HALL OF FAMERS
This has been a post I've been dying to write for months now, because I couldn't wait to talk about my story of meeting these former greats to you all. We all had to wait quite a long time because, considering its one of the biggest card shows in the country and many people were there, a lot of people were in line to meet these guys too.
The first Hall of Famer I met that day was former Cardinals All Star shortstop, "The Wizard", Ozzie Smith! Smith, known for his trademark backflips and incredible defensive plays, was larger than life back in his playing days. Fortunately, throughout his popularity and fame, he hasn't changed his personality one bit, as he was by far the nicest and most down to Earth player I've ever met. Before us in line was an older guy with his little son, holding a little toy when he shook hands with Smith. Smith proceeded to have the kid pose on the table while he held his little toy for a picture, and it looked like it was a cool memory for those people for sure.
I came up to Ozzie and greeted him, and did the usual "I made this card of you on my computer, in your honor" deal, because it's always the shy guys way out of being loud and obnoxious to players. He responded by saying that I'm a really creative young kid, and it meant a lot for me to hear that from a guy who was certainly a unique baseball player:
So, I got him to sign my Hall of Fame card and we posed for a picture. Following that Mike did fellow blogger William a favor and got his baseball signed for him by Ozzie, giving him a chance to meet "The Wizard of Oz". We both strongly feel like he was the nicest baseball player we've ever met, and it was a great opportunity and memory for both of us.
My autographed card came out good, and my only complaint is that I didn't reprint it before I got it signed because the printer started to run low on ink as the card completed. You can tell by looking at the color comparison on the far right side of the card. Otherwise, the autograph, plus his Hall of Fame inscription came out awesome, and I'm extremely psyched to add it to the set! Before I get to the other guest we met, here are a few pictures of some of the other signers at the show:
|Mets Rookie Justin Turner|
|Mets Rookie Dillon Gee|
I swear, I have absolutely no idea how I felt at this moment. I thought it was absolutely hilarious some of the stuff he was saying, and the fact that he decided to get up and personalize with a lot of the people still waiting for him, but on the second hand I was worried that he wouldn't finish in time and I ended up losing the price of his ticket! Fortunately, he soon finished joking around asking who was married and who has considered divorce, murder, or suicide, and finally returned to his signing table. (PS, turn up the volume on the video above, so you can hear him!)
So, about a half hour later it was FINALLY our turn to meet him. His price was $90 an autograph, so I guess he was trying to make it worth every penny! The lady in front of us worked in the media section for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and she decided to have a long conversation with him about the old Pirates teams, etc etc. I'm standing there, right in front of Mr. Banks, while he's holding my card and about to sign it, while not having said one word to me yet and continuing the conversation with that lady. He finally turned to me and I said hello, and the usual, custom card deal, and I asked him to inscribe his Hall of Fame year on it. He responds to me by saying, almost as if he was in awe, "You made that?", and I said yeah, and he told me he was really impressed. He finished signing my card and the 3 of us, dad, Mike, and I, all went around the table for a photo opportunity. My dad decides to be the funny guy he is and says "See that kid there (pointing to me)? He's 15, married, and murdered his wife!" Banks turned and stared me down for a good 5 seconds with his jaw dropped until dad said he was kidding and that I would never do that. Banks knew and just said he was going with the joke basically. What a hilarious and memorable meet with "Mr. Cub"!
Overall, Banks really made my day, and it was definitely something I'll never forget. He seemed like a real gentle giant, and had one of the better personalities I've came across in a long time. The autograph came out beautiful and is easily my favorite of the set so far. You can't get a whole lot better than a 14 time All Star who slugged 512 home runs, winning 2 MVPs along the way!
So, my advice is this. If you ever see one of these guys, Smith or Banks, coming around your area for a signing, don't miss out! Both of them are complete gentlemen and class acts, and it was a day I'll never forget...