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    Auction Finds

    An MLB All-Star Boot for an over-the-top fan

    The boot was as big as John Wayne’s image as a symbol of the western cowboy. It stood boldly – all five feet of it in red, white and sky blue colors – in a room filled with other sports memorabilia waiting for a soon-to-start sale.

    Before I arrived at the auction house, I had scanned the sports items online looking for a Jackie Robinson or other vintage African American ballplayer but found none of their stuff. I did not recall seeing the oversized boot, probably because on the web it appeared small in the photos.

    But here in this place among other less-than-vintage items, it was not to be missed. The boot was almost as tall as me and pretty wide, its colors seemingly as bright as the day it was painted. The word “Angels” – for the Anaheim Angels – was printed across the instep, along with the letter “A” on the sides.

    Annaheim Angels All-Star Boot

    An up-close view of the Annaheim Angels All-Star Boot.

    For those like me who had no idea of the “what and why” of this behemoth, someone had placed near it a press release outlining its history and significance.

    It was one of 33 created for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 75th annual All-Star Game in Houston in 2004. They represented the league’s 30 teams, plus three more for the National League, the American League and the All-Star Game itself. The 5-foot-high All-Star Boots, each weighing 300 pounds, were displayed throughout the city before the game.

    The boots were to be auctioned later that month, and I can only assume that some lucky person won the bid on this Angels boot and was now unloading it. The auction-house’s description for the boot mentioned that all of the items in the sports sale belonged to one owner.

    Annaheim Angels All-Star Boot

    A side view of the Annaheim Angels All-Star Boot shows the team’s logo.

    The boot (62 ½” high and 60″ wide) came with no certificate of authenticity but was accompanied by a letter regarding shipment from the organization selling it.

    In 2004, the opening bid on each boot was $2,500. Proceeds from the sale were to be used to maintain Houston’s Main Street Square through the Astros in Action Foundation.

    MLB’s tradition of public statues to hype the game and represent the host city began around 2003 with bobbleheads for the All-Star Game in Chicago, according to the owner of Forever Collectibles, an MLB licensee that makes the statues. There, 35 bobbleheads measuring 6 feet tall were placed around the city. The idea came from a program that displays artfully painted fiberglass cows in conspicuous locations in various cities, the maker told SportsBusiness Journal last year.

    However, I found that Atlanta has 6-foot-tall team baseballs that were made for the 2000 game. They are on display in Monument Grove at Turner Field.

    Annaheim Angels All-Star Boot

    The front of the Annaheim Angels All-Star Boot.

    Some of the others: Mickey Mouse in Anaheim and Southern California (2010). Cactus in Phoenix (2011). Gateway arch in St. Louis (2009). Apples in New York City (2013). These were said to be the most popular. Five years before, the city had Statue of Liberty statues. Charles Schultz’s Peanuts characters in Minneapolis, the cartoonist hometown (2014). For three years, the statues were not produced.

    In 2012, the MLB auctioned a slew of the statues and other items, with a starting bid of $500. I can only assume that these were leftovers from earlier auctions. A San Francisco Giants boot sold for $900 at auction in 2011.

    Those who don’t want a full-size statue can buy smaller versions for less than $40. Or they could’ve gotten the real thing at the auction of the Angels boot. It sold for only $50.

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