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BABE WAXPAK/SPORTS COLLECTIBLES: Baker has been on wrong end

by BABE WAXPAK Scripps Howard News Service on March 17, 2013 2:10 AM

Dear Babe: I have a baseball signed by Dusty Baker in the spot between the two parallel seams with “1999” after it.

— P.R., Palo Cedro, Calif.

Baker has had a couple of solid 19-year careers — first as a player and now as a manager. He collected nearly 2,000 hits and swatted 243 homers. A three-time All-Star, he was in three World Series, earning a ring with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981.

As a manager he has had another solid career with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. He’s gotten all three into the playoffs, winning a pennant with the 2002 Giants.

Unfortunately, he’s been on the wrong end of major collapses with all three teams. The 2002 Giants were nine outs away from a World Series win against the Los Angeles Angels in 2002, leading 5-0 in the seventh. Scott Spezio blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh and the Angels scored in the eighth to win 6-5.

In 1993, the Cubs were at home with a 3-1 lead over the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series. The Cubs were leading 3-0 in the eighth inning — just five outs away from their first World Series since 1945. That’s when Steve Bartman, a fan, reached for the foul ball (along with others), denying Cubs outfielder Moises Alou a chance to reach into the stands to make a play.

The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning and won the game 8-3. The series shifted to Miami and the Marlins won two more, denying the Cubs the long-awaited return to the World Series.

As for value, a single-signed Baker baseball is selling for $25-$50 in auctions.

o o o

Dear Babe: I have a 1992 Dream Team framed poster signed by Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. The poster includes pictures of other players, but only the three signatures. The framed poster is roughly 38x26 inches.

The insignias at the bottom are “Licensed Olympic Product USA Basketball” and “Starline, Inc. 1992.” Also in the poster are John Stockton, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley. It’s in good condition.

— Bill Brenneman, Canyon Lake, Calif.

The big question is the authenticity of the signatures. If they are real, the poster is worth around $500-$1,000, according to said David Kohler, president of, and Mike Heffner, president of

However, Heffner wasn’t so sure the signatures were authentic. He said the “slant, formation, etc. are off. I could see it even from the distant photo.”

If you plan to sell it, you’ll need to have it authenticated.

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