Saturday, February 21, 2015

Just in Time

Today was the 20th annual Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest. Each year, the team comes to their home stadium, Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, to interact with fans and get the city pumped up for another season. 

My favorite part of Fan Fest is the MLB alumni table. Around 30 former players signing autographs for free. Many of the players are not recognizable names. In the past, I'd maybe have five or six cards to bring. This year, thanks to the discovery of COMC, I went through past year's attendees and ordered cards of players I hoped would be attending. I ended up ordering 18 cards of 18 different players. Of those, 14 were in attendance today. Not too bad, but I nearly missed them all.

My COMC order didn't ship until this past Wednesday. I was a little nervous, but the tracking information said I would receive the delivery on Friday. Perfect, I'd have time to organize them before Saturday's Fan Fest which opened at 11am.

Late Friday afternoon I see my mailman at the mailboxes in my complex. I tell him that I'm expecting a package, but he tells me he doesn't remember seeing my name on anything. He double checks. Nothing. My heart sinks. I ask him if it's possible that it could be sitting at the nearby Post Office waiting to be delivered the next day and he tells me "no." He sees my disappointment and I explain my need for this package. He knows I'm an autograph collector, so he gets my frustration. He's a fellow baseball card collector and we talk often about the hobby.
He tells me that if the package arrives on Saturday, he'll deliver it right away. I tell him that I need it before 10, and he says, "oh, I won't be out that early, but if you come to the Post Office, I'll put it aside for you if it arrives." I thank him and head home hoping it shows up.

I wake up this morning and check the tracking order and I see this:

I am so elated. Three hours after waking up I see that the cards arrived and are basically waiting for me across the street at my Post Office. I get there around 9am and ask for my delivery man and he comes out and happily hands me the envelope. I was so thrilled!

I had a great day collecting autographs. I got 29 total, the most I'd ever gotten in one day. That's 29 different people. I don't get multiple things signed...except for the very first card below. I had Darold Knowles sign that card to basically complete it. He had already signed a card for me back in 1993. Roly DeArmas had signed this card for me 2 days ago.


  1. Interesting mix of guys... I wonder what connection some of them have to the Rays (or perhaps they just live in the area).

    1. I would bet that they all live in the area. It's typically the same group signing each year, with a few new additions along the way.

  2. How are the new 2015 cards for autographs? It looks like the same marker was used for several cards, does the new set take the ink nicely?

    Since you've gotten so many in person autographs, do you have a recommendation for the best pen or marker to use on cards?

    1. The cards are great, no rubbing necessary. I've always stuck with regular Sharpie's. Blue is supposedly the color of choice by most collector's because it looks nice and sells better, but player's have caught onto this and will sometimes avoid you if they see you holding a Blue Sharpie. Since I have no interest in ever selling any of my autographs, I've always just stuck with black to avoid any potential hassles. Plus, I really like the retractable Sharpie's since there's no cap involved, but I've only ever seen them in black.

    2. Great - thanks for the insight!


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