that sold for $2.35 million in 2007, then resold six months later for $2.8 million to Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, who allowed baseball's Hall of Fame to display it.

``Sports people are nuts,'' Knight said. ``Look at how much they would pay for Babe Ruth's cap or Honus Wagner's card. I guess these are people who want to own things, things that are the results of what someone else did in sports.''

Wealthy sports junkies view a 1952 Mickey Mantle card the same way others look at their 401(k).

``While the stock market is up and down, and while real estate is up and down, the memorabilia market has really gained a lot of steam over the last couple years,'' said Goldin, whose Rose auction runs through Nov. 17.

Instead of being auctioned online, Holyfield's collection will be sold Nov. 30 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif., which also sells rock `n' roll and Hollywood memorabilia.

``People look at these items not just as fans. They look at them as an investment. It's a way to diversify their portfolio,'' owner Darren Julien said. ``We're very popular in Asia and Russia, and that's where a lot of the money is coming from. Items that used to sell for $8,000 to $10,000 can bring $200,000 to $300,000 now.''

Holyfield, like Larsen, said he didn't consider the tax implications of selling items now rather than after the first of the year.

``This is something new to me,'' the former heavyweight champion said.

But the auction houses say the tax issues come up in the planning.

``As players get older, they certainly don't know what's going to happen with an estate tax, and I guess they figure they'd rather have it sold now than after they're passed and lose an unknown percentage,'' Goldin said.

And it extends beyond the sports sales.

``We've had other people, not just athletes, but we've had other celebrity personalities talk to us about that because it is an issue,'' Julien said.

In Gill's calculation, tax changes next year could push the rate on proceeds from these sales from 28 percent to 33 percent. In addition to the Medicare tax and the possibility of higher tax brackets, there could be a limitation on itemized deductions for higher-income people.

``I might just hurry up and sell it right now,'' Gill said. ``Anything you would be selling in the near term, hurry up and sell in December.''


AP Basketball Writer Jim O'Connell and AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.

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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.


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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

Of the Wizards' players set to hit free agency on June 30, one who has a good chance to return is point guard Tomas Satoransky. He and center Thomas Bryant are atop the team's priority list with Bobby Portis likely too expensive and Jabari Parker set to enter the market unrestricted.

Satoransky will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Wizards can match any offers made by other teams. And in talking to members of the Wizards' coaching staff and front office, they speak of Satoransky like he is part of their future.

Still, nothing can be assumed and especially in a year in which many teams have money to spend. As Kevin O'Connor of the Ringer noted this week, there is more cap room available this summer than the previous two combined. That could lead to 2016-level contracts where role players get paid like starters and average starters get paid like stars.

What will make Satoransky's market interesting, though, is the fact there are some much bigger names available at his position. At point guard, teams with the most money can go after All-Stars like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell. There is then a robust second tier that includes Malcolm Brogdon, Terry Rozier and Ricky Rubio. Then you have Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Patrick Beverley, Darren Collison and Rajon Rondo.

It is a great year to be a free agent, but maybe not the best year to be a free agent point guard. The position class is absolutely loaded.

Satoransky, though, will still draw plenty of interest and among the teams expected to check in on him are the Mavericks, Pacers, Magic and Celtics, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Celtics have already been tied to Satoransky by Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. But they also have their sights set on some of the bigger fish at point guard with rumors linking them to Walker, in particular.

The Utah Jazz were also set to pursue Satoransky, but their trade for Mike Conley Jr. has taken them off the list. The Phoenix Suns could also emerge as a suitor, though they are being linked to higher profile free agents at this point.

Both the Wizards and Satoransky expressed interest in a contract extension midway through the 2018-19 season, as NBC Sports Washington reported, but those talks didn't get much further. The Wizards ended up putting a lot of things on hold once they drifted out of the playoff race and ultimately fired team president Ernie Grunfeld.

With senior vice president Tommy Sheppard serving in the interim, though, Satoransky has a big proponent calling the shots in the Wizards front office. Sheppard scouted Satoransky before the Wizards drafted him and was key in convincing him to leave Europe for the NBA.

Satoransky likes playing in Washington and recognizes an opportunity at point guard with John Wall set to miss most of next season due to Achilles surgery. But he also recognizes this as a chance to earn the biggest payday of his career.

How much money Satoransky will ultimately receive is hard to predict. Those in his camp are apprehensive to throw numbers out there because even they aren't sure.

One potential comparison could be Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who makes just over $9 million per year. Though VanVleet is arguably better, Satoransky is hitting the market with more money to go around. 

Many have tried to project Satoransky's market in the past few months. Soon we will find out just how valuable he is.