My Centerpiece

December 17, 2008 at 6:10 pm | Posted in My Collection | 4 Comments

     When I returned to collecting in earnest earlier this year, I was immediately ennamored and entranced by game used cards, certified pack-pulled autographs, patches, serial numbered refractors, and all the other hobby goodness that I had missed out on from 1992 till now.  I had never even heard of any of these things before.  Now I have almost 100, and all of my favorite player of all time.  I have more on the way, and I’m sure I’ll find more in the future.

     When I first saw that this was the topic for the second bat-around, I was exited, as I’m sure a lot of people were, to showcase part of my collection to a wider audience.  Then I kinda panicked a little bit.  How do you pick one thing?  I’ve got Triple Threads, patches, autos numbered to 5.  To finally decide what to choose, I had to ask myself this: If there was a fire in my house, and I could only save one item from my collection, what would it be?  It only took me a couple of minutes to decide on this…..










     It is a Cooperstown Collection fitted hat in my size.  It is autographed in blue Sharpie by my bseball hero and all-time favorite player, Andre Dawson.  One of the reasons why it is the centerpiece of my collection is that it is the only autograph I have ever obtained in person, and I proudly display this right next to the hat.












     I actually had the chance earlier this year to meet Mr. Dawson, and oddly, I was as nervous as a 12 year getting a chance to go backstage at a Miley Cyrus concert.  He was as cool as a cucumber though.  Dressed in all black (which is how I frequently see him pictured) he was very engaging and polite, and immediately put me at ease. 

     The coolest part about the entire experience, and the biggest reason why this is my centerpiece is the fact that not only had he never signed one of these hats before, he had never even SEEN one.  While we took the picture, and after he had signed it, we had a several minute conversation about how cool he thought the hat was, where I got mine, and if I could tell him how to get one.  So I actually had to explain to Andre Dawson how to go on eBay and search for the seller that I had purchased the hat from.  Aside from my wedding day, this was the single coolest experience of my entire life.

     So there it is.  This is the best my collection has to offer.  If you’re ever in Illinois and you see a house on fire, and a guy running out with a baseball cap in his hand, you’ll know why.



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  1. One Word – AWESOME!!!

  2. Good to see your post invoking “Go, Cubs, Go” by Steve Goodman. He often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.” The book delves deeply into the genesis of “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” and its semi-sequel, “Go, Cubs, Go.”

    You can find out more at my Internet site (below). Amazingly, the book’s first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. The second printing includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. It won a 2008 IPPY (Independent Publishers Association) silver medal for biography: To order a second-printing copy, see the “online store” page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

    Clay Eals
    1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
    Seattle, WA 98116-1958

    (206) 935-7515
    (206) 484-8008

  3. Did you consider giving him the hat?

  4. For about half a second. Unfortunately, that was the only thing I could afford to bring to get signed.

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