Thursday, August 16, 2012

Random Ponderings of the Collector's Mind

One thing I have found  is the Celebrity Golf Classic is fantastic for meeting and greeting celebrities.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to attend one of these for a few years.  However, if you are clever enough to hide the fact that you are bringing memorabilia onto the golf course (pretty easy to do) then you are setting yourself up for a real chance at some fantastic autographs.  The one I am specifically talking about, though I'm sure the same goes for most of these types of events, is the one here in San Diego that used to be hosted by Stan Humphries and now carries Drew Brees' name.  The event used to be held at Morgan Run in Rancho Santa Fe, but now is played at the La Costa Country Club.  In essence, it's a hodge podge of celebrities from genres such as sports, music, television, and beyond who come together and play a golf tournament in the name of charity.  Such luminaries as Jerry Rice, Ray Romano, John Elway, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, Mike Schmidt, and Joe Morgan have played at this tournament.  This though is just the tip of the iceberg. 

One story in particular didn't actually happen to me, but my friend Paul.  Paul is by no means an autograph collector at all, but a huge fan of the 49ers.  He attended the event with the sole purpose of hanging around Jerry Rice for 18 holes.  Not only did Jerry sign everything Paul had, he drove him around on his golf cart and chatted him up all day.  He treated Paul like a friend, and we are talking about the best receiver to ever play the game.  That is a memory Paul will have forever.  I don't have any stories quite like that one, but I did manage to add some nice signatures to my collection.  Keep in mind this was at the beginning of my foray into the hobby so I wish I had chosen a better pen to use for baseballs to be signed but it is what it is.  One guy I really wanted to meet was Mario Lemieux, as I am a hockey fan first and foremost and Lemieux is one of the top five players of all time.  He signed an Upper Deck card for me, and while he wasn't overly chatty, he signed for the entire group of fans that asked.  Below is a picture of a matted photo I had purchased prior to the Golf Classic with the intent of getting him to sign it...
Some other hockey players I got were Jeremy Roenick, Grant Fuhr, Dino Ciccarelli, Bernie Nichols, and the great Stan Mikita.  All hockey players I have ever come across are cool guys, easily the nicest in any sport as a whole.

I definitely arrived with a bunch of baseballs in my backpack, as I knew there were a few Hall of Fame baseball players that would be playing over the weekend.  The first one is Rollie Fingers, who signs all the time but I didn't have in my collection quite yet...

Another player I got, and someone who I had heard was tough to get, is Joe Morgan.  Between he, Johnny Bench, and Pete Rose I have three of the Big Red Machine.  This was actually the only time that I am aware of that Joe played in the tournament, and it just so happened that ESPN was doing a game in Anaheim that Sunday night, when the booth for the games was Morgan and Jon Miller.  I had heard from fellow collectors that Joe stiffed them all, so I decided to go a less traveled hole where fans didn't want to walk all the way out to.  My intention was to be alone and ask Joe to sign a ball for me when his group got to that hole, in hopes that being a single person would make him more liable to sign.  My plan worked, and Joe actually ended up being quite nice and talked with me until the rest of his group arrived.  He signed a MLB baseball for me on the sweet spot as well.
Finally, the last picture is a ball signed by Ozzie Smith.  The interesting thing about getting this autograph was that I actually got yelled at by the course security who told told me to, "Put that ball away" when I tried to hand it to Ozzie to sign.  At this point I felt pretty much like an ass and was about to walk away with my tail between my legs when Ozzie turned to me, leaned over, and said quietly to follow him to the driving range where the security wasn't present.  I was ecstatic, and did as Ozzie asked me to do.  I wasn't angry with the course personnel for yelling at me as I did technically break the rules by brining outside memorabilia on the course, but I was happy to have Ozzie sign anyway.
By no means was this everyone I got to sign stuff for me, but I need to save some of the pics for other slow bloging times.  For anyone who wants to get into this hobby, I'd highly recommend attending a celebrity golf tournament, where the vast majority of the athletes are in a relaxed mood.. Make sure to attend on a day that is not a tournament day though.  For example, the Friday before the weekend tourney tends to be a day where the celebrities are "auctioned" off as part of a group that gets to play with the celebrity they paid for.  This is where a big part of the charity money comes is.

A side note;  Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos are having a signing at a Metro PCS store in Santa Ana this Saturday the 18th from 11:30-1pm.  It is a free signing so if you plan to attend I'd highly recommend showing up at least a couple hours early.  I may or may not see you there, I'm not sure I want to make the drive up to Orange County twice in the same day, but we shall see...

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