'Buckner ball' owner revealed (you know him)

November 26th, 2020

NEW YORK -- The most significant baseball in Mets history is returning home to Flushing.

In a wide-ranging interview with SNY’s Steve Gelbs that aired on Wednesday, new Mets owner Steve Cohen revealed he owns the ball that Mookie Wilson hit through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Now that Cohen owns the team as well, he said he plans to move the ball into the Mets Museum at Citi Field.

“It’s a great moment in Met history,” Cohen said.

For some time, Cohen has hinted on Twitter that he owns the Buckner ball, though he never outright said it. That changed when Gelbs asked about Cohen’s interest in baseball memorabilia given his prolific art collection, which is reportedly worth more than $1 billion. Cohen moved off camera to grab the mud-stained Buckner ball, which is signed by Wilson, stamped with the 1986 World Series logo and inscribed with the words: “The ball won it for us.”

According to the Associated Press, umpire Ed Montague picked up the ball after it rolled through Buckner’s legs, marked it with an “X,” then gave it to longtime Mets executive Arthur Richman. Wilson later signed it and made the inscription.

In 1992, actor Charlie Sheen purchased the ball for more than $93,000, per the AP, before selling it eight years later to Los Angeles songwriter Seth Swirsky for close to $64,000. In 2012, Swirsky sold the ball to a buyer who wished to be anonymous -- Cohen, as it turns out.

Cohen told SNY that when he found out the ball was up for auction, his business associate Andy Cohen suggested it would cost between $100,000 and $150,000. Steve Cohen told him to purchase it, and when Andy Cohen did so for more than $410,000, his boss “was not happy” about the escalated price.

“But I’m happy now,” Cohen added.

His ownership of the ball provides further evidence of how deep Cohen’s fandom runs. At his introductory press conference earlier this month, he said he grew up attending Mets games with his father at the Polo Grounds. As a teenager, he took the train from Long Island to watch countless others from the upper deck at Shea Stadium.

Since taking over as owner, Cohen has interacted almost daily with Mets fans on Twitter and promised to take their suggestions to heart. To that end, he indicated during the SNY interview that he plans to bring back the Mets’ popular black jerseys on certain occasions in the future.

“I’m a baseball fan,” Cohen said. “My family is Mets fans, great baseball fans. It’s going to be a family effort here, and we’re all very excited.”