Should Christian Lopez have sold Jeter’s 3,000 Hit Ball?

July 13th, 2011

What is the good will that Christian Lopez–who caught Jeter’s 3,000th ball–worth? I argue it is priceless.

Over the weekend I was talking with a friend, and he said Lopez–who has $100,000 in student loan debt–should have sold the ball to pay his loans. I countered that the good will Christian bought, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is priceless. I even called him a mensch on my blog!

As you probably have read by now, Lopez may be on the hook to pay taxes on the value of the tickets and other goodies the Yankees gave him. Boo. But now companies are pledging money to pay Christian’s tax bill (as much as $14,000). Yay! (But, as I understand tax law, the gifts to Lopez to pay his tax bill will also be taxable income, but I put that aside for now). Plus, Modell’s and Steiner’s have pledged at least $50,000 combined, possibly more depending on slaes, to pay off his student debt.

Now, I, an ardent capitalist, thinks Lopez made the right call by not selling the ball. What he earned, is priceless–reputation.

To quote Shakespeare in Othello, “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of my self and what remains is bestial.”