“Mr. Cub” and a Heisman

10 04 2011

I went to an autograph show in Somerset, New Jersey today.  It definitely needed to be called an “autograph show” as opposed to a “card show”.  There were hardly any cards there, but the autograph list was the most impressive football listing I’ve ever seen.  It seemed to be focused on Super Bowl MVP’s and Heisman Trophy winners – it had the likes of Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Hines Ward, Cam Newton, Drew Brees among many others.

I went for the only baseball player I saw on the list – “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks. I’m slowly accumulating autographed baseballs of 500-HR and 3,000 hit guys.  The man famous for saying “Let’s Play Two” is one of 3 players I’d want to get sooner rather than later based on their age.  The other two are Hank Aaron, who I missed when he was in New York city for a signing in December, and Stan Musial, who I wonder if I’ll ever get the opportunity to meet in person.  But Mr. Cub sure seems to be doing well – he was friendly and great to have a brief chat for.  My wife was with me and he asked if we were married – then wanted to see if I got her a good ring!  She showed him her diamond, and he made a move saying “oh, that’s bright”.  All said, this was one of the neatest encounters I’ve had in these shows.  My mom grew up in Chicago, and her Dad is a lifelong Cubs fan, so this was a neat story to tell.  I’ve always kind of liked Ernie Banks because of the Chicago connection, but he’s certainly got a new fan and I hope he’s still making appearances at Wrigley for years to come!  The picture above is actually from Great American Ballpark – he threw out the first pitch of the Civil Rights game last year.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m also a big Wolverines fan (tough loss for the Hockey team on Saturday).  Desmond Howard falls into both the categories above – Heisman and Super Bowl MVP, and I bought a replica helmet and got his autograph on that.  Fellow Wolverine and Heisman winner Charles Woodson was also there, and I intend to get his signature on that helmet someday.  But for today, his price was a bit too expensive after getting autos from the other two guys.  We had a great chat with Desmond, as well.  I mentioned that my wife is an Ohio State fan, he laughed and asked when I was going to convert her.  We told him we’d moved from Columbus after 7 years there, and he joked “they ran you out like they did Herby”.  Anyways, another neat experience – Howard, Elvis Grbac and the Fab 5 were my first memories of any sport outside of baseball, and the excitement that those guys brought really turned me into a sports fan the years just before I was a teenager.

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25 01 2015
RIP Mr. Cub, 1931-2015 | Lifetime Topps project

[…] live, and he said he was as friendly as you could be.  I met him a few years ago when I went to an autograph show in New Jersey.  I’ve been collecting autographs of 500-HR and 3,000-Hit guys, and Banks was a great guy to […]

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