This weekend I went to the Pinstripe Passion show in Secaucus, NJ. I got four autographs at this show – Lou Piniella, Wade Boggs, Yogi Berra and Don Larsen. I’ll discuss below in a little more detail. One thing about moving to the Northeast, and in the NJ/NYC area in particular, there seem to be many more autograph shows than what was in Ohio. Every now and then you had one in Cincinnati or Cleveland, particularly something for the Reds, which was cool. But there are way more here. That said, aside from getting to meet the 4 players and get their autos, this show wasn’t particularly well run. More on that below, I’d rather start with the 4 guys.
Saturday I got Lou Piniella’s autograph on a 1990 World Series pennant I have. This was to me the highlight of the four because it’s on an item that I really care about. There was an event in Cincinnati a few years ago in honor of the 1990 Reds, and I got my pennant signed by everyone who was there – Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Tom Browning, Billy Hatcher, Ron Oester, Joe Oliver and Mariano Duncan (who was also at the Pinstripe Passion event this weekend). I also got Joe Nuxhall to sign it, because he called the games with Marty on WLW that year. I still had a lot of 90 Reds missing – manager Piniella, Paul O’Neill Jose Rijo and Chris Sabo stick out most notably, but there are quite a few more – all 3 Nasty Boys (from what I hear, Randy Myers will be next to impossible), Hal Morris, Todd Benzinger and Danny Jackson. But, either way, I got one of those knocked off this weekend, and I think I can get Paul O’Neill sometime in the future since I live in the NY area. “Sweet Lou” was very nice, and he said it was cool to see a Reds fan in that area.
Wade Boggs signed a baseball because they had a reduced price and a free inscription for his auto, which I wanted to get “3,010 Hits”. I sort of have a collection of 500 HR and 3,000 Hit guys going. Unfortunately, due to the hurriedness of the show, I completely forgot to ask for the inscription. Not Wade’s fault – he was very friendly and I have no complaints toward him. I just wish the organizers didn’t treat the paying customers like herded cattle – scratch that, I don’t even mind being herded cattle, just do better organizing the herd!
On Sunday, I got autos of Don Larsen and Yogi Berra on the ball. Larsen signed his name on the sweet spot with a perfect game inscription, and Yogi signed his name in the area above that. Both were friendly and smiled and said “thank you” in response to my “thank you”. I don’t have quite as much to say to them as I could to someone like Lou, since I never saw them play and they don’t have an association with my favorite team, but it was cool to meet them and get this item all the same. Yogi was upstairs in a different room, and I heard rumors that he may not sign much, if at all, after this event. He’s had some health issues the past few years. Anyways, it actually worked better having him in his own room – it didn’t seem like the chaos in the rest of the show. It felt similar to when I got Willie Mays autograph in Cooperstown a couple of years ago – you knew you were getting something autographed by an all-time great.
So all 4 guys were very friendly. Overall, though, as far as the show goes, I was a little disappointed in what was there. It was basically an autograph signing event with a bunch of tables with other autographed items. There were hardly any cards there, just a few tables, and I didn’t find any baseball card items past the point I’m at in my project (1986). Not a big deal; I was going to get the autographs. But I was hoping that maybe I could pick up some junk wax era Topps to avoid ordering them later and paying the shipping. However, the autograph part wasn’t that great, either. This had nothing to do with the players – they were all very friendly. But it just seemed very disorganized. The autograph area was in the back, with the players lined up on tables against the wall. There was one guy calling out numbers, and he was standing in the lone entrance to the autograph area. So he’d call “numbers 1-70 for Moose Skowron and #’s 1-35 for Rick Cerone. There were one or two other guys as helping him organize. The problem was, everyone would crowd around that one entrance, and it just made for a bit of chaos. I got the feeling that they weren’t sticking completely to the numbers; I saw a couple times where somebody clearly had a later ticket and they just let that person pass because they were causing more clutter. I’m not an event organizer, but there’s a better system to this and it would start with more space between the auto area and the dealer area, and keeping the area where people whose tickets aren’t up yet further away from the auto area.