Houston Astros block auction of 2017 World Series ring, reports say

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The Houston Astros on Wednesday intervened in the auction of a 2017 World Series ring owner by a former team scout that would have benefitted coronavirus relief efforts.

The team cited a legal agreement with employees, which is common in the Major League Baseball, that lets them buy the ring back for $1 before it can be sold elsewhere. The ring was owned by former team scout David Brito.

The Chicago Cubs did the same thing when a scout tried to sell his 2016 World Series ring before the team also blocked the sale, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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Ken Goldin, founder of New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions, told Fox News that the Astros championship ring had a bid of $13,200 prior to it being pulled but was expected to fetch at least of $30,000 when the bidding ends May 16.

"We attempted to negotiate with them," Goldin said. "I made them multiple offers prior to them pulling the ring. Pretty much anything, and I just couldn't cut a deal."

The 24-karat gold ring is encrusted with 157 diamonds and weighs nearly 74 grams, he said.

Brito sold the ring in February to a person who cosigned it to Goldin, he said, adding there were no liens against the ring and that he was free to sell it. Goldin said proceeds from the sale would have gone to the CAMCare Foundation for coronavirus-related causes.

The Astros refused to make a donation to the same causes for the amount the ring would have received, Goldin said. He said he would personally write a check for the amount.

Messages to the Astros were not returned. Its charity, the Astros Foundation, donated has $400,000 to area hospitals and has participated in efforts to deliver personal protective equipment to local hospitals within Houston's sprawling Texas Medical Center.

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The team has faced scrutiny from fans and other MLB players after a sign-stealing scandal emerged that tainted their historic 2017 season, in which the Astros won its only World Series.

An MLB investigation revealed Astros players used video equipment to relay pitching signs to their batters, a practice banned in baseball.

"We said ... people are already saying you stole the World Series," Goldin said. "People are now going to say you stole money from a coronavirus charity."