Friday, August 17, 2012

Priceless Pesky

Earlier this week, the Red Sox organization and their fans lost a great man.   Johnny Pesky, passed away at age 92.  He was an active and loyal member of the Sox organization for over 60 years.  He had roles as a player, manager, coach, broadcaster, ambassador and many other titles, for the Red Sox since the early 1940's.  His loyalty, personality and consideration toward all fans was incredible.  There isn't a person I've met in sports that was more accessible and friendly toward their fan base. 

My personal photo of Johnny from spring training (2004).  He autographed this photo of mine and asked for a copy to which I mailed to his home.  He sent me back an autographed black and white photo as a thank you.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Johnny over 20 times in my life.  Some were at spring training, Fenway park, baseball dinners and autograph events.  Every encounter always started the same; he'd shake my hand, ask me my name, and ask how I was doing.  Yet, every interaction was different in it's own way, and I have a different story to share for each of the 20 encounters.  He never had anything bad to say about the Sox or anyone, for that matter.  His autograph was always the same and he would sign anything put in front of him. 

Johnny with me and my daughter in 2005.

If you are lucky to have a Johnny Pesky autograph, keep it and cherish it.  Make sure it stays preserved as there are only a couple of more people in sports that will have been with their organization for that long.  If you had an encounter with Johnny, make sure you remember what that was like and tell the story over and over.  If you don't have a Pesky autograph, purchase one (they are not expensive).  Having an item from the person for whom the Red Sox retired the number 6, will be a priceless keepsake to share with your family and friends forever.

Johnny Pesky autographed ball and card.  Ball is the American League 100th anniversary ball.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ticket Stubs

As I was cleaning out a closet recently, I came across my ticket stub storage box.  I have stubs in this box dating back to events/movies I attended in the early 80's, through baseball games I attended this week.  Other than meandering down memory lane or recalling specific moments from these events, I started to think about what to do with these.

Sample of my different ticket stubs.

So I came up with the following:

1.  Place them in an album in plastic pages sorted by year.  It could become a great coffee table type of item and a great conversation piece when you have company over.
2.  Get the stubs autographed by someone who participated in the event.
3.  For significant or history making events, get them framed.
4.  Separate tickets by entertainment events (Ie, sport events, concerts, movies, theatre) and display in an album.
5.  Hang all ticket stubs randomly on a cork board in your work space.

Ticket stub from Jon Lester's no hitter framed with an autographed ball from Jon.

Ticket stubs from Hideo Nomo's no hitter with accompanying photo of last out.

I think ticket stubs are worth keeping and if possible autographed.  I also think they're value to having a ticket stub, instead of the current print yourself tickets you can access online.  They can become a great keepsake for younger people in your family to look at and understand what was happening in our lives.

Minor Leagues, Bring Major Opportunity

When friends and family ask me how my quantity of autographs has built up, I always respond by first speaking about my minor league team signed items.  Since 2003, I've been attending minor league baseball games in all the New England states.  We are fortunate to have many major league affiliated teams assigned to play in a concentrated geographic area that includes 3 levels of league play .  If you're a baseball fan and are willing to spend about $6 for a ticket, it's pretty easy to see a minor league game without traveling far. 

Sample of my own minor league team signed balls.  Most have at least 30 signatures on each ball.

In addition to a great 2+ hours of family entertainment, the minor leagues bring a great opportunity to acquire autographs from future stars in great quantity.  Most minor league parks have very easy access to the players, along baselines and next to the dugouts.  With a baseball and pen in hand, a little patience and a roster of player names and uniform numbers, you can build up a great collection in no time.  Just by being polite and prepared, acquiring at least 10 autographs before first pitch should be fairly easy.  In most cases the players will talk with the fans and engage in short conversations.  After 2-3 visits you should have an item with at least 25 autographs, and a positive interaction with the superstars of the future.

2012 Lowell Spinner players signing autographs for fans.

View into the lowell Spinner dugout, notice another player signings on the other side for fans.

So take advantage of this opportunity.  For the price of a ticket and food, it is still cheaper to attend a minor league game than a movie with a family.  And we all know, you won't be getting autographs at the movie theatre.