Grizzlies' raffle prize could mean millions of dollars

A top-condition Honus Wagner T206 baseball card recently sold for $2.8 million.A top-condition Honus Wagner T206 baseball card recently sold for $2.8 million.One of the most famous and valuable sports collectibles in the world may be going home with an extremely lucky Fresno Grizzlies fan this year. 

The Grizzlies will be raffling off an unopened pack of 1909-1911 Piedmont cigarettes that could potentially hold the famous Honus Wagner T206 baseball card. The cigarette pack only holds one card.

As recently as April, an online bidder paid $1.2 million for the famous Wagner card. 

Last year, Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick purchased the iconic card for $2.8 million. The card Kendrick bought was said to be in the highest-graded condition.

“It’s fun because it’s a relatively inexpensive raffle that could potentially bring you a relatively large amount of money,” said Chris Kutz, the media relations director for the Grizzlies. 

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 each at Chukchansi Park from a table in front of the team store, or fans can purchase a ticket at Clovis Trading Cards, which helped facilitate the Grizzlies’ purchase of the item from an Auberry resident who, evidentally, also owns the Wagner card. 

The winner of the raffle will be drawn at the final home game on Sept. 3.

Despite a Hall of Fame career, most of Wagner’s legacy with today’s fans is linked to the card. Many fans are even unaware of which team he played for (all 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates) or which position (short stop).

In 1909, Wagner was coming off a productive season when he hit for a .354 average with 10 home runs, 109 RBIs and 53 stolen bases. 

The winner of the raffle will also be faced with another dilemma.

“The big wrinkle is are they going to open it?” Kutz said. “The pack itself has value because it has that mystery.”