You probably remember Brad Ziegler as the submarine-style reliever who pitched 39 consecutive scoreless innings to begin his rookie season with the Oakland A's. But what you probably don't know about Ziegler, who pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks now, is that he is an avid baseball card collector. We only became aware of Ziegler's hobby after a tipster forwarded us an email correspondence that they had with Ziegler after he became interested in buying the tipster's autographed Babe Ruth card on eBay. We also became aware of the fact that when it comes to haggling over baseball card prices, Brad Ziegler is not to be fucked with.
Ziegler's correspondence with the tispter begins cordially:
What are you looking for for this? I'm interested, tho I'm a little skeptical of the autograph being cut off - Topps has a tendency to do that, which hurts the value (and since we can't see it, we don't know)... I'm willing to pay PayPal only - a triple threads card (cut auto, triple relic) like this that wasn't a redemption sold for $4500 on eBay at the end of last summer. Please let me know... Thanks!
As you may have noticed, the seller's eBay listing prices the card at almost $20,000, so the insinuation that the card is only worth $4,500 was not taken kindly:
The value of this card cannot be compared to others because it is the only one of its kind. I chose to sell the redemption to guarantee the condition of the actual card. I will be contacting Topps tomorrow to ask for a picture of the card. Regardless, I will not consider anything less than $12,000. We can discuss further if you are still interested. Thanks
Oh really? Well Brad Ziegler begs to differ, friend:
No one will ever pay you $12k for a Ruth cut auto - you can get his auto on a baseball for way less than that and it's not like his autos are rare. Popular? Sure, but not rare. A search on eBay will find you 20 of them at any time. Thanks for finally writing me back, and enjoy the card. If you lower your price, I'd be interested, but not at almost double the market value.
From this point, things escalate in a hurry. The two continue to go back and forth while transitioning from basic internet sniping to I-don-think-you-know-who-you're-dealing-with invective. It's stupid and delightful:
Seller: Thanks. I have done my research, but I do appreciate your input.
Ziegler: Yeah, you must've looked at cards sold in 2005 when everyone had lots of money and no fear of losing their job. For instance, look at eBay item# 310612337832.That's a 2013 1/1 dual cut auto of Ruth and Cobb that sold for less than $5k. And the seller took home pretty much right at $4000 after fees. I don't think adding Ruth's jersey relic to it is worth $8000 more than that card.
S: The great thing about America is that I can choose to sell for what I want, and you can choose to buy for what you want. If you don’t agree with the price of my card, then you can go buy one of the auto balls or cards that you suggested I look at. I have already gotten two offers greater than $9k so I am not at worried about selling the card. I hope you find what you are looking for. Thanks
Z: And if the card "can't be compared to others because it's the only one of its kind", then what good does research do. You can't research things that don't compare.
S: My point exactly. You can’t compare this card to other e-bay listings. My research was not done with e-bay alone, and I am confident in my asking price. Thanks
Z: One other thing I'm mindful of: there are 24 Ruth cut autos in products for 2013. I have 13 Ruth autos already - looking only for things I don't have. And I agree - you can ask whatever you want. But don't tell me research is the reason you set your price where it is then. All of your statements contradict previous ones.
S: You clearly know nothing about this card bc there is only one. It is not just auto, it is made with game used Babe Ruth material. Good luck with your collection, this is one card that certainly won't be in it. It is sad that you have this much time on your hand to argue with people about what they are selling on e-bay. Get a life my dear. Good night.
Z: Ah, yes...the life of a Major League Baseball player... So much time on my hands...I have 2 Ruth autos with jersey material also on the card and 1 booklet Ruth auto with bat relics on the other side of the book - I paid less than $9k for each of them. I'm not a novice. I've got a monster collection and I know the market without having to research it.
S: I don't care who you are, I have several friends who play baseball in the majors. I just don't understand why you are still arguing with me about this when you have made it clear you have no interest in the card. Thanks again for the advice, I am not being sarcastic. Luckily since there are several others just like this in the 2013 collection, you will be able to find another one in your price range.
Man! So many burns! We're not sure who to declare the winner of this spat, because we don't know anything about the world of sports memorabilia, and Ziegler declined to comment when we reached out to him. So let's just say the victor is whoever drives a car that is most similar to a Dodge Stratus.