7 On Your Side: Memorabilia dealer drops the ball

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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has the story.

For one man in New Jersey, a baseball left to him by his father was one of his most prized possessions. It has the signatures of several players, so imagine his disappointment when a big memorabilia company lost the special item.

East Windsor resident David Hodge said he was devastated when his MVP ball went AWOL, lost by a company he hired to get a Hall of Famer to sign it.

The ball already had autographs of nine legendary players, from Yogi Berra to Reggie Jackson, all who won baseball's highest honor -- the most valuable player award.

David's dad passed away five years ago, leaving the ball to him, and that's when he made a promise. He has plans to leave it to his son, so he started filling it up with more autographs.

Then, this spring, he went to company that calls itself the industry leader in sports memorabilia, Steiner Sports Incorporated, to get another signature on it, Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt.

Steiner received the ball in mid March, promising to sign, seal and deliver it back in the beginning of April. But by the end of month, all he got were more excuses and empty promises.

"Two weeks turned into two months and then three months," he said. "And now, here we are scraping on month number four, still haven't gotten the ball back."

It was time for 7 On Your Side to pinch hit for David. We called Steiner Sports, and within days, his ball was found in Florida and shipped back to him -- complete with Schmidt's autograph for free after the company waived the $250 fee.

Steiner Sports apologized, saying a problem like this doesn't happen often. A rep termed it the "perfect storm of problems" due to the departure of an individual that headed its "send in" department.

The representative stated that Steiner Sports regrets the unfortunate situation, values its customers' satisfaction and, accordingly, didn't charge Hodge for its services. In addition, they provided him with the opportunity to obtain a few additional signatures in person at upcoming events at no cost to him. Both are Hall of Famers, Robin Yount and Frank Robinson.
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