Rare card experience, legends dinner up for auction

Rare card experience, legends dinner up for auction

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- When the D-backs were trying to decide what unique experiences they could offer for the Play Ball Charity Auction, the idea of allowing someone to hold the rarest and most expensive baseball card in history -- the Honus Wagner T-206 -- was suggested to managing general partner Ken Kendrick.

The Wagner card is part of Kendrick's collection, which was recently on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

"No," Kendrick said when he was asked. "Let's make it even better than that."

So in addition to having his or her photo taken holding the card, the winner will also receive two premium seats to either a D-backs Spring Training or regular-season game, a round of golf at Talking Stick Resort, the opportunity to watch batting practice on the field and two nights in a Phoenix hotel.

That package is one of the three the D-backs are putting up for auction; the other two are also unique experiences.

There is lunch with new manager Torey Lovullo, which also includes a tour of Chase Field, the opportunity to sit in on Lovullo's pregame media conference and being on the field to watch batting practice along with a pair of dugout box seats.

The final auction item is a chance to have dinner with a pair of D-backs legends. The winning bidder will join Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez, whose single in the bottom of the ninth inning won Game 7 of the 2001 World Series for Arizona. In addition to dinner, the winner will be able to have his or her picture taken with the pair, along with the 2001 World Series trophy, and will receive two dugout box seats.

The proceeds benefit youth baseball and softball in Little Ferry, N.J., which is the hometown of former Mets senior director of media relations Shannon Forde.

Forde lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this year, and the funds from the auction will help in building a field in her name that will ensure her legacy lives on forever.

"I think the cool thing about this is even people like Ken Kendrick, Torey, Randy and Gonzo, who didn't personally know Shannon, recognize what she meant to the game and the people in it," D-backs senior vice president of communications Josh Rawitch said. "These unique experiences that teams are putting up for auction are things you usually can't buy."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.