As you guys know, the Yankees – led by A.J. Burnett – decided to autograph and then auction off the original WWE championship belt that was passed around the clubhouse and awarded to that day’s player of the game. The proceeds would go to Camp Sundown, a year-round camp in upstate New York for kids suffering from Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), a rare genetic disease which causes the body to be unable to repair cells damaged by UV light. You might remember that the Yankees welcomed Camp Sundown to the Stadium for a late-night visit during HOPE Week.
Well, the auction is complete now and I thought you might like to know what happened. The winner was Mark Boynton, who along with his fiance bid an amazing $9,400 for the belt. I had an e-mail exchange with Mark today to find out what prompted him to be so generous, and this is what he wrote:
I am a lifelong fan. My fiancé, born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, knew zero about baseball and the Yankees until we started dating but now is a huge fan. This season has been special for us personally, including going to the first game at the new stadium, and special for the team as they once again win the AL East and make their run at number 27. … This team has found a chemistry and camaraderie that feels like the late 90’s.
The belt was one of the first and most visible signs. It’s a really special, one of a kind piece of Yankees history. Then you actually have the signatures of the players including some of the greatest Yankees ever to play! On top of all that, the proceeds go to a great charity in the middle of one of the worst giving climates in economic history. We talked about it and decided we would forego some other things and instead, go for the belt! The last minute bidding was nerve-wracking!
We don’t have kids so our plan right now is to stare like goofy school kids at this very special, instant heirloom and then eventually donate it to Cooperstown or the Yankees organization. … I don’t know what else to say other than it’s really special and we’re thrilled and honored to receive it.
Thanks to Mark for his generosity, and for sharing his story with us. Game post coming in a few hours.