Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pieces of the Collection

Here is the latest in my new series of items from the past.  I just randomly pulled out some of the hundreds of baseballs I have, and I will include a little blurb about each.  As I have said in the past, when Petco Park first opened I had the mini 20 game season ticket package with my friend so there was a lot more added to the collection during those times.  Then a family happened so of course I don't have the time or frankly, the desire, to spend as much time on my hobby.  That's why organized paid events seem more appealing to me now.  Let's get to it.

This is one of those matted photos you can buy with the name plaque of the player already built in.  At the time, these types of photos went for about $20 a pop, so needless to say I didn't buy a whole lot of them.  I got this one signed either the night Trevor Hoffman got his 400th save or shortly thereafter.  At one point, I was tempted to have a photo collection of 400, 500, and 600 with the date.  I haven't gotten the others yet but this is a pretty cool piece.

This is a Brian Giles ball that I probably got during a batting practice session at some point.  I actually have three of these so if anyone is interested in trading for it, I wouldn't ask for much.  Brian was actually always pretty darn fan friendly and stopped to sign while leaving the ballpark quite often.  The "Hall of Fame" of Padres players that autographed a lot during the mid 2000's was Trevor Hoffman, Jake Peavy, and Akinori Otsuka.  All of whom stopped quite often after games to sign for fans.  Speaking of Peavy...

This is also one of many baseballs I have signed by Peavy, but the only one he inscribed on.  I attended the game the night he set a Padres' record for strikeouts in a game, and he was nice enough to put the date and the total K's on the ball.  At the time I thought it was pretty cool, but I wish I had later tried getting him to sign a ball with NL CY on it.  Oh well.  In case anyone is interested, I'd trade one of these as well, just sans inscription.

Here is the ball signed by Aki Otsuka.  As you can see, he signed in both English and his native language of Japanese.  Aki was always so friendly that if he declined to stop and sign autographs on any given night, everyone was a bit surprised.

Moving away from former Padres, I go now to a slugger of the Philadelphia Phillies that used to hit some big time homeruns and was built like a lumberjack.  I obtained this autograph during batting practice at Petco Park probably during the 2005 or 2006 season.  It ended up being a solid night of autographs as I got Jimmy Rollins on a 2002 All-Star Ball as well as Jim Thome on the sweetspot of a ball on the same night.  This ball, however, is signed by Pat Burrell.

Before I started this blog last year, I actually went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game trying to get autographs, which of course was post game at Petco Park.  I took a chance on going after one of the young sluggers on their team that I felt might become a star.  It's risky business going after young prospects at times since many of them don't pan out and you end up wasting a baseball.  However, this gamble paid off as the young man was Paul Goldschmidt, who this season is the leading NL MVP candidate.  No, it is not a ball signed on the sweetspot.

Finally, I end this post with a player that most MLB fans don't even know.  He is a part time player on the Giants who does have power but doesn't get many at bats.  The reason I include it is because the story behind it is the epitome of why I am in this hobby.  Brett Pill hit his first MLB homer against the Padres at Petco Park in his first game.  I obviously wasn't down in San Diego with the intent of getting a Brett Pill signed ball, but when I saw him I decided to ask him to sign a ball with the inscription of his first homerun.  He was down on the street outside of the ballpark unlike the rest of the Giants who were taking the dreaded Omni Hotel bridge, and the reason he was down below was that he was looking for his family, who had attended the game to watch him play his first game.  His excitement was palpable, and he was quick to agree to sign this ball with his homerun inscription.  When his family finally found him, their greeting was one I had never experienced.  Listening to the dialogue between a young MLB player coming off his first game and homerun and his family was an awesome experience.

Thanks for reading and check back soon for another post.

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