Honus Wagner card sells for $2.1 million at auction

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Big news in the baseball card world.

Dan Good of the New York Post reports that the famous 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner card was sold at an auction this morning for $2.1 million. The buyer’s identity is unknown. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, this is a new record price for a card in a public sale, topping the $1.6 million price paid for the same card back in 2008.

“My overall goal on the T206 Wagner from the start was to set a record for a trading card auction,” said Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions, which auctioned the card. “My auction house set a new record by close to $500,000.”

Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick paid $2.8 million in 2008 for a T206 Wagner — the same card once owned by hockey great Wayne Gretzky —  but that was in a private sale.

Widely regarded as the hobby’s most coveted card, it’s believed there were only several dozen T206 Wagners in existence. The series was distributed in cigarette packs, but the Wagner cards were pulled for an unknown reason. Some say Wagner didn’t want to encourage children to smoke, but others believe that he wasn’t happy about not being paid by the card manufacturer.

Some of the other items up for bid included a signed Wagner baseball, a bat used by Derek Jeter in the 2001 World Series and a duplicate of Alex Rodriguez’s 2009 World Series ring which was put up for auction by his cousin, Yuri Sucart.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.