Joe Garagiola spent nine seasons as a major league catcher, playing for four different teams.
But the colorful Garagiola was best known as a TV personality and for his nearly 30-year association with NBC, including as the play-by-play announcer for the NBC Game of the Week.
The colorful and popular personality, who also co-hosted the “Today” show and guest hosted “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” was also an avid collector of sports and entertainment memorabilia, amassing quite a collection during a sports and broadcasting career that spanned more than 50 years.
His most prized possession was a T206 Honus Wagner card that sold for more than $2.52 million at Heritage Auctions last year.
Heritage now has more than 100 items from the Joe Garagiola Collection up for bid in its May 12-14 Sports Catalog Auction.
Among the most intriguing pieces in the collection are:
• Boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali during his 1973 fight with Ken Norton and inscribed by Ali trainer Angleo Dundee.
• A baseball signed in the 1980s by former Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronal Reagan, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
• A 1969 Charles Schulz Peanuts original Sunday Comic Strip artwork.
Garagiola, who died in 2016 at age 90, played nine seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and New York Giants, winning the 1946 World Series with the Cardinals.
As a broadcaster, he was well known for making light of his shortcomings behind the plate and the number of times he was traded. He once quipped that “being traded four times when there are only eight teams in the league tells you something. I thought I was modeling uniforms for the National League."
He was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 with the Ford Frick Award for outstanding broadcasting accomplishments and was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2004.