The Cubs, or more likely Major League Baseball, has pulled a last-minute surprise regarding the 2014 Wrigley Field commemorative balls. This has created a fair buzz in collecting circles, and an opportunity for Cubs fans not available elsewhere, for the moment.
To recap, a commemorative official ball marking the centenary of the park will be used at all Wrigley Field games this season. It’s the ball on the left in the photo. Remarkably, it began production before last season’s end, and a few leaked out during late September 2013. They were widely available via general retail in time for the holiday rush. Rawlings obviously anticipated high demand; the production run for these will likely exceed 100,000 pieces, a very high number for a special ball of this kind.
On February 12 the MLB Auctions website offered, unannounced, 50 pieces of a dated variant of the commemorative, the one on the right in the photo. This ball will be game used only on April 23, the 100th anniversary game. All 50 sold out within minutes; those who happened to be surfing the site at that moment recognized and took advantage of the opportunity.
No further word of release was heard concerning these baseballs, leading to some scrambling and breathless inquiry within the collecting fraternity.
When The Cubs Store on Clark Street reopened last Friday, the new dated balls were in stock there, priced at the same rate as the "ordinary" commemorative. They are, at this writing, available nowhere else, and might continue that way, there are some precedents for this. In any case, the distribution of the dated balls will likely be far more limited.
So, this is your chance. It could perhaps be more available later, but perhaps not. An early tease, kinda like the team it celebrates.