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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Baseball Question of the Day: What’s your favorite piece of memorabilia?

Most people who are into baseball have, at one point or another, owned some memorabilia of some kind. Maybe they’re not hardcore collectors, but most of us have had an autograph, a baseball card or 10,000, some pennants, posters, or something along those lines.

I’ve written before — a very, very long time ago — about how I’m not a big fan of autographs. I have some, all of which were obtained when I was a kid, and I think they can be neat on a certain level, but I find the whole process of getting someone’s autograph to be an odd one, at least if you’re an adult. I realize I’m in the distinct minority with this. I’m not judging you if you like to get autographs. I’m just saying that autographs aren’t for me.

I also used to collect baseball cards. Like, really collect baseball cards. My brother and I had at least 100,000 of them at one point. It was not a business for us, but it probably could’ve been. We just went absolutely nuts with it. We stopped actively collecting when he joined the Navy in 1989 — it was a good time to stop if you know anything about the baseball card market — and since he was more active in that than I was, he has assumed the actually valuable part of the collection and has it with him where he lives in California. I still have like 50,000 basically worthless commons and a few select older, more valuable cards that I personally care about. I had them in a storage unit for years and years but I just emptied that out. I was about to give them away before the quarantines all hit but for now they’re stuck in the corner of my living room until that passes. So, sure, if you asked me in the 1980s about my favorite memorabilia I probably would’ve mentioned our complete 1965 Topps set or something, but now that’s not super important to me.

There is one thing, though, that I’ve had for almost 40 years and which I still value.

Any memorabilia that means anything to you?


QLE Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:38 AM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: memorabilia, questions

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   1. villageidiom Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:02 AM (#5935756)
I have a lot, but I guess the ones that mean something to me are evidenced by how I treat them.

- I have four Rickey Henderson rookie cards, protected in plastic sleeves, in a safe deposit box.

- I have my tickets to the 2004 World Series, protected in plastic, stored elsewhere.

- I have a foul ball that went from the hand of Pedro Martinez to the bat of Vernon Wells and then to me. It's in with a bunch of other baseballs my son used when he played, because... I mean, it's just a ball.
   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:21 AM (#5935760)
When I was 12 in 1983 I attended the Jerry Remy Baseball Camp at Merrimack College. One day as we had our lunch outside a Cadillac pulled up and an “older” fellow stepped out. The older fellow was soon to be retired Carl Yastrzemski. Every kid lost interest in lunch and we made a beeline for the caddy. Yaz signed for 45 minutes, I don’t think he said two words, then got back in the car and left. I still have my glove that Yaz signed wrapped in plastic.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:26 AM (#5935761)
When the Sox won the World Series in 2004, I sent requests to the largest papers in each of the six New England states (I live in the Midwest), asking them to send me their front pages. I have them hanging in my garage.

   4. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:32 AM (#5935763)
My favorite thing from 2004 is a photo of my best friend and I standing outside the Baseball Tavern (RIP) just after the final pitch. We have cigars and huge smiles. The cigar I have has a lot of meaning to me. As I’ve mentioned my father is from Cuba. In 1994 he and I became the first family members to return to Cuba since 1972. We brought back some genuine Cuban cigars and over the years smoked them but I saved one. That cigar would be the one I smoked when the Soxwon the World Series. Ten years later I lit it up, old, stale, dry and the best cigar I’ve ever had.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:47 AM (#5935767)
I have a jar containing Antonio Alfonseca's seventh finger.
   6. Zonk took his own SATs Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:50 AM (#5935769)
I have a broken bat I got at minor league game...

Summer of 1988 - my little brother and my best fried and I must have gone to something two dozen South Bend (then-)White Sox games. We'd get cheap seats and move right down next to the bullpen - it was the year South Bend got a minor league team, but by summer, the crowds got pretty slim...

Anyway, a very nice young reliever from Springfield befriended us - this guy, never made it out of A ball - but he'd joke with us, talk baseball, etc... so we always made sure to attend any game Springfield was in town. We also coaxed him into mimicking a bunch of different pitcher motions for us... Do a Dan Quisenberry... a Kent Tekulve... a Rick Sutcliffe.... and he'd oblige.

Shagging flies before a game - the backup catcher hitting them broke his bat and Shawn retrieved it and handed it over to us...

I've always meant to try to look him up digitally... I suppose now is as good a time as any... he went above and beyond to show three baseball loving kids a little love at a nearly empty A ball park.

EDIT: Oh, I should note... as Cubs fans, we were of course - originally ragging on him (Springfield being a Cardinals affiliate)...
   7. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:54 AM (#5935770)
I'm not a White Sox, but my great uncle worked for UPI in Chicago. He covered a variety of sports over the years, with one of them being the Sox beat. I never met him as he died before I was born. However, he gave my dad a ball signed by the 1973 White Sox for his birthday one year. My dad likes baseball well enough but isn't the biggest fan and also doesn't particularly care about the Sox, so he gave it to me a few years ago. I'm not sure that it has every single signature, but it does have Dick Allen, Goose Gossage, Wilbur Wood, and Chuck Tanner.

Other family members (mainly my grandmother and granddad) have some good stories involving other sports he covered, but that ball is my little slice of the memories.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:00 AM (#5935775)
I have a ball signed by Fay Vincent that says "One day you'll be a great secondbaseman, just like Gregg Jefferies!"
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:04 AM (#5935779)
I guess those newspaper covers are collectibles, but not memorabilia

I did once have a foul ball hit by Mike Jorgensen in the 1982 Hall of Fame game at Cooperstown. But as with the golf balls I made holes-in-one with, they were ultimately lost by my youngest son playing around in the neighborhood. I don't miss them.
   10. catomi01 Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:12 AM (#5935799)
On the autograph front:
Dave Winfield (favorite player growing up) autograph.
Mickey Mantle autographed book.
Michael Jordan autograph.

On the more personal side:
A bat signed by every member of the 2000 LI Ducks (1st team I worked for)
1 used and 1 unopened champagne bottle from our (Bridgeport Bluefish) win/celebration over the Ducks - 1st time I got to participate in one of those.
   11. Rally Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5935812)
I have a ball signed by Fay Vincent that says "One day you'll be a great secondbaseman, just like Gregg Jefferies!"

Not much of a prognosticator, that Vincent. I've never seen you play, but I've seen Gregg's TZ ratings at second base, and defensively I'd take my chances with you.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5935813)
I have a jar containing Antonio Alfonseca's seventh finger.
   13. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5935814)
After graduating from college in 1998, my best friend and I drove around the country and saw ballgames at every MLB ballpark. Obviously it was the trip of a lifetime. When possible, we got to the ballpark early for BP. I snagged 6 HR balls during BP over the course of the trip, among other free souvenirs. I still have those balls, though I have never figured out a way to "display" them. I do have all my tickets stubs in a frame with a few pictures thanks to my wife, but that has bleached out over the years.
   14. Rally Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:34 AM (#5935816)
I'm looking at a ticket stub from Nationals park on June 8, 2010. Not sure why I keep it, meaningless mid-season game between two bad teams. I think something exciting happened though.
   15. Perry Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:35 AM (#5935817)
I don't have much. I do have the scorecard from my first MLB game, Pirates vs. Reds at Crosley Field in 1965. Lineups included Clemente, Maz, and Stargell for the Pirates, and F. Robby, Rose, Perez, and Joe Nuxhall from the Reds. And Pete Rose signed it before the game.

The only other noteworthy object I have is probably not memorabilia per se. About 15 years ago I was browsing a flea market and looking through some 19th-century copies of Scientific American. One, from 1886, had an article by Henry Chadwick, illustrated with drawings, called "The Art of Pitching in Baseball." Bought it for $75 and it's now framed on my living room wall.

   16. Howie Menckel Posted: April 02, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5935830)
after the Mets won the 1969 World Series, the NY Daily News offered black-and-white sketches of the entire team by legendary cartoonist Bill Gallo. we sent away for them, and I still have them (and as fate would have it, I met Bill a couple of years before he died. EDIT: much better story if I had met him AFTER he died!).

also in Dwight Gooden's early days, fans used to put up "K cards" in the upper deck in left field at Shea Stadium (fortunately, he did not tend to linger on a mere three strikeouts).

one day they gave out those K cards as the promotional item. I still have those - they are in terrible shape and thus worthless to anyone else, which is the best kind of memorabilia.

kind of like my 1968 rookie cards of Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench (I was 6 years old when I bought these - packs of cards were 5 cents. if you were lucky enough to get hold of a whole quarter, the nice old lady at the pharmacy gave you a 6th pack for free!).

the Ryan one is him paired with Jerry Koosman (combined 546 MLB wins).

Bench is stuck with Ron Tompkins, which is weird because Tompkins' only MLB work was 5 respectable games for the 1965 Kansas City Athletics and 35 ok games with the Cubs in 1971 (3 SV!).

Tompkins was traded to the Reds after the 1967 season, and landed Forrest Gump-like on Johnny Bench's card before the newly-Atlanta Braves snagged him in the 1968 Rule V draft, before being traded to the year-old Royals, shipped back to the Braves, then to the newly-minted Brewers, and then on to the Cubs. (the Cubs were weird: they kept him in AAA all year with a 1.65 ERA in 51 games. then a crappy 1973 repeating AAA, and that's all she wrote.)

a lot of movement for a guy who spent most of his career below sea level.

the Ryan and Bench cards look really nice in the plastic setting of my album. but if you take them out, they look like a 6-year-old had played with them or something. the Bench one was folded in half, in fact, to reflect that Tompkins was a nobody. oh, I see he's still going at age 75 - sorry, Ron!
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 02, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5935839)
Back in the late seventies, when I was in junior high, I decided I wanted to start collecting older baseball cards. My very first purchase was Ernie Banks' 1954 rookie card, which I bought for a quarter. I just looked at it last night, for the first time in a long time.

I've mentioned here before that I was at the 25-inning game between the Brewers and White Sox in 1984. Before the game, Charlie Moore threw a batting-practice ball to me and my college buddies. We considered saving it as a collectible, but we ended up playing catch with it a lot since it was the only ball we had at college, and I have no idea where it is now. We called it "Charlie."
   18. winnipegwhip Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:19 PM (#5935880)
I have a couple game worn Expos turn back the clock jerseys, and a couple of game used bats (Endy Chavez, Chris Speir), BUT

if the house caught on fire the priorities are 1)family, 2)dog, 3) baseball that is signed, "To Danny Best Wishes, Mickey Mantle." (got it when I met him in 1978 when I was a kid.)
   19. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5935895)
Without a doubt, my favorite is a Kansas City Monarch hat signed by Buck O'Neil. My buddies and I took a post-college graduation road trip to different baseball stadiums and we had a free day in Kansas City. We took the afternoon to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Buck O'Neil showed up to do an interview. We all bought KC Monarchs hats and he happily signed them and took a picture with us all. It was a wonderful moment.

I also have a press pass and ticket stub from the only no hitter I've seen live: Jered Weaver against the Twins in Anaheim in 2012. My buddy is the nephew of Twins broadcaster Roy Smalley, so he got us press passes to get into the game and it ended up being a no hitter.
   20. salvomania Posted: April 02, 2020 at 02:33 PM (#5935924)
I have an amzaing, one-of-a-kind piece:

As a 4th-grader in the '70s Joe Torre was my favorite Cardinal, and for a class project we each drew a picture that was sent off to a company that returned a white plastic plate with the artwork on it. My art was a picture of Joe Torre at bat, with the Mets' Jerry Grote at catcher (as well as an unidentified umpire), with an additional embellishment of my hand-scrawled "autographs" of the players.

Fast forward to the early 1990s, and I'm living in Chicago, around Ashland and Addison, about a mile west of my buddies'---who were huge Cubs fans---apartment on Addison, just east of Wrigley Field. My parents were selling their house, and they called me to collect a box of stuff before they threw it out, and in going through the box I found the old Joe Torre plate, which now had a crack running through it but was otherwise in good shape.

One weekend the Cardinals were in town, with Joe Torre now as manager, and, as I often did in those days, I walked to my friends' apartment to hang out for the day, drink beer, listen to music, and watch baseball. For some reason, I decided to take along my now 20-year-old Joe Torre plate, which I carried in a brown paper bag, to show my friends, who knew I liked Joe Torre.

Walking down Addison in late morning, I was alongside Wrigley Field when I noticed a man in a long green trench coat with a cigar walking near me, and as he got closer, I couldn't believe it---it was Joe Freaking Torre!

I hailed him and said,"Joe Torre! You're not going to believe what I have in this bag!" He eyed me warily but wasd intrigued when I pulled out the plate and told him the story of its creation. He asked "Are you giving this to me?"---thinking perhaps that I had been waiting around hoping to catch him---and I told him no, I was just bringing it as a relic to show my friends. Incredibly, he happened to have a blue Sharpie in his coat pocket, and he asked me if I'd like him to sign it "for real," to which I gladly said yes.

My friends were amazed when I showed up a few minutes later with my now-autographed one-of-a-kind Joe Torre plate.

Bu the story doesn't end there. A couple years later, I received a package with a VHS tape in the mail. I put it into the VCR and watched some random scenes from life of some friends of mine from Vermont, including one of the guys from the apartment, who had moved east.

Suddenly, there's a break in the video, and then there's Joe Torre, standing in uniform in Busch Stadium, adressing me personally: "Hi, David, I just wanted to say thanks again for making that plate---a lot of people don't even remember me from when I was a player. I'm glad I got a chance to sign it for you, take care and good luck."

Turns out one of the Vermont guys, another friend from college, was an ESPN cameraman, and he knew about the plate and asked Joe Torre (who he said was one of the nicest guys he ever met) if he would record a message for me.

So there's really two artifacts, the plate and the video. Back when I still had a working VCR, whenever a baseball fan would visit my house I would show off the plate, and then blow their mind by showing the video.

I have some other cool stuff, but nothing else comes close.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5935932)
Great story salvo.

   22. Scott Lange Posted: April 02, 2020 at 03:09 PM (#5935937)
I have a letter on Braves stationery from Hank Aaron to my father, thanking him for his letter of support during the final months his pursuit of Babe Ruth. Pretty great, even though Dad turned into a rootin' tootin' immigrant-hatin' racist now. Ah well.
   23. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 02, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5935945)
I think Salvo is going to win this one.

I have a Japanese postcard featuring a baseball scene dated Meiji 24 (that's 1891) which is pretty amazing since baseball wasn't introduced to Japan until the 1870s. It predates every known Japanese baseball card, and, as far as I have been able to determine, every known baseball-themed postcard as well.

But more importantly, I also have baseball cards that I made of myself in little league. They're on 3x5 cards, with terrible hand-drawn illustrations on the front, and full statistics on the back. (I used to carefully note what I did each game and write it down when I got home.) I took lots of walks and stole lots of bases, but couldn't hit for ####.
   24. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 02, 2020 at 03:41 PM (#5935947)
A letter from Bob Howsam, General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds. As a 14-year-old Reds fan, Lee May was one of my favorite players. When he was traded, I wrote a letter to Howsam expressing my disappointment. The trade, of course, brought back Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, and Jack Billingham, among others, and was a crucial key to the Reds' championship teams of the mid-1970s. He wrote back a letter (which I still have, although I'm not sure exactly where it is) explaining that, yes, it was tough to trade away good players, but that 1) he felt the Reds needed more speed; 2) the Reds had too many right-handed hitters in their line-up, and the trade gave them a much-needed lefty bat; 3) and that the trade would significantly upgrade their defense. He was absolutely correct on all counts. Today, I'm very regretful that I didn't write him back after the 1972 season and say, yep, you were right...
   25. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: April 02, 2020 at 03:43 PM (#5935948)
I have the same (so to speak; it's responding to one I wrote) letter, Scott. It accompanied a signed photo and a (not signed) Braves decal.
   26. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 02, 2020 at 03:48 PM (#5935957)
I've got two Mike Trout Face Shirts. I know they're stupid, but they're awesome.
   27. salvomania Posted: April 02, 2020 at 03:51 PM (#5935961)
Here's a photo of the plate.

My memory isn't perfect, as there is not, in fact, an umpire in the scene.

And despite the marker looking black, I'm pretty sure it was blue, and has faded to a gray. (I now keep the plate in a plastic bag.)
   28. Booey Posted: April 02, 2020 at 04:06 PM (#5935971)
My SIGNED Matt Nokes All Star card he personally autographed for me when I was 8!

I didn't really follow his career since; he DID continue his rookie success and end up in the HOF, so that card has got to be worth a bundle now, right?
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 02, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5935982)

I have told this story here before, so apologies for those who have heard it. When I was 12, I won a 1952 Warren Spahn card in a Topps contest. Topps used my name and photo in a commercial; then they found out that they had to pay me (not a lot of money) for the commercial or be in violation of SAG rules, which was even better. Not long afterwards, some family friends met Spahn at a baseball fantasy camp and told him this story. He wrote me a note saying "Dear Dave, Congratulations on your good fortune. Keep being lucky." with his signature at the bottom. So yeah, that's my favorite.

I have some other autographed items that I either purchased or were given to me as gifts by people who purchased them, but the Spahn card and note are #1.
   30. salvomania Posted: April 02, 2020 at 04:49 PM (#5935992)
I also still have the bed-sheet-length banner I made and brought to "Al Hrabosky Hbanner Hday" in St. Louis immediately after the 1975 NL All-Star team was announced, with Hrabosky being left off the list of reserves.

It featured the headline "Walt Alston is no All Star at Picking All Stars" over a caricature of Hrabosky zinging a fastball past a befuddled-looking Walt Alston, standing at home plate with his bat on his shoulder.

Still disgruntled that I wasn't one of the fans picked to parade their "best" banners around the field.

EDIT: How times have changed; Hrabosky led the NL in saves in 1975 with 22; he had 14 at the break, with a sub-2.00 ERA and a WHIP around 1.00. And he was a spectacle, to boot (if any of you have some time go find last week's Ted Simmons/brawl post, and check out the article and the video, it's well worth it).
   31. Alex Vila Posted: April 02, 2020 at 05:00 PM (#5935997)
I have a picture of Roberto Clemente out to dinner with my Mom. They were good friends and she attended his wedding, the small, private one, not the one that the rest of the island attended. I also have an 8"x10' pic of Clemente that is autographed, and I have a baseball card with Cool Papa Bell's autograph.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 05:20 PM (#5935998)
I have a baseball card with Cool Papa Bell's autograph.

I met him at the Hall of Fame (the same weekend I got the Jorgensen ball) when I sneaked into the Otesaga Hotel. He was almost 80, but boy he seemed happy to be there among all the Hall of Famers.
   33. PreservedFish Posted: April 02, 2020 at 05:32 PM (#5936000)
I have a rare photo of Mickey Mantle signed by Roger Maris.
   34. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: April 02, 2020 at 06:08 PM (#5936013)
When my dad was 12 he would occasionally caddy at the country club near his folk's place in New York to make a few extra bucks to get into the city to see a game, and one summer day he heard that Ty Cobb was coming to play. He got there early and tried to stake him out, but somebody else had gotten there even earlier and he missed the chance to caddy for Cobb.

He decided to just hang around and see if he could get catch Cobb for an autograph, and finally, towards the end of the day, he spots the legend heading into the bathroom.

He runs in, sees Cobb at the urinal, and can't help himself runs right up to him and asks for an autograph.

Cobb squints at him, paused, and says, "Wait till I'm finished, son."

20 seconds later, Cobb shakes it off and signs the card right then and there.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 06:56 PM (#5936033)
20 seconds later, Cobb shakes it off and signs the card right then and there.

And there you have it. When the world first became aware of the need for social distancing.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 02, 2020 at 08:18 PM (#5936051)
I have a picture of Roberto Clemente out to dinner with my Mom. They were good friends and she attended his wedding, the small, private one, not the one that the rest of the island attended.
That’s pretty damn cool. I assume he was as good a guy as everyone says?
   37. Alex Vila Posted: April 02, 2020 at 08:59 PM (#5936056)
That’s pretty damn cool. I assume he was as good a guy as everyone says?

Yes, he was. Here's the picture.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:16 PM (#5936060)
Here's a photo of the plate.
   39. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:25 PM (#5936062)
When Travis Jackson visited my great-aunt (who was 24 years older than him & remembered watching him play town ball as a kid 17 or so miles away; her mother was his grandmother's sister, or something like that) in my hometown at her invitation so 12ish-year-old me could meet him, he gave me a 4x6 sepia-toned photo signed on the front in ballpoint but on the back in much darker fountain pen with the date 1925. (There's a faded stamp on back: "This photo is supplied by 'International Newsreel,'" with a New York address. "Syndicating prohibited. Not to be used for advertising purposes without written permission.")

Needless to say, I'm pretty happy to have that. I'd be even happier if it hadn't sustained a couple of tears over the decades, but so it goes.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:29 PM (#5936063)
Here's a photo of the plate.

I love your plate.
   41. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:49 PM (#5936065)
I unfortunately have nothing left. At an early age I had a Reggie Jackson home run ball. I then used it as my pitching practice ball against a rock wall. Since then I never saved a thing. All my memories are just visuals and tastes left in my mind.
   42. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 02, 2020 at 09:52 PM (#5936067)
I have a baseball autographed by the 1960 Yankees, ordered at the Hall of Fame that summer. Maybe the clubhouse attendants did the signatures, but the notable ones (Mantle, Maris, Berra & Stengel) look like those said to be legitimate. The ball would probably be more valuable if I hadn’t dug my fingernails into it in an attempt to give it a game-used look. The highlight of that Cooperstown trip was sticking my skinny 10-year old fingers through the holes in the replica lockers to actually touch the uniforms of Ruth, Gehrig & DiMaggio. My older brother was unable to get his fat fingers through the tiny openings, so out of jealously he unsuccessfully tried to alert security when one of my fingers became briefly stuck.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:03 PM (#5936069)
I then used it as my pitching practice ball against a rock wall.

Don't feel bad. Baseballs are supposed to be used, not revered.

   44. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:14 PM (#5936072)
Autographed baseball from Bobby Doerr.

He was my dad's favourite player when he was a kid and he met him about 15 years ago in some random spot that I can't remember. They ended up chatting for like 2 hours, dad gave Bob his address and Bob sent an autographed ball in a nice little case with his HOF card attached.

It's now been passed onto me as Dad has Parkinsons and probably won't make his next birthday(26th May), so it has quite a bit of sentimental value.
   45. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:21 PM (#5936075)
I'd be even happier if it hadn't sustained a couple of tears over the decades, but so it goes.

If you get weepy over a picture of Travis Jackson, you must be a true fan.
   46. ajnrules Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:28 PM (#5936078)
The ticket stub from the game where Randy Johnson won his 300th game is probably most prized possession. I originally had tickets for the June 3, 2009 game and printed them out onto a sheet of 8 x 11 paper like everybody did that the time. Yet as I'm sure we all know the game where he was originally supposed to start was called at almost 11:00 due to rain. I used the rain check to go back the next day and got a more traditional ticket. And of course he got the win, beating the Nationals 5-1. The buddy that went with me got a foul ball hit by Aaron Rowand in the top of the third, so he's got a pretty cool memento from the game, but I still treasure the ticket stub I went to.

Around six months later I saw that Randy Johnson was going to do a signing at a card show in Houston. I wasn't able to go, but I did go through a third party company to get the ticket stub signed. When they sent it back I kept it in a case along with his Topps 2010 card showing a play from the game. I still never met the guy, but earlier this year I saw he'd be in Houston again. This time I was able to go, so I got an autograph pass and a photo op. I brought the case containing the ticket stub in hopes that he'd hold it with me. When it came time for the photo op, I must have seemed a little nervous, which wasn't surprising since I'm about Tim Raines's height and only went up to his chest. He noticed this and asked what was the matter. I admitted my nervousness and he put me at ease by chatting with me. He saw the ticket stub I was holding and joked that "I was there too." Then he told me all about the rainout the night before and being able to pitch in front of his family including his son at the batboy. It was a cool moment. Then when I went to the autograph signing he seemed really detatched, which probably led to his persona of being difficult, but he was really nice to me, and I appreciated that.
   47. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:33 PM (#5936079)
Maris must not've signed a lot of baseballs (or anything else), because last time I looked his autograph was pretty pricey. I'm lucky enough to have two 3x5 index cards he signed in return for a letter & an SASE I mailed him as a kid circa 1973. Traded a third one about 15 years ago for an autographed Ted Williams baseball card, which unfortunately I wound up selling on eBay in a time of need.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:35 PM (#5936080)
On the autograph front. In 1995, one of my aunts from Massachusetts got an autograph for my infant son from a guy from her church, Tom Glavine.

The following year, my sister got an autograph for him from Jimmy Key, as she had become friends with Jimmy's wife (side note: she said Jimmy was a great guy; his pal Paul O'Neill was an ass).

It dawned on me that I now had the autographs of the pitchers who had won the deciding game of the first two World Series played during my son's lifetime, so I thought I should keep that going.

The following year, I got a press credential to the Marlins visit to Cincinnati, determined to add the next name to my collection, the legendary Jay Powell. Now, you're not supposed to ask for autographs in the clubhouse, and I really wasn't an autograph seeker by nature, but this was for my firstborn and I assumed Jay Powell probably didn't get a ton of autograph requests. I figured when I explained my quest he would probably be willing to help a guy out, might even be happy to be in a set with Glavine and Key.

Well, I was there on May 14, which was the night the Marlins very first firesale began. By the time I got to the clubhouse, Sheffield, Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich and Manuel Barrios were on their way to LA for the very short-term stay of Mike Piazza.

Leyland was furious, the clubhouse was a morgue, and I decided that wasn't the night to go autograph hunting. Thus my collection of WS winning hurlers ended at 2.
   49. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 02, 2020 at 10:49 PM (#5936084)

ajnrules, that's a great story about Johnson.
   50. Jose Canusee Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:17 PM (#5936086)
Went to a Huntsville Stars game and was there before the game. See Eric Chavez and ask him to sign the brim of a souvenir Huntsville cap from the previous year I was wearing. I also found a ball just sitting there under a bench on the third base side but walk over to the visitor's (Greenville) dugout and asked Bruce Chen to sign it after he was done with BP. That's about my entire collection, 2 future MLB players from an AA game.
   51. ajnrules Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:33 PM (#5936090)
ajnrules, that's a great story about Johnson.

Thanks. Your story about appearing in the Topps commercial was pretty great yourself. Wonder if you were ever able to track that commercial down.
   52. Howie Menckel Posted: April 02, 2020 at 11:57 PM (#5936091)
I love all of these stories on all of these topics - and the closer some of us are to the belly of the beast (or IN the belly of the beast), I suspect the more appreciated they are.

love the Randy Johnson story because it doesn't fit the narrative about him and, well - people are complicated.

SoSH, I used to speak to a school's 5th-grade class each year BITD, and one of my lures would be, "And guess how many autographs I have!" [this was when people collected autographs.]

"NONE!" I would explain.

I don't deviate from that principle, but will concede that is pretty close to manageable.
you introduce yourself, you tell the story of how funny it was that you coincidentally have autographs from the pitchers who won consecutive World Series, and here we are chatting.

if he was a moron (and we are talking MLB clubhouses), he might laugh and you walk away.
but if he's into it and he says, "Hell, let's make it 3 for 3!" - that sort of works.

as I say, can't embrace the idea - but realistically, if done right, that is not so egregious. very unusual circumstances.
   53. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 03, 2020 at 12:15 AM (#5936093)
Thanks. Your story about appearing in the Topps commercial was pretty great yourself. Wonder if you were ever able to track that commercial down.

I have a copy on VHS that Topps sent me. Of course, I haven’t owned a VCR in years so I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to watch it again. Not that I ever watched it when I had a VCR, but I did show it to my wife once.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2020 at 12:30 AM (#5936094)
as I say, can't embrace the idea - but realistically, if done right, that is not so egregious. very unusual circumstances.

I never would have considered it under any other circumstances, and I can't be sure I would have gone through with it even if the mood had not been so glum. But that was the plan.
   55. Howie Menckel Posted: April 03, 2020 at 12:54 AM (#5936096)
yep, I get it.

an NBA beat guy had a pretty good relationship with a future HOFer. had an informal, pleasant conversation with him after one road game about how he can't believe his teenage son has this player as his favorite, instead of one of the local players.

HOFer enjoys the story - and insists the writer take this pair of footwear he had in his locker to give to the kid.

again, does not meet protocols. but also not at all the vibe of "hey, give me an autograph so I can sell for profit on the internet!"

once a year trip, and it rinsed and repeated several times - but always at the insistence of the player.

he got a kick out of the whole thing (spoiler alert, I don't have any kids, so no).
   56. TR_Sullivan Posted: April 03, 2020 at 03:08 AM (#5936108)
In 1975, my father - a career Army officer - was stationed in Montgomery Alabama. We went to a Montgomery Rebels doubleheader on a Saturday afternoon. Sat in the first base stands behind the Rebels dugout.

Jim Eschen, the Rebels utility infielder, hit a foul pop. Not high, sort of a check-swing bloop.

My dad caught it in the air. He received the customary ovation from the crowd.

My dad kept that ball for the rest of his life. He spent 28 years in the Army, commanded a helicopter company in Vietnam and won his share of appropriate medals to say that he was a "decorated veteran."

That baseball was his proudest possession. It now sits above my desk in my study

I am looking at it now
   57. Eddo Posted: April 03, 2020 at 05:00 AM (#5936116)
My uncle bought me a mint Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card when I was about 10 years old. It was one of a handful of items stolen when our condo got burgled two years ago, and one of two things that I actually felt an emotional loss for (along with my wife's engagement ring).
   58. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 03, 2020 at 10:07 AM (#5936168)
All my memories are just visuals and tastes left in my mind.

This is... not the sense that I would pick to associate with baseball memorabilia.
   59. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 03, 2020 at 11:33 AM (#5936192)
My favorite card in my collection of 500,000 or so is an old beat up 1968 Topps Casey Cox. I traded with a neighborhood kid for it when I was 10 years old. I don't remember what I gave up, but I thought it would be cool to have a card from a team that didn't exist any more (Senators) from the year I was born (completely oblivious to the thought that Topps produced a COMPLETE SET of cards in 1968 until years later....).

It wasn't until many years later I realized it was the scarce "yellow team name" version of the card that commands a $100 price tag in Beckett in MrMt grade. Mine tends closer to a VG/Fr grade, but it's priceless to me.... a time when the hobby really was a hobby about who you had vs who you wanted rather than using Beckett as the arbiter of making trades "even" down to the nickel or caring about what your "investment" might ever be worth.
   60. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 03, 2020 at 11:55 AM (#5936199)
This is... not the sense that I would pick to associate with baseball memorabilia.
You're right, Topps gum was always more about the texture.
   61. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: April 03, 2020 at 12:53 PM (#5936218)
In 1975, my father - a career Army officer - was stationed in Montgomery Alabama. We went to a Montgomery Rebels doubleheader on a Saturday afternoon. Sat in the first base stands behind the Rebels dugout.

I drive by that ballpark (across the street from Hank Williams' grave) every day on my work commute, or rather did during normal times. It's about 1.5 miles from my house.

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