A Connecticut family whose son is struggling to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical school debt has hatched a plan to pay it off by selling an 84-year-old home run baseball hit by former New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig in the 1928 World Series.
The ball has been in Elizabeth Gott’s family for generations, since her great-uncle caught it in the Yankee Stadium stands. Gehrig, a Hall of Famer, hit the home run off of Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, and another Yankee legend — Babe Ruth — was on base, according to the Associated Press. But now the family heirloom is up for auction thanks to the rising costs of medical school and the burden of student loan debt, the AP reports:
Hunt Auctions plans to sell the ball Tuesday at the All-Star FanFest in Kansas City, Mo., and predicts it could fetch $100,000 to $200,000. Online bidding has already begun, with the top bid at about $37,000 as of Thursday. […]
Michael Gott, who is in his last year of residency, said he was surprised at the potential value of the ball. He said his medical school debt was nearly $200,000.
Gott’s situation, famous baseball excluded, is not at all unique. The cost of medical school has skyrocketed, rising 165 percent at private colleges and an astounding 312 percent at public institutions in the last 20 years. Just as student debt has soared over the last two decades, medical school debt has ballooned. Doctors are $2.3 billion in debt, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the average medical school graduate in 2010 left school with $158,000 in debt. Nearly a third, meanwhile, were like Gott, carrying at least $200,000 in debt out of school with them.