Honus Wagner card

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.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.