For anyone who knows my family you would know that I was destined to be a baseball fan. It’s hard not to be when most of my early childhood memories are being at the softball fields for my dad’s games. There was always something special about being at the fields for me as a kid.
Even without going to hundreds of softball games growing up there were still two big factors that have led me to being a baseball fan and being an autograph seeker.
My hometown is Longview, WA, and even though it is a dirty and smelly city, baseball is important. They have hosted Little League and Babe Ruth World Series tournaments more times than I can remember. On a side note one of the first 12 and under Little League World Series tournaments that Longview hosted had a talented shortstop from the Oakland area play in it, his name is Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Being in a baseball city meant that there would be opportunities to do baseball related events each year. One event that used to occur in Longview was the Bud Black / Rick Sweet baseball clinic. Both Black and Sweet are from Longview and as a way of giving back they would bring in guys they knew from the major league level to do clinics with kids on how to properly throw and hit. Some of the guys who came included John Olerud, Pete O’Brien, John Jaha and Jason Schmidt.
After the clinic was finished the players would sign autographs for everyone. This was really my first real taste of the autograph scene but it would be far from the last.
My dad decided to take a day where just the two of us would go to Seattle for a game. He even agreed to go early enough to see if there was a chance that we could maybe meet a player or two and get some autographs. Little did he know that we wouldn’t meet just any two players.
You can read the full story written by my dad in this blog post http://9inningknowitall.com/2012/06/05/a-brush-with-history/
As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts getting autographs isn’t about a signature on a card but instead is a memory of a time I got to meet someone who plays the game I have loved for as long as I can remember. People can question me and even at times laugh when they find out I’m an autograph seeker but every time I go into my ‘man cave’ and see so many reminders of some of my most enjoyable moments in my life, I can’t help but smile.
Please share with others what caused you to fall in love with baseball or autographing in the comments below.