Chicago Cubs: Ring drama brings Ben Zobrist back into the spotlight

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Ben Zobrist saw his baseball career draw to an unceremonious close two years ago as personal matters off the field led to the Chicago Cubs allowing him to take his leave from the team during the 2019 campaign.

He forfeited his salary during his leave, which wound up spanning most of the season, and that money allowed the Cubs to go out and add closer Craig Kimbrel, who’s enjoying a renaissance showing here in 2021, the final year of his deal. So it’s safe to say Zobrist continues to impact the organization, even to this day.

Since September 2019, when Zobrist last set foot on a Major League diamond, he’s largely kept to himself as he works through a divorce from his wife, Julianna. The details have been kept quiet – but when an auction house said the 2016 World Series MVP was selling his coveted championship ring, all of these proceedings once again went under the microscope.

Of all people, you’d think Zobrist would be the last to sell his ring, which is valued somewhere in the $30,000-$40,000 range, according to the Chicago Tribune. It looks like you’d be right. Zobrist’s agent Scott Pucino quickly made it clear that his client had no intentions of selling this piece of history.

Despite the response from Zobrist’s camp, Heritage Auctions continues to paint a much different picture, saying the ring was already sold to a collector by the three-time All-Star, which would mean he’s not the owner of the hardware at this point.

"“The ring was consigned by somebody who says he bought it from Ben Zobrist,” the auction house said. “I don’t know when and I don’t know for how much. I’ll certainly learn those things over the next little while. But the consigner is a client of Heritage’s who is a collector of championship hardware. Not somebody whose name you necessarily know but somebody who does collect title rings, bracelets and things like that.”"

No matter what, Ben Zobrist will always be a Chicago Cubs icon

It’s really sad to see how the two-time World Series champion’s career ended. His agent also confirmed that his playing days are behind him this week, something we’d all assumed but hadn’t heard officially. For all he accomplished on the field, to see his final season with the Chicago Cubs marred by his off-field personal matters is hardly what anyone wanted.

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Zobrist has kept to himself, focusing on raising his kids in Tennessee since hanging up his spikes. Hopefully, this sorts itself out soon and he can get back to doing what he loves most: being a family man and taking care of those closest to him.