One of the more popular shows on television is “Storage Wars”, which features bidders who go to auctions of storage units in hopes of finding valuable items at a discounted price.
Cincinnati-area resident Tom McAlpin may not have been involved in a “war” but his $280 winning bid that began with him spotting a golf bag he thought would make a nice gift for his son-in-law.
Tom McAlpin, a retired Cincinnati policeman and estimator for Allgeier & Son construction, spotted the basketball peeking out of a box at an auction of foreclosed storage units in Cleves in September. But that was only after his eyes went first to a factory-sealed box containing a $180 golf bag.
“I figured the bag would make a good Christmas gift for my son-in-law,” said McAlpin. “I didn’t know what to do with this ball.”
What did the auction victory net McAlpin? A collectible basketball autographed by each member of Cincinnati’s 1962 national championship team, which beat Ohio State 71-59 in the national title game.
The ball’s faded orange top with “Wilson” stamped above its equator was all he could see. No autographs were visible. McAlpin just thought it was an old roundball. If nothing else, he could shoot some hoops with it.
Ed Jucker’s second national championship team in as many years was led by center Paul Hogue, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors with a 22-point, 19-rebound performance.
The relic brought back sweet memories for McAlpin, who recalled watching the game as an eighth grader. Fifty years later he’s got an item that he’s got no plans of parting with despite appraisers setting the ball’s value at $1,500.
Few people gave those Cincinnati teams (the Bearcats also knocked off the Buckeyes in the 1961 title game) a chance at beating the mighty Buckeyes.
And while Mick Cronin’s group has received a little more respect, maybe they can use those teams as motivation for Thursday night.
Photo credit: University of Cincinnati (1961-62 national champions)