Thursday, May 26, 2022

Colts owner Jim Irsay pays $50K for baseball signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has purchased countless collectibles over the years, from a Jackie Robinson-signed bat to a Fender guitar used by Kurt Cobain. On Wednesday, he reportedly paid $50,103 for another addition to his collection: a baseball signed by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. 

A portion of the sale will go toward a Ukrainian relief fund, Irsay tweeted Thursday morning. According to TMZ, that portion is over $15,000.

The ball features Zelensky’s last name – in Ukrainian cursive and English print – along with his signature and the MLB logo. It comes with a letter signed by Ukrainian diplomat Volodymyr Yelchenko, who gifted the ball to government affairs specialist Randy L. Kaplan. According to his website, Kaplan has collected signed baseballs from world leaders and heads of state since then-President Bill Clinton gave him one in 1996.  

A total of 35 bids were placed on the ball, leading it to rise well above its projected sale price of $15,000. 

Russia launched a full-scale military attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, and the war has persisted for over 10 weeks. The sports world has largely opposed the invasion through methods such as moving competitions from Russia and banning Russian athletes.

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