Ever Heard of MLB’s Gold Card?
It awards its holder and a guest free admission to any regular-season MLB game for life
For fans of guacamole, burrito bowls and E. coli, there’s probably nothing better than a Chipotle Celebrity Card. For those who would rather take in a baseball game than chow down on a burrito, Major League Baseball has something that’s even more valuable: a gold card that grants its owner a lifetime pass to free MLB.
A Willy Wonka-inspired golden ticket, MLB’s Lifetime Pass grants its owner and a guest free admittance to any regular-season baseball game they are interested in attending. The pass, as the name suggests, is good for life. For example, the card that was given to longtime Cardinals infielder and coach Red Schoendienst reads: “AMERICAN NATIONAL MAJOR LEAGUES OF PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PRESENTS THIS LIFETIME PASS TO RED SCHOENDIENST IN APPRECIATION OF LONG AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE.”
According to The Athletic, the gold card is awarded to players, managers, coaches and umpires by the Commissioner’s Office when they reach eight years of MLB service. Per ThePostGame, full-time front office personnel, including general managers and marketing and public relations officials, are eligible for the gold card after 25 years of service. To use the golden ticket, pass recipients have to show it at a stadium’s designated VIP window, and the seats they are given are determined on a club-by-club basis.
Former Toronto Blue Jays star outfielder Jose Bautista, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2018 but didn’t retire until last month, received his gold pass from MLB in 2013. “It’s great to have that and reaffirm all the hard work and the sacrifices we as players made to get here,” Bautista told The Toronto Star at the time. “Eight years is eight years. No matter what you do, that’s a long time, and I’m proud and honored to have done it. And I hope I play eight more years, too. It’s a lifetime memory. I can walk into any stadium and someone will find a seat for me, that’s pretty cool.”
Interestingly, the first gold pass that was ever handed out went to Teddy Roosevelt, and it was 14-karat gold. He never used it. Charles Lindbergh was also gifted one after he made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, according to ThePostGame.
Per the publication, the 52 Americans who were held in Tehran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis each received a pass in 1981 after they returned home. “When I look back at everything that went on, that is the most unique gift that I received,” said former U.S. Embassy press attaché Barry Rosen. “Of course, in context of what went on, nothing is of any value, but it was a good way to keep the family together.”
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