Oddly enough, I actually mentioned in My Favorite Childhood Player that I didn't have an autographed ball of Mark McGwire. However, I do have a few Hall of Famers, and a few not so famous Cardinals as well. Here's the entire collection in one glamour shot.
Left to right, here's what we've got:
- Lou Brock, which I acquired in person at a store opening, a Sears I think.
- Ozzie Smith. I've gotten autographs from him on a few occasions, but I think this was at an event at his restaurant.
- Gary Gaetti on the sweet spot, because he's the first guy I got to at the Cardinals Winter Warm Up. I only brought one or two balls with me that day, so also on the ball are Ron Gant, David Bell, Ray Lankford, Royce Clayton, and Scarborough Green.
- Kyle McClellan, who was signing for free at a local college open house last fall. He was really nice, even to the people who handed him 4 balls to sign (a bit much I think), and happily signed with the blue pen I provided.
- Bob Gibson, also from a Cardinals Winter Warm Up.
- And on top, not quite a ball, but close enough, is a T.J. Oshie puck. I think this technically belongs to my wife as her sister got it for her. Even so, it sits with the rest of my collection.
Other than the Oshie Puck, I actually acquired each of these in person. I don't think I'd be opposed to buying an autographed ball of a player I really liked, but it's also cool to have the memory of meeting the players, even if some of the memories are a bit fuzzy now. I haven't been to the Winter Warm Up since my return to collecting, but writing this post makes me really want an Oquendo, McGwire, Matheny, and La Russa ball now. Some other favorites of mine have moved on to new teams, but maybe after their retirement I'll be able to find Scott Rolen or even Albert Pujols at a local event.