Card of the Day: Rubin Hurricane Carter 2010 Ringside Boxing Round One Gold Auto #A-RHC2

 photo hurricaneboxer_zps03616a9e.jpg

“Pin-Up” of the Week: Gary Carter 1984 Fun Foods #3 Pin

Photobucket

Yesterday baseball lost one of it’s best, Gary Carter, to brain cancer.  He was only 57 years old.  The above pin was issued in early 1985 but has a 1984 date on it.  The set consists of 133 pins.  These were mass produced and can easily be found for under $1.00.

Card of the Day: Gary Carter 1975 Topps Rookie Catchers – Outfielders #620

Photobucket

Card of the Day: Ki-Jana Carter 1995 UD SP Premier Prospects #1

Photobucket

Card of the Day: Gary Carter 2002 Topps Team Legends Auto

Photobucket

Meeting Your Baseball Hero: Guest Blogger James Ryan of Sports Locker

Meeting Your Baseball Hero

There are more nerve racking moments in life (health scares, getting married, and having children), but finally meeting your baseball hero must be on the list. My favorite team is the New York Mets and my childhood baseball hero is Gary Carter.

I became a Gary Carter fan after watching a game with some school friends on April 9, 1985. It was Gary Carter’s first game with the Mets and he cracked a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. What a debut! I was also a catcher (for my little team in Logan Township, New Jersey), so cheering for Carter was easy. My favorite team had a new player who hits home runs on demand, plays the same position I do, and was becoming the main guest on Kiner’s Korner! What’s not to like?

As a kid, having a baseball hero is more than just catching an update on the local news. You need to have the t-shirt with his number, find his baseball cards, check the box scores every day and defend him in the school cafeteria no matter what!

Of course I’ll always have my Game 6 memories. Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner may have captured the front-page headlines, but I’ll never forget that it was Gary Carter who started the rally with 2 outs in the 9th inning.

I didn’t spend the time to cutout and save box scores or Sports Illustrated issues, but I did begin purchasing the new cards that came. I had his cards from the ‘80s and the new ones later on that had a piece of Gary Carter’s jersey, his bat, and the autograph cards. I even had a card that had a piece of his old Nike shoes!

Eventually I realized that I wanted to expand my collection of Gary Carter memorabilia to more than baseball cards – I wanted to get an in-person autograph. I finally had my opportunity at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, Ohio (The National).

At the National

TriStar runs the autograph pavilion at The National and in 2007 their guest list included Hall-of-Fame catcher, Gary Carter. Now in my 30s, and twenty-one years after “Game 6,” I couldn’t believe that I would finally have my chance to meet my baseball hero.

What would I ask Carter to sign? Should I get a jersey? Should I ask him to sign a bat? How would a photo looked signed? I decided to get a couple of All-Star logo baseballs signed. He was the Most Valuable Player of the MLB All-Star game in 1981 and 1984.

Leading up to the National and standing in line on that Saturday, I experienced all the emotions of an elementary school kid getting on the bus for the first time.

  • What should I wear?
  • What should I say?
  • How do I talk?
  • What is my name?

When it was my turn in line, I tried to keep my voice from cracking like Peter Brady’s (when it’s time to change…) and exchanged greetings. I handed over my tickets, baseballs, and shook Gary Carter’s hand! Gary was great. I talked about watching him start the Game 6 rally and he took his time signing the baseballs and talking about the game.

While signing the All-Star game baseballs Gary asked me, “Are you some kind of All-Star game collector?” My response to Gary (without hesitation), “No sir. I’m a Gary Carter collector.”

You can insert your own rim-shot or Gong Show noise here, but I swear it was the first response that popped in my head. Fortunately for me, Gary responded with, “well give your camera to that guy (pointing at the man behind me whom I didn’t know) and come around the table for a few pictures.”

I don’t know who the guy was in line behind me. I never got a chance to say thank you, but his photography skills preserved an awesome moment.

Today, I have the Gary Carter autograph baseballs displayed in my office and I think about the great autograph experience. My collection has come a long way since pinning a 1987 Topps Gary Carter baseball card to my NY Mets pennant.

When I look at the collections kid’s have today, I think:

  • What player will they want to meet 20 years from now?
  • Which player will be as gracious as Gary Carter?
  • Will the heroes of a few years ago like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds create experiences like Gary Carter did for me?
  • Will stars from this year like Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, or Tim Lincecum follow Carter’s footsteps?

I don’t have the answers, but next time, I hope I’m the guy taking the pictures.

James Ryan runs SportsLocker.blogspot.com

Photobucket

PHOTOS: Card Show with Kyle Brady

The Capital City Mall located in Harrisburg held a sports card & memorabilia show promoted by CAC-Shows today.  When I was there Kyle Brady and LeSean McCoy were signing autographs.  Later in the day Ryan Clark and Tyrone Carter of the Steelers showed up to sign autographs too.  I busted a few packs and picked up some stuff for my collection.  Take a look!  

 Photobucket

This is the setup where you would get your autographs.  It was right inside of a closed Disney Store.  It really is the happiest place on Earth 🙂

 Photobucket

They had a ton on items to purchase if you needed something to get signed.

Photobucket 

Kyle Brady signing my new Rawlings Black/Gold Penn State football.  It doesn’t get more authentic than this.

 Photobucket

LeSean McCoy signing autographs.

Photobucket 

This is the first time I’ve gotten something signed in gold.  I think it turned out nice.

 Photobucket

The main center of the show.  I’m glad to see it so packed.

 Photobucket

I had to pick one of these up for my collection.

 

 Photobucket

I give this show a total of 4 hot dogs out of 5 (1=poor  5=perfect).  There were more dealers than what I thought there would be.  It had a great combination of vintage and modern cards which appeals to different collectors.  There was only one dealer really selling wax, and they had a great selection.  He only had two tins left of 2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic and I snatched them up quick.  CAC-Shows handles the autograph signings very well.  If you don’t have anything to get signed, they provide a wide array of items to get autographed.  They also have an informative setup showing autograph seekers where to go for each athlete.