World’s most expensive sod and dirt

March 13, 2009 -  By

By: Ron Hall

Would you pay $6,000 for a patch of sod? A bit rich for you in these uncertain economic times?

How about a paltry $80 for a freeze-dried piece of grass in a coin-shaped display?

I don’t know about you, but my limit for sports memorabilia is somewhere in the neighborhood of $20, but generally a bit south of that even. Yes, I have my share of bobbleheads, a couple of signed baseballs, and autographed photographs of my favorite athletes, Cleveland Indians players like Bob Feller or “Sudden Sam” McDowell and a half dozen or so Detroit Tigers from the 1968 World Championship squad, a team that grabbed my heart and my attention like no other before or since. (Ok, the 1979-1980 Cleveland Browns, aka Cardiac Kids came close.)

But, I’ve never been tempted to buy dirt, not even from now-gone Tiger Stadium, the ballpark of my boyhood dreams.

That’s why I’m calling the latest money making scheme by the New York Yankees — selling off bits and pieces of the old Yankee Stadium, which was built in 1923 — a real doozy.

The Yankees, who opened this season in a new $1.5 billion ballpark, recently paid the City of New York $11.5 million for the right to sell all memorabilia from the old Yankee Stadium. This includes the sod and dirt at the stadium that, considering a ballpark is about two acres, is a lot of sod and dirt.

It’s not known yet how the sale of the memorabilia, including the sod and dirt , is going yet. It’s too soon to say. The sale was just announced May 11.   But the nostalgia for old ballparks is huge, and the Yankees wouldn’t put up $11.5 million if they didn’t expect to recoup their investment and more from the 85-year-old Bronx fixture, which saw its last game Sept. 21, 2008.

So, if you’re interested, break out your credit cards because here’s what’s being offered in the sod and dirt category anyway:

•  1 X 1-ft. piece of sod, $120

•  2 X 2-ft. piece of sod, $280

•  Assorted patches of sod between home plate and the pitchers mound, $6,000

•  “Authentic sod” from the Yankees logo behind home plate, $50,000

It turns out that selling dirt from famous old sports stadiums is a big business. Apparently, there are at least four companies that license sod and dirt through MLB’s authentication program.

In the case of the old Yankee Stadium, some of the sod is available in coin-shaped containers (the $80 value deal), according to Bloomberg News, which reported that that it came from different locations on the field just after the final game. It was put in buckets, sealed, marked with a hologram, transported to a warehouse where an authenticator unsealed the buckets and watched as it was placed into the containers for sale.

I guess I view this Yankee Stadium dirt just like I view the home run baseballs that folks trample each other to get — regardless of the particular milestone it might signify.

To me anyway, it’s just a baseball; it’s just dirt.

“Yankees Offer the Real Dirt on Stadium Memorabilia for $80,” by Mason Levinson and Michael Buteau, Bloomberg.com

LM Staff

About the Author:

Comments are currently closed.