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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Is Ozzie Smith wrong to sell off his memorabilia?

With the retirement of Tony La Russa, it was assumed the long-standing frosty relationship between Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and the St. Louis Cardinals would move into the background, with Smith being more visible at Busch Stadium.

It seems that is the case, as The Wizard will be throwing out the first pitch for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night. His son Nikko will sing the National Anthem.

Yet there is a new controversy surrounding Smith. He has decided to auction off 100 pieces of memorabilia from his Hall of Fame career, including his 13 Gold Gloves and World Series rings from 2006 and 2011. The latter two items were gifts from the Cardinals.

The explanation is that Smith has initiated this action through SCP Auctions for “estate and family planning.”

Along with his Gold Gloves and World Series rings, Smith is selling his 1989 Lou Gehrig Award plaque, his 1995 Roberto Clemente Award trophy, the glove he wore in his final game, Cardinals National League championship rings from 1985 and 2004 and 11 All-Star Game rings.

Though his playing reputation was built on his fielding, Smith had become a much-improved hitter as well. In the restaurant world, however, he has taken two strikes.

Much of the memorabilia to be sold was once on display at his restaurant, Ozzie’s Restaurant & Sports Bar. Ozzie’s original Westport Plaza location closed three years ago.

Smith had been involved a legal wrangle with a competitor that opened in the same center. Ozzie’s claimed to have lost revenue because Pujols 5 allegedly went against its lease and opened a facility similar to Ozzie’s. Pujols 5 has since been renamed the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Grill.

In 2010, Ozzie’s Restaurant and Sports Bar reopened on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis, only to close again.

This isn’t the first time a former Cardinals Hall of Famer brought his collection to auction. For example, in 2009, both Bob Gibson and Lou Brock sold a number of significant items from their playing careers.

The still-closed Cardinals museum purchased four items from the Gibson collection, which may finally go on public display if/when Ballpark Village becomes a reality.

Based on reaction after I tweeted about Smith’s plans to throw out the first pitch in Game 4, some people are upset with his auction decision. It will be interesting to listen for any negative reaction when Smith is announced on Thursday night.

What do you think?

What is your reaction to Ozzie Smith’s plans to auction off his memorabilia?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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30 Responses to “Is Ozzie Smith wrong to sell off his memorabilia?”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    An easy poll. Its Ozzie’s stuff. He earned it. Ozzie gets to choose what to do with Ozzie’s stuff.

  2. blingboy says:

    Should the Cards win the WS in 2012 no point sending Ozzie a ring. Just an envelope of cash. Maybe pass a collection plate around the clubhouse.

    • Nutlaw says:

      Yeah, if the recipient doesn’t value these awards, what worth do they truly have? I mean, sure, someone will pay for it, but it’s just a bunch of hunks of metal. Ozzie is certainly within his rights to sell this stuff, but shame on anyone for buying it.

  3. CariocaCardinal says:

    Evidently a trend as Bobby Knight is selling off his championship rings, Olympic gold medal, and other stuff. Says it is to pay for his grandkid’s college education but that is something a few speeches would pay for. Of course he is also estranged from the institution where heearned his things also. but supposedly John havlicek has said he will do the same and I dont think he is on the outs with the Celtics (but he might actually need the money)

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Athletes are not Egyptian pharaohs of yore. Nobody is going to build a pyramid with a burial vault stuffed full of Gold Gloves, to be discovered by Indiana Jones in a few thousand years.
    Today’s ballers are recyclers. They recycle their precious treasures to the public. Fittingly, just like free agents go to the highest bidder during their playing days, so too will the Gold Gloves and such.

  5. blingboy says:

    crdswmn needs some cheering up so here’s an exerpt from the Riverfront Times 2012 Sports Media Power Rankings.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, Strauss is an 11 — in his book. Do we hate him because he’s an asshole, or do we love him because he’s an asshole? The answer depends on whether we’re in the mood for anal.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Its refreshing to see such candor in this place. Here’s Joe. What is he being?

      Even for the darkened awareness of a life long “homer”, Joe impresses……….the smell of cigars and cherry, and a moment with a very powerful man, Joe manages to frame the truth………. Its not whether BD is full of ====,…….. its the reason he comes forward in the relative quiet of a home playoff win, to do a little politicking…………. Joe frames all the contradictions without red flagging anything……….”a really open mind”………… “Mike knew what we wanted to do with this organization”………..

      David Freese has passed again through the Mark McGwire cycle. He may be dumb, be he isn’t stupid…………. Craig has morphed into a travesty of vulnerabilities……… a pitchers delight…… absolutely no signs of adjusting………… how can that be????????? Jay is in the grove now….take that first strike……get jammed…..don’t chase away…..get out……. its like a nightmare……… Holiday is a wreck at the plate……… he won’t adjust…..because everyone understands the shy child’s pain….. Yadi’s funk is always hard to reason……. the loosey goosey long uppercuts show his lack of interest almost……….. Descalso hit a bad mistake out, follows with a must swing first pitch hit………and rides his fame back into the endless career speculations of the power hitting 2nd baseman……. Matt Carpenter is now such a power hitter…..that pitch Cain threw him the only possible pitch he could hit out…..death wish…….. he will live it for weeks……… but we win off our pitching……… and BD has plenty…….. these players, aside from Freese will never sign long term…………. or for much…….. BD is the luckiest man alive……..maybe………… he has their replacements lining up for the minimum and everyone clamoring for their arrival ………… he probably likes this approach…… a powerful man in a “fixed” market place ……….. and I couldn’t be more happy for him at this point……. the guy is a winner……….to bad you all are the game……….

      • STLfan51 says:

        Westy….Thanks for the great read. I think you put way too much thought into trying to sound “in the know”. Could it be that BD is a shrewd businessman, nothing more, nothing less? He has the men to do his work, in place. And those men are GREAT at what they do. From the GM, to scouts, to instructors, to coaches, to Managers and the players. From rookie ball to The Show the baseball people are fantastic top to bottom. His role as the Owner is to put these men there and let them do their thing. That is it. He has no “master plan”, no hidden agenda, no devious plot laid out that only you can see. We are not gullible pawns in his world. As the Owner he is doing his thing and yes, he is very lucky. But come off the bullshit theories, as we are not pawns in your fantasy world either. We are fans of the St Louis Cardinals, the winningest franchise in the National League, nothing more nothing less.

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          Cards take a different approach at the plate last night? McGwire have a change of heart? or was there an intervention? Matt got a couple of hits, rolled one through and got one out of the infield to right center….cool..couldn’t do it from 4 or 5 or 6?
          John Jay is back. Going middle and OPO kind of sets you up to go deep doesn’t it. Molina attack the center? Got him an inside pitch to pull for the DBL didn’t it. Alan went center, got a sac fly and a hit. Good for him. He ran the bases like a hero. Moved around the outfield just fine. Not like some old man limping everywhere, as has been his mindset for weeks. Kozma can hit. Matheny going to go two lefties to open against Zito. Oh yeah, Matt Carpenter helped us get here, and laterally disappeared for reasons other than baseball. Is Beltran going to limp back in? or rest up for the trip to SF, or the series? Why would they press his return? What are you going to see tonight?

          Considering, once again how successful an offense this is, when they aren’t following the “power move”, you would think they would do a little more of it. It will take “small ball” to beat Verlander should that come to pass. We should really avoid a trip to SF if we can. That stadium atmosphere is dangerous. They could get on a roll like they did against the Reds if we help them. Same approach tonight? Or are we going to over swing against Zito like we did earlier in the year? Oh yeah, Carpenter spend his batting practice trying to step in farther? sooner? ya think? Adam and Yadi had a great evening.

          Cardinals went against their own scouting reports last night. All those outside pitches suddenly put into play. Matt Carpenter even got out to one from his opens stance. That was the game plan. IF that is a game plan……..then the opposite philosophy of laying off, only inner half, is likely true. McGwire invalidate himself? Or was there an intervention? And why doesn’t it happen more often….what ever the F’ing case is? You guys are getting something beyond your capacities. Learn to observe. And yes, of course I cheat.

      • blingboy says:

        I feel like Drew in the dueling banjos scene.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Pete Kozma reminds me of David Eckstein. Eck went up the ladder in the Red Sox organization. He hit well until AAA. After one season at AAA, the Red Sox out and out released him, as a no prospect. The Angels snapped him up and he went on to help them to the WS in 2002 and the Cards to a crown in 2006 over the Detroit Tigers.
    The similarity is how each was mis-underestimated, to use an word of President Dubya. Eckstein was released, while many Cards fans assumed Kozma did not have what it takes to perform in the majors. It turns out, however, Kozma is well rounded, can run a little, field a demanding position, and drive in runs.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    In a perfect world, Beltran would be able to start tonight. But his knee must be sore, so they are giving him more time for this soreness to ease.
    When Beltran is not playable, the Cards are fortunate to have an able hitter off the bench in the person of Matt Carpenter.
    If we could get 3 off Matt Cain, we could get more off Lincecum. But we shall have to wait to see what will unfold in mere reality.

  8. blingboy says:

    Craig in RF

    1. Jon Jay (L) CF
    2. Matt Carpenter (L) 1B
    3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    4. Allen Craig (R) RF
    5. Yadier Molina (R) C
    6. David Freese (R) 3B
    7. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
    8. Pete Kozma (R) SS
    9. Adam Wainwright (R) P

  9. blingboy says:

    Wonder how the Giants org feels about paying Lincecum $22M next year.

  10. Nutlaw says:

    Liking how this game is going so far. Not overly intimidated by a potential series against the Tigers, but maybe 2006 stays too firmly in my mind.

  11. Kansasbirdman says:

    Tim McCarver can’t pronounce Descalso

  12. Kansasbirdman says:

    Is it a psychological tactic to leave Waino the starter in? To say it’s the 7th and you haven’t yet gotten to our starter? MM could go to the ‘pen.

  13. Kansasbirdman says:

    Blood of M Carp’s elbow. And no gloves to boot. 🙂

    On-air guys saying his offseason homework is to learn 2nd base.

  14. Kansasbirdman says:

    Z Waino looking good (k.o.w.)

  15. Kansasbirdman says:

    White Stripes’ colors are red and white

  16. Kansasbirdman says:


  17. JumboShrimp says:

    Went well tonight. Holliday, Molina, and Jay having good at bats, to help Pete, Matt, and Adam.
    If Lincecom was their 4th best starter, it will be nice to see Moneybags Zito tomorrow.

  18. CariocaCardinal says:

    i love it when Westie trashes our offense – it guarantees a big night at the plate!

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