Millions of dollars a year is spent on sports memorabilia -- from cups of dirt and autographed team balls to game worn jerseys and ticket stubs to which some fans weren’t even in attendance. While owning the jersey Dr. J rocked in college is certainly an insane piece of sports history to have hanging in your home, it doesn’t exactly have that “DAMN!” factor that will impress both the hardcore sports junkie and his girlfriend who hates sports and thought Dr. J was a recurring character on Grey’s Anatomy.Sports memorabilia collecting is probably fun (if you’ve got the extra cash) but imagine owning mementos from some of the most popular sports movies of all time. Do you think friends would be more envious of the ball that bounced through Buckner’s legs or the Bambino signed ball that sailed over the fence in The Sandlot?
There are tons of great sports flicks, all with their own piece of movie and fictional sports history involved. Now, we’re not sure these props even exist (though almost all are available in replica), but if they do here are 12 from famous sports movies that any dude would kill to display in his living space.
A Pool Cue from The Hustler
The greatest movie about billiards ever, The Hustler tells the tale of “Fast” Eddie Felson, an up-and-coming pool player and his high stakes match against the greatest pool player walking the face of the earth -- Minnesota Fats.
According to online sources, the cues used by Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason in the 1961 film were Rambows, designed and created by master cue maker Herman Rambow. The cues were a favorite of pool legend Willie Mosconi, who served as a technical advisor for all of the billiard scenes in the movie.
Surfboard from The Endless Summer
Imagine a life spent jumping from beach to beach and country to country in search of the perfect wave. Documentarian Bruce Brown did this (sort of) in his 1966 surfing movie The Endless Summer, which followed two young surfers on their travels around the world chasing the flawless swell.
While owning the actual longboard used by Robert August almost forty years ago might be impossible (it’s probably either hanging in his house or still under his belly catching some big surf) there are replicas available for just a couple shells.
Billy Hoyle’s Hat from White Men Can’t Jump
Billy Hoyle proved in the 1992 street basketball classic that white men can actually jump (and play basketball) but farm boy Billy also proved that some white men really can’t dress.
A tip of the cap (no pun intended) to the popular colors and styles of the time, Billy’s hat was uglier than his dunks. Still, his tie-dye with the snapback is a signature look, one that could be easily duplicated, but owning the original cap worn by Woody Harrelson would impress even the best of dressers.
Rocky’s Tiger Jacket in Rocky II
In the second installment of the “Italian Stallion” saga, Rocky Balboa is a little better off in life than before his brawl with heavyweight champ Apollo Creed. Though he doesn’t have the world title, Rocky finds himself flush with a little more street cred, a little more respect, and a little more cash in Rocky II.
So how does the pugilist blow his hard earned fight purse? On a super classy black satin jacket with a tiger stitched into the back. While the original jacket is hopefully hanging in Sly Stallone’s master closet (let’s assume Sly rocks it during house parties and morning walks down his mile-long driveway to the mailbox) there are replica patches available for those interested in looking “fly like the tiger.” Sweet satin jacket not included.
Ernie McCraken’s Ball in Kingpin (photo at top)
Bill Murray’s one-screen personas are almost as legendary as the man himself. No personality was grander than “Big” Ernie McCraken, the bowling legend and bitter rival of Roy Munson in the pin-splittingly hilarious comedy Kingpin.
Owning the rose infused ball that made Big Ern the bastard a legend would be better than a perfect game, even if you’ve never stepped foot on a lane. The ball itself even has some mojo to it -- legend has it that when Bill Murray shot the scene in which Ern throws three strikes in a row, Murray actually did throw three straight strikes, and the crowd reaction is real and in celebration of Murray’s turkey.
The busted 2nd place trophy from Bad News Bears
The boys (and girl) sponsored by Chico’s Bail Bonds didn’t beat the Yankees in the Bad News Bears, but it didn’t matter, because Coach Buttermaker and his team of miscreants, racists and juvenile delinquents got the last laugh.
In the middle of the Yankees victory celebration, Tanner and the team tell the Yankees to take their trophy and “shove it up their ass” right before Timmy Lupus tosses the measly at the feet of their rivals, causing it to shatter into pieces. The Bears prove second place isn’t so bad, especially if their is enough beer for all the 12-year-olds. It’s a second place trophy that would sit proudly on any sports fan’s shelf.
Hickory High shorts from Hoosiers
It’s a wonder the Hickory High basketball team won anything with those uncomfortable looking butt huggers they wore during every game. Jimmy Chitwood? Probably more like Jimmy’s Chokedwood.
Even though the shorts look painful, they are still a part of sports movie history. The shorts, along with a ton of other props from the movie Hoosiers was up for auction last year. A top bidder for the lot was the Milan 54 Musuem, located in the town of Milan, Indiana. The Hickory story was based on the Milan high school team that won the state championship in 1954.
Original Jobu Statue from Major League
Jobu, the freaky little voodoo god from the first Major League movie, is one of the few props on this list of sports movie memorabilia that might still exist. In an interview with the prop creator, the original Jobu statue might be exactly where it belongs -- in the possession of Pedro Cerrano.
“He did provide a few leads, but both were unfortunately also unable to recall what became of Jobu. I never approached him about the issue of mass production since it really wasn’t my goal. The only person I was unable to get a response from was Dennis Haysbert (The actor who played Pedro Cerrano in the film who ‘owned’ Jobu). It’s possible that he has the prop.”
Whoopi Goldberg’s Knicks Jersey in Eddie
Why would an Earl “The Pearl” Monroe New Yorks Knicks jersey worn by Whoopi Goldberg from a movie, Eddie, few people have even seen be on our list of sports movie props any guy would kill to own? The answer is simple -- how many people in the world own a basketball jersey owned by Whoopi Goldberg? The answer is either none or one (one if Whoopi actually still owns the jersey) so it makes the item not only incredibly rare but incredibly fascinating.
Imagine the conversations every time a person asked “why do you have a Knicks jersey framed on your wall with a picture of Whoopi Goldberg hanging beside it?”
The autographed Babe Ruth ball from The Sandlot
No one expected Smalls to hit that baseball over the fence in The Sandlot, especially Smalls himself. The mood turns from awesome to awful when the team finds out the ball was signed by “Baby Ruth” and we all know how the rest turned out.
An authenticated Babe Ruth baseball is worth almost as much as the Babe’s first contract, but the Babe Ruth ball used by the team in The Sandlot is probably well within the average person’s price range. It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think one of the cast of kids from the movie still owns the fake ball or its chewed up replacement. If Smalls has it, and it’s worth selling, he might want to put it up for sale to cover his real-life court costs.
Biff Tannen’s copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac in Back to the Future II
The central plot of Back to the Future II revolves around Biff Tannen altering the future thanks to a simple little book about sports. After Doc chastises Marty for purchasing Grays Sports Almanac, Biff salvages it from the trash, brings it to his younger self in 1955, and becomes a millionaire thanks the gambling on games to which he already knows the outcome.
While Grays Sports Almanac wasn’t a real thing, the prop itself did exist, and this guy is the actual owner of the book. It’s even autographed by Tom Wilson (Biff) himself.