Sports Cards Uncensored is hosting Blog Bat Around II, the question this time around is what is the crown jewel or centerpiece of your collection. I really don't view anything as the centerpiece or jewel of my collection but I do have a few favorite things and I would like to share them with you.
The card of Mickey Mouse came about because my sons who were young then (19 and 22 now) saw me sending cards off and getting mail back with signed cards. When I asked them who they wanted signed cards from, their first answer was Mickey Mouse. So they wrote letters and we sent them off to Mickey and Minnie care of Disneyland. They came back signed with two distinctive signatures and we continued mailing cards to Disneyland and ended up with signed cards from Donald and Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Aladdin, the Genie, Jasmine, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Prince Charming. My youngest son kept it up for awhile getting signed cards from some of the Rockies, before he became a Cardinals fan.
One day my wife and boys were at the mall and came home with the boys excitedly announcing that they had gotten an autograph for my collection. They then proudly presented me with the piece of paper with Ronald McDonalds signature on it. I have never gotten rid of it because it reminds me how much my boys wanted to please me. I wonder if Topps might want to buy it as a cut signature in one of their collections.
These two sportscaster cards are signed by a couple of heroes from when I was younger. Jim Ryun was the first high schooler to run the mile in less than 4 minutes and kept on running all the way to the US Senate. He ran for Kansas in college and then ran for the US in several Olympics. I got to meet him at a International Track Association meet in Eugene. Each event was sponsored by a different corporate sponsor, it was weird to see Jim Ryun and Kip Keino running with a Post Cereal logo on their singlets. I sent the sportscaster card to him when he was serving as a US Senator from Kansas, he signed the card and included a cool card from the Senate. Muhammad Ali was the first athlete I ever remember looking up to when I was young, I am 51 (often feel like the old guy among the people blogging about sportscards). I have a scrapbook of all of Ali's fights, that I carefully cut articles out of newspapers and SI. About 12 years ago I picked up a really nice Ali autograph on a restaurant place mat, it is nice and clear and big and very different from the ones on the sportscaster. I mailed the sportscaster card to Ali at an address I got somewhere. It came back with three signatures on it, the two that are visible and one on the back, he also returned the letter I sent him with another signature on it.
One of my favorite all time sports entertainers is Roderick Toombs, better known as Rowdy Roddy Piper, the host of Piper's Pit and the star of the classic Sci-Fi movie They Live. I watched lots of WWF and always liked Roddys' attitude and enjoyed watching him. He lives in the same area that I do and one of his doctors is a regular customer of mine who got this great picture for me. I also got a signed copy of In the Pit with Piper and a note from Roddy to the Doctor.
M*A*S*H is my all time favorite TV show and I have collected the set of cards of the show. I have sent cards out to the entire cast that had cards in the set. I never heard back from Gary Burghoff, Loretta Swit, William Christoher or David Ogden Stiers. Alan Alda sent a 8 X 10 in a suit that he had mass signed. Jamie Farr and Mike Farrell also returned the cards I sent them signed. Harry Morgans' card went on an adventure of it's own. It got sent around in it's envelope to several houses in the neighborhood, for some unknown reason. It finally got to our house and only had the upper right corner slightly bent. I still find M*A*S*H very entertaining and my sons and I still watch it together and see if we can find anything new in each episode.
The longest I ever went to one school was the three years I attended South Eugene High School in Tracktown, USA. Steve Prefontaine was one of the stars of the University of Oregon track team. Unfortunately I never thought to get a signature from him and then he died unexpectedly in 1975. I remember talking to Shorter after a track meet and asking him how far he ran and he said "Unfortunately not as far as I would like, I only get about 170 miles a week." Years later I sent this card and a photo of he and Pre racing and this card. He sent back them both signed and a note about the photo. I believe the photo on the Hall of Fame card is from the 1972 Olympics which Frank won, after an impostor preceded him into the stadium.
The card of Leslie Gould is a card that I made and got signed at Wordstock, the Portland festival of books. Leslie is one of my favorite authors and also a good friend of ours. Other than Padrographs one of my other passions is reading. I run a used bookstore in Portland, the city of readers. When I am not posting here have another site, readerman.net, where I review all the books I read. The card of Leslie is one of a series that I made and got signed at Wordstock. Jim Bouton and Chuck Barris were among the others that I made. I made two of each and gave them to the authors.
Brad was a patrol officer for the Portland Police at a time when they were trying to improve their image with the kids in the community. So they made cards of some of the officers to give to the kids. Brad came into Baseball Cards and More looking for penny sleeves and top loaders to put the cards in before he gave them to the kids. So I asked him to sign one for me, he did and went on his way. About a week later it was in the news that he had been busted selling confiscated pot from the trunk of his patrol card.
Back many years ago I was collecting signed cards of players of players from Oregon so I wrote a young pitcher for the West Palm Beach Expos, Kent Bottenfield. I began a correspondence with him after he signed my card and at one point he said if there was anyone else on the team that I would like a signature of he would get it for me. Felipe Alou had been one of my heroes since I read a short biography of him in a collection of biographies of Christian athletes in the '60's (I really am old). I asked Kent if he would get Felipes' autograph for me and he obliged by having him sign this 1973 Topps card for me.
Now for the final two favorite things in my collections. I was born in September of '57 when Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States. Ever since I can remember I have collected all kinds of things related to Ike. One day when I was working at Portland Sports Cards a gentleman came in with a collection of tickets from the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Fields. Among them was this ticket from a game at the Polo Grounds that was General Eisenhower Day, June 19, 1945. I have collected all kinds of cards and other ephemera from several countries of General Eisenhower, but I would have to say that this is the centerpiece of that collection. I realized after looking at this for several years that June 19 is my parents anniversary, although they wouldn't get married for nine more years.
When I was but a novice autograph collector, before the Internet and so many other things, I would ask the players I sent cards to if they knew where I could get a photo of them to get signed. Most didn't answer the question but a couple stepped up and hit home runs. Dave Dravecky signed a signed & numbered Paluso print, and Steve Garvey sent this picture. He said in the letter he sent with it that it was an outtake from a bank calendar photo shoot, this is back in the mid 80's. I have only ever seen one other copy of this picture, it was on ebay and I bought it and then traded it for a signed picture of Jimmy Buffett. Someday I hope to get it framed and matted with some of my favorite Garvey Padres cards.
I didn't mean to write so long a post but I hope that you have enjoyed reading about a few of my favorite things, even though they did not include rainbow on roses, or pink satin sashes.