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Yankee Stadium artifacts auction begins

Yankee Stadium artifacts auction begins

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera wants the battered bench from the Yankees' bullpen. Reggie Jackson would like to get his hands on his old locker where he dressed after hitting three home runs in a World Series game. Mike Mussina has a long request list and is not even really a collector.

Lots of people are going to want the seats that Derek Jeter dove into after catching a popup one fine evening against Boston. There will be sections of the white frieze available, and they are going to try to cut up the foul poles, which are filled with cement. You can have seats that you sat in, you can have seats Jeffrey Maier sat in, you can have Joe Torre's old desk.

You can have it all, or just about all of it. Demolition on old Yankee Stadium begins in June, and on Tuesday the Yankees announced the launch of the Yankee Stadium Legends Auction on MLB.com. They provided details of what promises to be an emotional and amazing sell-off of artifacts from the home of 26 World Series championships.

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Happy Father's Day to someone.

"What we're really talking about is memories," said Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost, wearing memories of his own by flashing a world championship ring on each hand during the news conference.

"Yankee Stadium has played host to in excess of 164 million fans. You're looking at over 87 million fans since the renovation. We have memories, memories with children, with our parents and grandparents. Hundreds of these fans have inquired about how they can get a piece of these artifacts. The Yankees have worked with the city of New York to make it possible for fans to obtain pieces of these memorabilia."

Trost said the city of New York is receiving $11.5 million for granting the rights to sell off pieces of The House That Ruth Built. He said that is about four times what the city received from the Mets' auctioning of Shea Stadium artifacts. Trost also said proceeds from the sale will go to the Yankees Foundation.

Here are some of the highlights of items for sale:

Seat Packages. For $1,999, you can specify your seat location and own a pair of seats where you sat or where you consider important to remember. For $1,499, you can have a seat pair that will be randomly from anywhere in the ballpark. For $749, you can have a Commemorative Seat, which means it is the original seat back and bottom, with new commemorative cast iron arms.

Bleacher Seats. There was a section of blue, well-worn bleacher seating on the stage, so familiar to those who whiled away days and nights on that surface. The generic seat price is $399 for a single seat and $699 for double seats. The specific season-ticket seat price is $449 for a single seat and $749 for a double seat. Again, you can hone in on what touched your life specifically or simply take random structure from the stadium.

Freeze-Dried Grass and Sod Packages. It costs $80 for Freeze-Dried Grass, and you can plant it or display it. Trost was asked what he would most want from the stadium, and he said, "I'll probably look at that freeze-dried grass that can sit on your desk and is very affordable." For $120, you can have a one-foot-square piece of original Yankee Stadium sod, and for $280 you can have it in twice the dimension.

Ceremonial Monument Park Bricks. Remember those treasured times you might have walked through Monument Park to see the tributes to Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Don Mattingly and other pinstripe heroes? These are the bricks people walked upon. It comes in glass with a plaque, and it costs $149.

Dirt Crystals. No, not actually crystals of dirt. It's a crystal display featuring the real stuff that players worked their craft upon, and it features the 2008 Final Season logo. It's $80.

There are several hundred items on display right now, and over coming weeks more will be added.

One of the coolest artifacts, bar none, is a door that opened into the Yankees' exercise room. It has a huge gash right in the middle -- the result of Derek Jeter hitting it with a bat before every pregame workout.

Some things are headed to Cooperstown as well, and some already are housed in the new Yankees Museum inside the modern ballpark. Trost said the club is "in discussions" with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum about which artifacts belong upstate.

"We are excited to give our great fans a chance to take home a piece of the Yankee Stadium legacy through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Trost said. "These treasures allow the Yankees' legacy to live on and provide fans with keepsakes they can pass along from generation to generation."

The auction will close on July 24, between 8-10 p.m. ET.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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