April 24, 2008
Jersey raises $175,100 for the Jimmy Fund
Big Papi's buried jersey goes from concrete to cancer-fighter
Jimmy Fund Chairman Mike Andrews (center) and Dana-Farber patients Ryan Reardon (left) and Jerry House unveil the jersey in the Jimmy Fund Red Sox Gallery at Dana-Farber.
The famed "Yankee curse" jersey that has been on eBay since last Thursday, sold this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. to Imperialcars.com president Kevin Meehan, of Mendon, Mass, who made the winning bid of $175,100. Over the course of the week, more than 1 million people visited the eBay site, 50,000 of whom added the jersey to their "watched item list." Bids came in from more than 19 states, and the jersey gained national attention when it was mentioned on the Today Show, the Early Show, and CNN.
Dana-Farber auctioned off the Red Sox shirt adorned with David Ortiz's name and famed No. 34 after it was discovered in two feet of concrete under the new Yankee Stadium on April 12.
Unveiled in Dana-Farber's Jimmy Fund Red Sox Gallery on April 17 by Jimmy Fund Chairman Mike Andrews, with help from two patients, the tattered shirt still carried concrete stains and jackhammer holes it acquired while being dug up last week. A construction worker who happens to be a Red Sox fan had secretly buried it in a service corridor behind what will be a restaurant at the new stadium as a way of cursing the Yankees. Although Yankees President Randy Levine ordered the jinxing jersey dug up, he knew of the special relationship between the Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – one of the team's official charities – so arranged for its delivery to Dana-Farber.
"The Red Sox and Yankees are huge rivals on the field, but one thing they always do is unite in the fight against cancer,” said Andrews, who as a former Red Sox second baseman knows the rivalry very well. "This is my 30th year with the Jimmy Fund, and there is no question this is the most unique fundraising opportunity we've had during that time."
Standing by Andrews' side as he took the shirt out to show assembled staff, patients, and media members were two people whose regular Dana-Farber treatment visits turned extraordinary when they were asked that morning to attend the ceremony: 8-year-old Ryan Reardon and 42-year-old Jerry House. "It was very exciting – very cool,” said Reardon, who wore his own Ortiz jersey to the event. He said the guys on his Little League team in Groveland, Mass., probably wouldn't believe he actually got to hold the famous shirt, but that he'd be sure they watched the news to see him. "What's so great is that we missed the World Series trophy by one day both times it came to visit Dana-Farber, so this really makes up for it,” said Reardon's mother, Norma Reardon.
House, a Reading, Mass. resident, was actually undergoing chemotherapy during the ceremony, and brought his nurse and IV pole with him. A huge Sox fan with three young sons at home, he wasn't about to miss this opportunity to be part of history. "When you're lying in bed recovering from chemo, it's great to know the Sox are on every night to help get you through,” he said.
Before the shirt is given to the winning bidder, it will spend a month starting April 18 where many more Red Sox fans can see it – at The Sports Museum. Located at TD Banknorth Garden, home of the Bruins and Celtics, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Local sports fans hope some of Big Papi's luck will rub off on both the Garden's teams, which are currently in the playoffs.
— Saul Wisnia