Human beings are trying to make the world a better place. Money should not be all that matters. When we leave this place, others should be able, upon asking about us, to be honest with them. They should not be content to simply offer platitudes but should be more concerned about how we treat others. We all have bills. The electric company, the mortgage lender, and the cell phone provider don't care how good we do, they just want our monthly money. Only a few people on the planet will receive enough money to cover their obligations.
This happened to Byron Kennedy. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady completed an touchdown pass to Mike Evans, wide receiver, on Sunday to give them a 21-0 lead over the Chicago Bears. This touchdown pass was the career number one. Brady was the only NFL quarterback to surpass 600. Evans didn't think about history when he caught the first of three touchdown passes of the day. Evans gave the ball to the fan, and was shocked when he discovered the significance of it.
What was the value of that ball? Let's begin at the top end of sports memorabilia. Matt Murphy retrieved Barry Bonds record-setting 756th home run in 2007. Marc Ecko bought the ball for $752,467. Baseball memorabilia is more popular than other sports memorabilia, and the home run record was the most well-known.
It is Tom Brady. Nobody has ever thrown for 600 touchdowns and it is possible that someone else will. People don't usually get footballs as souvenirs. The players do not give out important footballs to fans. Ken Goldin, of Goldin Auctions, said that the ball could have sold for $500,000 and this isn't like the Super Bowl LI jersey theft. Kennedy was literally handed the ball by Evans. It was his.
Brady was able to be generous with Kennedy, and the Buccaneers staff responded quickly. Brady was able to get the ball back after a negotiation on the field. The Buccaneers presented Kennedy with a $1,000 gift certificate to their team store. TB12 Sports also offered Kennedy a free session as a body coach.
Kennedy isn't the only one to give the souvenir back. Albert Pujols, then the designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, scored his 600th career homer in 2017. Scott Steffel, unlike Murphy, was able to get the ball and went out on the field with Pujols after the game interview. Steffel was invited to Angels Stadium later to throw the first pitch.
Ely Hydes was the one who retrieved Pujols' 2000th RBI ball in Detroit in 2019. The prized memorabilia was not returned immediately by Ely Hydes, but the ball was eventually given to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
It is an admirable act to give the ball back the professional athlete. The athlete, who has worked tirelessly over a lifetime to create the ball, will be the most grateful. However, it is not like athletes don't get proper compensation for these milestones. They get trophies, money and free meals.
They can do what they want with these memorabilia, but Kennedy should have been the Buccaneers' better half. Kennedy should have been given a free membership by TB12 Sports and told that they would make his face and body age like Bradys.