Dallas Braden's perfect game a perfect time to buy souvenirs

Dallas Braden perfect game Oakland A'sFor the 12,228 fans at Sunday's perfect game by Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden, they already have their memories and a ticket stub as souvenir of the 19th perfect game in Major League Baseball history.

But for anyone looking to make a buck from this perfect game, where 27 Tampa Bay hitters went hitless and didn't get on base, now is the opportunity to find a ticket and either sell it fast or hold on to it and sell as part of a package with a photo of Braden or better yet, an autograph of the pitcher.

Of course, MLB is already doing what it can to commemorate Braden's perfect game. Pink bats that are the same as the players used on Mother's Day are on sale, and some of the bats used in the game are expected to be auctioned by the league.

Also, tickets in Section 209 are half price (209 is the Stockton area code where Braden lives), Braden's No. 51 jerseys are expected to be big sellers, and a Jackie Robinson jersey that Braden signed is going for $500 so far at auction.

Jay Goldklang, owner of Gold Standard Collectibles, told WalletPop in an e-mail: "I would value a ticket or ticket stub from Dallas Bradens perfect game at approximately $50, though it may go for as much as $100 in the next couple of weeks simply because his perfect game just occurred and is a hot topic right now. I'd compare it to Mark Buerhles perfect game ticket/stub from last year. It is nowhere near the $500-$1,000 that a Don Larsen 1956 World Series Game 5 perfect game ticket might command, depending on condition, nor is Dallas Braden a Koufax or Hunter-type pitcher."

David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, puts the range a little higher. "The ticket would probably be in the $50-$100 range," Kohler told WalletPop in an e-mail. "Obviously, the memorabilia from Braden would be worth more. His jersey, his hat, maybe the last out ball, that would be something that even the Hall of Fame is after and usually asks the player for."

After the last perfect game, on July 23, 2009, the Chicago White Sox sold a limited number of unsold tickets from Mark Buehrle's perfect game before 28,036 fans, putting the stadium at 69% of capacity. The remaining tickets, most of which were in the upper deck, sold for $23 to $57 as souvenirs.

It's unknown yet if the A's plan to do the same from Sunday's game, but there should be a lot more tickets available for resale than what the White Sox had. The Oakland Coliseum has a capacity of 34,077 because most of the third deck and the upper deck behind the outfield is closed for baseball. That leaves 21,849 empty seats, or tickets, that could have been sold. It's a good idea to keep an eye on the A's website for the next few days to see if unsold tickets from Braden's perfect game go on sale.

A full ticket from Buehrle's perfect game is on sale on eBay for $129, although it's unknown if the $44 face value ticket will sell for that much. Almost a year later, Buehrle is still autographing copies of the Sports Illustrated magazine cover he was on, with a signed copy going for $99 on eBay.

Another area to consider buying now to catch the perfect game fever is to buy Braden's baseball card and get him to autograph it. As one of only 19 pitchers to throw perfect games, his card could take off. His rookie card is $31, according to one website, but it may be cheaper it areas outside of Northern California.

Catfish Hunter
, the last A's pitcher to throw a perfect game, on May 8, 1968, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame and died of Lou Gehrig's Disease in 1999, so the high price of a baseball card autographed by him is understandable.

Maybe Alex Rodriguez will become a Braden fan now.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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