Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blog Bat Around: My Centerpiece

I have finally decided to get off my large rear end and do as the Romans do. Sports cards and collectibles blogs from all over have recently started a Blog Bat Around. What is that you say- a Blog Bat Around? Well, it's an opportunity for us to share a little bit about ourselves and our hobby by answering one question.

It initially started several weeks back with the inaugural edition asking about our collecting focus. Go here for a recap. The second edition has just begun as Gellman at Sports Cards Uncensored gets the ball rolling by asking about a treasured experience and centerpiece to match.

What immediately came to mind is an autographed photo of a Dodger great.

I don't remember the exact year, probably the Summer of 1992 or 1993, but I do remember the event. It was a card show near LAX and it featured some of the greatest athletes in sports. I'm talking about stars like Koufax, Ali and Namath, just to name a few. Furthermore, with each paid admission you got one random autograph. On that afternoon I paid for 4 admissions at $40.00 a pop (and I would have paid for more) just so I can get the autograph of Dodgers legend Roy Campanella. My other autos that day were Koufax, Namath and Luc Robitaille.As I waited for the autograph session to begin I walked around the show looking for something to have him sign when I stumbled upon a table featuring some incredible black & white large prints. The proprietor explained that they were originally taken by his father who was a professional photographer. He claimed it was limited to a print size to 50 copies and promised to print no more. He may have been pulling my leg, but I have yet to see another.

As you can see, it captures a youthful Campanella showing an even younger child how to catch. The innocence of the moment was perfectly captured. I couldn't take my eyes off the picture. It was perfect and I had to have it.

With the photo in my arms I waited in line to meet the Hall of Fame catcher. At this time in his life Campy had great difficulty in signing. He had experienced a debilitating accident some 30 years before and was in failing health.

As I came up to the table Campy looked down at the photo and gave me a great big smile. I could tell he liked the photograph as much as I did. I was imagining that he recalled the event and even remembered the kids name. There was a glimmer in his eye and all I could say was "thank you." I was speechless. A man who I had read so much about and had come to respect was sitting across from me.

So now the photo rest nicely framed within my office. It is something I could never part with and is the centerpiece of my collection.

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