It’s been nearly a dozen years since Bret Saberhagen last pitched in the major leagues, but he still has a burning desire to win.
Saberhagen recognized this when he decided to auction off much of his personal memorabilia at an online site that also features other former athletes.
“I still have that competitive fire in me,” Saberhagen said, “so to have Steve Garvey and Rollie Fingers and (John) Havlicek and a few other guys with stuff up on the auction, I slip from mine to theirs to see who’s doing better.”
Saberhagen amassed a treasure trove of memorabilia in a 16-year career that began in 1984 with the Royals. In eight seasons with the Royals, he won 110 games, two Cy Young awards and was a big part of the 1985 World Series championship team.
After being traded to the Mets, he also pitched with the Rockies and Red Sox, making the playoffs with the latter two teams. All told, he won 167 games.
Saberhagen initially rebuffed an offer to sell the items, but he realized that most of his collection was gathering dust in a storage unit. Now, proceeds from the sale will go to his charitable foundation and his four children.
The auction, conducted at SCPAuctions.com, concludes Saturday and includes 77 items, including Saberhagen’s 1985 World Series MVP trophy, his World Series ring, his Gold Glove Award and his Cy Young Awards.
There also are items from other players: a game-used autographed David Cone Royals jersey, a Cal Ripken Jr. signed batting helmet and signed jerseys from Bo Jackson, Ozzie Smith and Mo Vaughn.
And there are eclectic mementos like his high school basketball and baseball jerseys.
“I didn’t open everything up and go through the stuff before they (the auction company) got there,” Saberhagen said. “So it was pretty cool because they were like little kids in a candy shop, opening up all these boxes and unwrapping the paper and they’d come across whatever it might be and (say) ‘Aw, this is great.’
“It was kind of fun to watch.”
Saberhagen said it wasn’t difficult to part with any of it, although he gave his four children a chance to take what they wanted.
“It was a little tough for my mom more than anybody,” he said. “She said basically said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I said, ‘Mom, what’s this stuff going to do? I’m going to eventually pass away and it’s all going to be sitting in boxes.’
“Now it’s great, because somebody who really wants it is going to be able to cherish it and do what they want with it. So I’m excited about whoever ends up getting this stuff.”
Plus, he’s happy to help out his kids and The Bret Saberhagen Makes A Difference Foundation.
“It’s geared toward youth,” Saberhagen said of his foundation. “I’ve done everything from donating to autism, juvenile diabetes, did some stuff from Katrina for some schools back there that needed school supplies. Done stuff for little league youth organizations. So I’ve done some different things, but it’s always geared toward youth. It’s not any one thing I do all the time. It changes up.”