The National Sports Collectors Convention is this weekend in Chicago, so we here decided to share our most memorable piece of sports memorabilia. You will get a little story from myself, Chris, Wade, and reader Eric. All of us are fans of different teams, so you will get a bit of variety from all of us. Let's first look at Chris' favorite piece of sports memorabilia.
TREVOR HOFFMAN AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL
"I don't have a house with a basement full of memorabilia. The few autographs that I own weren't bought on eBay but received in person and probably 90% of those were before I was 15. But that makes each one special for me. This is an era where digital technology replaces everything in written form. Most of my books are on a Kindle. I get my news from websites. I order from Amazon. Catalogs, newspapers, and pretty much anything on paper-stock is all but obsolete to me. Being mentioned on Twitter is now this generation's equivalent of an autograph. Heck, even us at the Full Count literally went insane when the MLB Fan Cave tweeted us. But nothing beats an autograph.
If I had to pick a cherished piece, it would when our family took a trip to PNC Park (the best-looking ballpark in my opinion, by the way). This is pre-2013 version of the Pirates when they were terrible. A match-up with the last place Padres and the last place Pirates in the end of September meant lots of seats and also lots of space during batting practice. We leaned against the rail, hoping for a glimpse of the players and maybe a signature.
I had just snagged a line-drive during batting practice and feeling pretty good about that. Meanwhile, Trevor Hoffman was coming back to the dugout. With literally no one around, we walked up and hollered at him. He came up to us and signed me and my brother's ball and chatted with us for a bit. Keep in mind that we are little kids. He's not my favorite player or on my favorite team. It's not the most valuable piece of memorabilia I own nor the hardest to get...but it's the most memorable one because it's just that: the experience I remember the most.
I just wish I had told my brother not to get the same ball, signed by a Future Hall of Fame closer, also get signed by Sean Burroughs. I bet that hurt his ball's value, but I've still got mine..."
Thanks Chris, now let's take a look at what Wade has to say about his favorite piece of sports memorabilia
FRANK THOMAS AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL
"As a kid growing up in the 1990's, there was nothing that signified summertime than watching my beloved White Sox, and there was no player that mean more to me growing up than Frank Thomas. He signified everything that I loved about baseball and nothing meant more than when he won the World Series with the White Sox in 2005. Frank will always be one of my favorite players of all time, and I can't wait to see him enter the Hall of Fame in 2014."
Thanks a lot Wade. As a Cubs fan, I can surprisingly say that Frank Thomas is one of my favorite players ever and I hope he gets into the Hall next year. Now only if he could make some better beer.....Eric, you're up next!!
1987 TOPPS MARK MCGWIRE ROOKIE CARD
"In recent years, Mark McGwire's name has called to mind video-game-number hitting teams, lifting D-Backs coaches off the ground, steroids and "not coming here to talk about the past.". But in St. Louis in the middle-late 90s, Big Mac was THE man. Monster homers, monster biceps, and the race with Sosa, McGwire dominated my early childhood baseball memories. Now, a lot of scandal surrounds that entire era, but this card still takes me back to before steroids (or sabermetrics or signing money or anything else) could taint the magic of baseball."
Thanks Eric, I actually think I have that card as well, but I'm sure it means more to you than it does to me. Lastly, here is my favorite piece of memorabilia.
"I definitely love card collecting as a hobby, and while I focus more on hockey, I do have some nice baseball stuff as well. Some of my favorite cards include a Starlin Castro autographed card, a Ron Santo and Billy Williams rookie card, and a Javier Baez rookie autograph. Among some of my favorite memorabilia pieces include a Starlin Castro autographed jersey, a Jason Kipnis autographed baseball, a Ryne Sandberg autographed baseball, a Pete Rose autographed baseball, and a Mark Prior/Kerry Wood/Greg Maddux autographed picture. However, my favorite piece might surprise you."
MICHAEL RESTOVICH AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL
"Michael Restovich???? Who the hell is Michael Restovich???? If you don't know who Michael Restovich is, you can read up on him HERE. Restovich was nothing more than a 5th outfielder who played for 5 teams in 6 years, so why is a baseball autographed by him my favorite piece of sports memorablia?? Well the answer there goes back to April 30, 2006, at a game at Wrigley Field featuring the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. As a fundraiser for high school baseball, we had to sell tickets, and the player who sold the most tickets got to throw out the first pitch. I started asking all of family and friends and sure enough, I sold the most tickets!! I got to throw out the first pitch.
Donning my customized pinstriped Cubs jersey, I got to walk out onto the mound at perhaps the most historical field in baseball. I got to stand where guys like Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, and countless others and throw to a Chicago Cub. My personal catcher for the day happened to be Michael Restovich. I walked out onto the mound in front of the 40,000 plus, wound up, and fired a strike right over the inside corner. This was definitely one of the best moments of my life so far, and that is why a baseball autographed by a journeyman who didn't last long in the league is one of my prized possessions."
So those are our favorite pieces of sports memorabilia. Collecting is one of the biggest hobbies that one can pick up, and it is something that brings fans closer to the players that they love to watch. If any of you have a favorite piece, please feel free to share it with us, as we would love to hear about it. Thanks, and if you are in the Chicagoland area, stop by the convention. I won't be able to make it this year, but it is something that you won't want to miss.