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Well, That Didn’t Take Long

The news of former college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian’s death had barely hit the wires yesterday when the schools where he coached released the memorial patches that they’ll be wearing in his honor. The one with the shark fin will be worn by UNLV, where Tarkanian coached from 1973 through 1992, and the other one will be worn by Long Beach State, where he coached from 1968 through 1973.

Tarkanian also coached at Fresno State (1995-2002). To my knowledge, they have not yet announced a patch design, although I’m sure that will be coming soon.

In addition, Tarkanian coached in the NBA, but just briefly — a 20-game stint with the Spurs. They don’t even seem to have acknowledged his death on their Twitter feed, so I think it’s safe to assume that no uniform memorial will be coming from them.

By timely coincidence, my latest ESPN column is about memorial patches, but from more of an MLB perspective. It takes a look at the Oscar Taveres situation and the larger state of MLB memorial patches in general — check it out here.

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

One of my earliest sports memorabilia memories is from when I was six years old. Bulls forward Toni Kukoc came to a car dealership in my hometown for an autograph session, and my family and I waited in a mammoth line for him to sign my Bulls cap. I still have the hat displayed in my room.

I’m not a huge autograph guy, but I have a few others. I got Sammy Sosa’s and old Brewers base coach Dave Nelson’s in person, and I got Nolan Ryan’s as a gift when I was little.

Do you have any sports autographs? If so, who has signed for you? How did you acquire them? What lengths have you had to go to in getting them? What would be the ultimate autograph for you? And if you’re not an autograph guy, consider my same question with photos and selfies instead.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Despite becoming a Twins affiliate in November, the Chattanooga Lookouts will still wear their Dodgers-style uniforms (from Jeremy Money). … New uniforms for Wichita State and Louisiana. … New unis for Mississippi State (from Phil). … Iowa has new throwbacks (from Phil). … Seems that Clemson is now wearing Nike jerseys. … New home uniform for Toledo (from Phil). … Babe Ruth played minor league ball in Baltimore, so the Bowie Baysox will give out bobbleheads of Ruth in a 1914 Orioles minor league jersey (from Phil). … The Angels are giving away ugly Mike Trout caps in May (from Phil). … The Gary RailCats will wear Back to the Future jerseys in June (from Phil). … A flat-seamed ball may increase offense in college baseball. … The Clearwater Threshers have a new logo to commemorate 30 years of minor league ball in the city (from Jonathan Daniel). … Tommy Lasorda posed with his garden gnome (from Phil). … In the trailer for Straight Outta Compton, the Dr. Dre character wears a Dodgers jersey. Dan Wohl was curious about the late 1980s authenticity of it because there is no “LA” patch or Majestic logo on the left sleeve. “I’m 95% certain it is actually a contemporary replica jersey, which has the Majestic logo on the right sleeve,” he says. “Kind of lame.” … George Washington University is letting fans vote on a new uniform through social media. To vote, either “Like” the uniform’s photo on their Facebook page or retweet or favorite the uni’s pic on their Twitter. … New turquoise alternate jerseys for New Mexico.

NFL News: NFL Combine gear is now on sale (from Eric Wright). … The cell phone game Temple Run has NFL quarterbacks as playable characters (from Jim Grimes). … Robert Griffin III’s team-signed ankle cast is selling for more than $1,000 (from Tommy Turner). … Sports Illustrated used the old Dolphins logo in a recent issue (from Harrison Hamm).

College Football News: ARCA Racing Series driver Buster Graham will have a Louisiana Tech-themed car and helmet on Saturday (from Chris Hickey).

Hockey News: Here’s the history of ads on boards and on the ice (from Phil). … The Ontario Reign’s new jerseys are basically the current Los Angeles Kings’ tops with the Kings’ old logo (from Phil). … A Blackhawks fan carved the team’s logo into his backyard ice rink. Not bad for freehand, or in this case, freefoot. … Some of the teams in the Great Lakes Hockey League have spiffy uniforms (from Robert Erickson). … A hockey writer wrote that the NHL should wear retro uniforms for an entire season.

Soccer News: Here’s the story behind D.C. United’s new Leidos jerseys. … Kaka and the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo swapped jerseys. Kinda (from Phil).

NBA News: LeBron James is producing an NBA fashion show that will air on All-Star Saturday. … Related, Dwight Howard wore a fantastic blazer two nights ago (from Phil). … The Bucks will retire Bob Dandridge’s No. 10 in March. … Last night, the Bucks had a ticket package where they included a Greek-themed Bucks T-shirt in honor of Giannis Antetokounmpo. … Yet another Bucks item! The team is known for having a realistic wax figure security guard in the lobby of their practice facility. … New York subway riders can sit on Carmelo Anthony’s lap thanks to a new and somewhat baffling ad campaign (from Phil). … Here’s an article about the men who created the Black History Month jerseys (from Phil). … Dwyane Wade wore an elevation training mask before last night’s game (from Phil).

College Hoops News: Maybe this is already known around here, but I just found it out: Chaminade’s upset over Virginia in 1982 was an orange vs. blue game. … Boston College wore throwbacks last night. … West Virginia and Kansas State went color vs. color (from Phil). … Sportswear, especially for women, has come a long way since the late 19th century. That’s the Mississippi University for Women Owls basketball team (from Dustin Semore). … Army’s women’s team wore their pink uniforms for the third-straight game (from Phil).

Grab Bag: The new ColorWerx website, a database of all the color combinations of pro sports teams throughough history, has launched (from Phil). … UC Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders (because of the campus’s high altitude), so the school’s logo is a bear with a Scottish hat (from Phil). … The man who designed the teardrop-shaped soy sauce bottle has died (from Adam Herbst). … Phillip Hughes’s death has prompted a redesign of cricket helmets. … Mexican skier Sarah Schleper has a mariachi-inspired ski suit. … “The Western Australian Football League allows clubs to place a smaller secondary player number on the front of jerseys,” says Graham Clayton. “This rule is applied inconsistently, though. The majority of clubs, like Claremont, have their number on the right, while West Perth is the only club to have their number on the left.” … Alex Allen has a daughter who was awarded a Wendy’s-colored Heisman jersey patch.

Comments (132)

    QotW: My favorite athlete as a child was Rickey Henderson. I lived in the NL town of Pittsburgh, so he would never be playing at Three Rivers. So my mother and I drove up to Cleveland for a 3-game, 2-day series. Unfortunately, Rickey had the flu and did not play in those games, but he did go around and sign some autographs, including my 1981 Topps rookie card.

    I have collected numerous signatures over the years. My two prized signings are a Dwight Evans batting practice jersey I had signed when I met him at a golf tournament, and a Carl Edwards jacket he autographed for me at a race.

    I have dozens of NASCAR autographs, though I only really display ones I have gotten myself. Likewise, my Red Sox signatures tend to only get displayed if they are the result of a meeting.

    Back in 1998 my dad took me and my brothers to a local J.D. Byrider used car dealership to go to an autograph session for a sprint car driver named Tony Stewart who had just become a champion in the semi-obscure and very young Indy Racing League (just after the CART/IRL split) who was now going to be doing some races in the NASCAR Busch (now Xfinity) Series for Joe Gibbs. Still have that “hero card” framed and in a very safe place.

    QOTW: I have gotten many autographs at fan functions for the NewJersey Devils. I usually got the current yearbook autographed. My favorite autograph I ever obtained was from a ball player mentioned a while back in this blog: Roy White. This one was easy to get as I attended a baseball camp he ran when he was a Yankee and I was a kid.


    When I was like 10 or 11 I sent Patrick Roy a card to be signed. Got the card back, unsigned and severely mangled, but he also threw a signed postcard in the envelope.

    QotW: When I was growing up in Baltimore, a few times my family ate at Johnny Unitas’ restaurant, The Golden Arm. It seems like Johnny was there just about every time we were–well, I’m sure that was a selling point for the restaurant. I’ve got two autographs from Johnny, one a B&W photo and one a color illustration of him in a game. Both are highly legible, in that wonderful swoopy signature of his. I also remember his hands were (at least to my young eyes) enormous. I also got Brooks Robinson’s autograph but it went missing many years ago.

    QotW: Today’s question is about autographs, and I have a story. Back in the late 80’s or early 90’s, about the only reason to go to a Yankee game was to watch Don Mattingly. One afternoon I got to the Stadium early and he was signing autographs along the wall on first base side, past the Yankee dugout. I’d bought a ball in the gift shop and after a short wait, Donnie signed it for me. Jump cut ahead to around 1999 when my son Danny was learning to write his name in school. He noticed my autographed ball and asked me what it was, why it was signed, and why would I keep it. I told him that it was a souvenir and token that a baseball player I admired had signed it for me and that I kept it to remember that I’d met him. Danny said OK, turned and left – only to return 5 minutes later to proudly show me his name written right below Mattingly’s. That moment crystallized (for me, at least) the absurdity of autographs and the rush to collect them – that ball became MORE valuable to me because my 4 year old son signed it than because Donnie Baseball signed it. I’ve never asked anyone for an autograph since.

    QotW: My family and I had season tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies for 6-7 years during the final years at the Vet. I was about 8 when we started going and our first years was 1996. We were lucky enough to be selected to receive tickets to the All Star game that year. My Dad and I went early for batting practice, and I caught a foul ball hit by Ozzie Smith that nearly took my head off. He came over later on that night and signed the ball I caught. The next year, when the Toronto Blue Jays returned to Philadelphia for the first time since 1993, I had Joe Carter sign my 1993 National League Championship Hat. I never forget he looked me square in the eyes and said “You sure you want me to sign this”. The last story is one September the Eagles were at the stadium for a meeting, and there was a restroom and concession stand down by their locker room. I went down there as they were all coming out to watch the game that day and had 15 of them sign a baseball, which I still have.

    QotW: I sort of accidentally ended up at Twins fan fest in 1998 or 1999. On the one hand, pretty much every player on the roster was present to sign autographs. On the other hand, the Twins of that era were essentially baseball’s first all-volunteer team, coming in very close to the league-minimum roster salary. My favorite player in those days was Ron Coomer, so I stepped into the line of maybe five people in front of his table. I didn’t know I was going to end up at fan fest that day, so I didn’t have like team merchandise or anything to autograph. But I happened to be reading Malamud’s “The Natural,” so when my turn came, I whipped the book out of my backpack and presented it to Coomer. He did kind of a double take and broke out laughing, and signed the cover.

    I’m not really into autographs. I had a little autograph book when I was maybe four years old that I made everyone sign – like, literally, everyone, from family members to the local TV news anchor – that I abandoned pretty much the day after I realized that Santa Claus had used the same pen and had handwriting as my dad. But the memory of making Ron Coomer laugh remains a highlight for me of a dreary time in my life as a Twins fan. I”m not even sure whether I still have that copy of “The Natural,” but I treasure the memory.

    That mariachi ski suit design is the brainchild of the “Prince” Hubertus character name-checked in the body of that article. Who’s about as Mexican as that American skier is.

    All cards. I was in Texas for our standard “visit grandmom” summer trip, and we decided to visit Cowboys summer training camp. I called home to my dad and had him mail me the Troy Aikman and Steve Walsh rookie cards I had (it was ’89, btw). Neither QB had any interest in signing autographs, but my mom got the attention of a sympathetic employee who took the cards to Aikman and Walsh and returned them autographed. I wonder what Steve Walsh is up to now?

    A few years later (’92), the Pirates were playing an exhibition against their then-affiliate Carolina Mudcats. The Pirates starters played a few innings before sitting for autographs, so I got Barry Bonds to sign an Upper Deck card.

    All 3 of these are sealed up in a box in my parents attic, with the rest of my collection, waiting for the sports card market to return with a vengeance. Can someone let me know when that happens?

    I was bigger into autographs growing up, not so much anymore. I have a few of the current O’s players like Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and JJ Hardy, as well as Nick Markakis, but I don’t have the ball with all of them on display, it’s kind of a whatever piece to me. I have another ball I’m more proud of with Robbie Alomar, who was my favorite player growing up, but there are a lot of other signatures on it of players who aren’t really important, so I doubt the ball is worth much of anything.

    I have two different footballs on display with Joe Paterno’s and Hines Ward’s autographs, but I did not obtain those autographs myself, but rather my aunt did and got them for me as gifts.

    And hardly any of that combine gear has the combine logo on it! How am I supposed to feel compelled to buy any of it???

    QOTW: I grew up a fan of the Whalers and was always fond of Kevin Dineen. Fast forward to 2001, at a Barenaked Ladies show in Columbus. BNL, as they do, go into some banter about skating with the Blue Jackets the day before the show. Just then, a spotlight pops down right on top of me, or so I thought. I then realized that Kevin friggin’ Dineen is standing right next to me. Once the banter was over, he gladly signed my concert ticket “Go Naked or Go Home, Kevin Dineen” and chatted for a moment.

    I’m going to bet that the person running the Spurs Tweeter is 22 and doesn’t know that Tarkanian coached there.

    I’ve got quite a few autographs from athletes but I think the most memorable was NOT getting one from Zdeno Chara.

    I was at a sports memorabilia store in Fanueil Hall when in the back area of the store, there’s Zdeno Chara just sitting there alone. I’m really quite surprised that the Bruins captain is sitting there patiently, waiting for anyone to come up to him. I have a piece of paper on me and I figure he’d have a pen. I walk straight up to him and he looks at me. He’s ready to interact and sign for me. I’m just about to give him the piece of paper when a security guy comes out of nowhere and stops me. He says that I need enter the “autograph station” through a designated entrance and that it’d be $20 for a stock photo, $50 for a bigger picture or something.

    Now I’m not the biggest Bruins fan so when I heard that, I just shrugged my shoulder and said to Chara, “Go Bruins” and left the store.

    QOTW: I scored my dream autograph a couple of years ago when I first started getting into baseball autographs.

    Dale Murphy. He was at opening day at the Richmond Flying Squirrels. I drove down to Richmond from DC just for that.

    A lot of my autographs are Washington Nationals and Capitals. I go to Capitals practices for those. I hang outside Nationals Park for the baseball players.

    Bryce Harper is a hard one to get, but I’ve gotten him three times so far. I’ve gotten him to sign cards once a year so far.

    I’m working on a Hall of Famer collection. I mostly get my Hall of Fame autographs at card shows.

    QOTW: Ernie Reyes Sr. & Jr., the karate stars. They did a P.A. in Pearl City, Hawaii, when I was on vacation. Ernie Junior was the star of a TV show (“Sidekicks”) In 1988. Ernie Senior was very nice. I guess Ernie Junior was, too, but he was about 12 and he was mass-producing his signatures at a card table.

    Question of the Week:

    Hi Mike. Longtime reader, first time commenter. I liked this week’s question! (This is long so sorry if I’m breaking etiquette rules or something.)

    About a year ago, I was selected at Madison Square Garden to participate in an intermission entertainment “Human Puck Race” at a Rangers game. They dressed us up in these ridiculously huge puck suits, and 3 of us shmucks had to run around the entire rink, weaving through flags. On the return trip at the last blue line, they had a cutout of a cell phone that you needed to pick up and place on a mat at the end line (it was some kind of promotion). The winner would receive a Henrik Lundqvist signed puck and Rangers prize pack.

    So, as luck may have it, I got the hole shot and burst out to a pretty sizable lead. I was feeling pretty good. The Garden Faithful(or the remainder that hadn’t taken the time to hit the can) was pretty into it! As I got to the cardboard cutout, I fumbled the damn thing and lost my lead.

    I was about 3 strides with not much space left in the rink to catch up, but I worked myself about even with my opponent and dove to the finish. He did too. As far as I could tell, I had edged my opponent out a split-second.

    Now these intermission promotions have to go less than 4 minutes, so they can get the Zambonis out to clean the ice. The girl in charge, flustered in the moment HANDED THE PRIZE TO THE OTHER GUY!

    I was incensed. The crowd agreed and booed while I ripped my helmet and elbow pads off and threw them off the ice; histrionics even Nick Fotiu would be proud of.

    After the whole everything, I went back to my seat where my friends consoled me and agreed that I had gotten screwed. About a minute before the 2nd period was to begin Dave Tolleson, MSG’s PA guy came on and bellowed “THE PLAY IS UNDER REVIEW!”.

    Apparently somebody at MSG (or maybe Toronto?) watching the dumb race saw that maybe I had gotten my cutout down before the other guy, and WENT TO VIDEO REVIEW to make it right. They splashed a freeze frame on the big new GardenVision screen that verified that fact. We were both in Gordie Howe Superman poses, but my cutout was touching the mat first!

    To make it right, they said I was the true champion and would be receiving a prize to make up for the call on the ice. Halfway through the 2nd Period, an MSG worker came to my seat with a signed Henrik Lundqvist goalie stick.Truly unbelievable. It was awesome taking the train back to Jersey with that piece of lumber that night.

    The King’s Stick now holds court in my apartment living room, where I catch all the Blueshirts games on TV. Talk about a conversation piece!

    I am an absolute idiot and said “Gordie Howe” when I meant Bobby Hull Superman.. you can kill me now.

    And for future edification.. link

    for pictures and what have you regarding my tale.. (i’ve rewritten it in various fashions about 15 times.)

    QOTW: I’m not a big collector, but I have a few autographs that I have picked up.

    I have an autographed picture and a handwritten note from Chicago Bears safety Doug Plank (#46 – the inspiration for the famed 46 defense). He was my favorite player as a kid and I got to meet him and talk to him at a gym my uncle owned.

    I met Jim McMahon at an appearance after he was drafted by the Bears. He autographed a fairly standard 80’s style football 8×10 headshot. The interesting thing about the picture is you can see his damaged right pupil (why he always wears sunglasses) and you can’t see his jersey number, but you can tell it is not the number 9 he actually wore. I can see the top of a 1 and the round top of the second digit. With the Bears script, I’ve always guessed it’s 10, 18 or 19.

    I have an autograph of the Famous Chicken (fka San Diego Chicken) that I got at a minor league game in the 80’s. It’s signed on a Beaumont Golden Gators hat, which was the pillbox design that the Pirates and Astros had in the 70’s and early 80’s. In UniWatch green and gold.

    “… . … UC Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders (because of the campus’s high altitude), so the school’s logo is a bear with a Scottish hat (from Phil). …”

    The elevation of UC Riverside is at 1100 feet above sea level, towering over the 850 feet elevation of downtown Riverside. I get that altitude is experienced as a relative phenomenon, but c’mon… And the name for that “Scottish hat” is a Glengarry.

    I’m in a grouchy mood this morning (can you tell?), so now let me address the QOTD. The whole autograph thing — which now manifests itself in mini-mobs of clamoring beseechers surrounding ballplayers in the hope of securing a scrawl that they intend to sell later on — has lost its erstwhile innocence and charm. I do, however, keep one very special autographed color photo of my uber-hero — “Best Wishes to the Connie Family, Joe Namath” it says — but the handwriting belongs to a guy I used to work with. Next step, I think, will be an autographed photo of Abraham Lincoln with “To Connie and kin: big thanks for hanging in there for The Last Great Hope.”

    The only autograph I have actually gotten in person is not a sports figure. It was Buddy Rich.

    Aside from that I have an Ernie Banks signed baseball that I bought from a shop.

    The link to the hockey advertising on the boards was excellent. However, it did not take into account that some of the arenas post ads over the ads between periods, so that rinks like Montreal get three in certain places, usually those are in view of the TV cameras

    QotW: I am an autograph guy, but I have never been the “wait in line” or get an auto in person kind of guy. Since I could afford it, I have always got my autos through the secondary market or high end card collecting. This way, I know what I’m getting is real since they are certified autos.

    I don’t collect just any autos though. Almost all of my collection has to do with Wisconsin. People that have played for the Bucks, Brewers, Packers, Badgers or are from the Dairy State. For example, I have Tony Romo and Pat Neshek autos even though they never played professionally in Wisconsin.

    The only exceptions to my rule are some high end cards that I pulled from packs that are of all time great baseball players that I couldn’t give up easily. For instance, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial, and Carl Yastrzemski.

    When I started playing golf when I was ten, and friend of my dad got me an autographed Jack Nicklaus hat. Evidently this friend knows Jack personally, and visits him every year in Ohio. I have no reason to believe the auto is fake and have the hat displayed with my other collectibles. This is one of the only instances of an auto I have that I did not get myself. Since I am a golf guy, I would like to get Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones, and Ben Hogan’s autos.

    QotW: I interned in the Strength and Conditioning program with the Brewers in 2003. My job was to basically run through pregame stretches with the pitchers and go through any workouts with any starters on days they weren’t starting, throwing bullpens, etc. At the end of the year I had every pitcher, bullpen/pitching coach, etc. sign a ball for me. Now I’ve got 10 signed balls, but one from Joe Torre and one from Trevor Hoffman, as both of them have come through my work for dinners, etc.

    When I was a kid, my dad was in the National Science Foundation program, basically a summer program for additional degrees, and it took us to three different colleges/universities in five years. Two of those years were at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, which was then the training camp of the Houston Oilers. It was a much different day then. I could just walk up and interact with the players, and I got all of their autographs including players like Billy Cannon and George Blanda. A bigger highlight though, was that I got to play catch with Blanda and other Oilers. It was cool.

    In the summer of 1989 former Browns played former Steelers in a flag football game (!) at Baldwin-Wallace in Berea, Ohio. Before the game, players were available for autographs. I had saved old Kardiac Kids prints given away by Shell Oil during that wonderful 1980 season and was eager to get many of them signed by those who were playing that day–especially my favorite player, Brian Sipe. Instead of setting up tables or having some sort of system for signing, however, fans essentially mobbed the players as they entered the field. Sipe was a popular player so the scrum around him was the biggest. I waited and waited withstanding the shoving and general claustrophobic conditions until I finally got up to the former QB. I handed him my print and asked, “Could you make that ‘To Jason’?” He signed and handed back the paper. Protecting my possession the best I could, I made my way back through the throngs still awaiting their turns. Once past the crowd, I took a moment to examine my prize. Sipe had misheard my request and apparently only the long “a” sound resonated. The autograph read: “To Dave Brian Sipe 17.”

    When the Threshers and Hammerheads meet on July 25 and commemorate the Threshers’ 30th anniversary, will attorneys get in for free?

    Not big on autographs or meeting famous people, however back in 1989 I did wait in line to get my copy of Home Game signed by Ken Dryden, as he was one of my favourite goalies when I was growing up. It happened over the Christmas break at a bookstore, and I still have the book.

    QotW: For some unexplained reason Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came to a sporting goods store in my small Northwest Indiana hometown when I was about 7 or 8 (5 or 6 years after he retired). I vaguely knew who he was so my mom took me to get his autograph. We go and there is no line so I walk right up to where he was sitting. His knees were at my eyes and all I remember is he looked so bored and couldn’t believe that someone talked him into coming to this little town. I’m sure my mom has the hat he signed somewhere, but after that I really didn’t see the big deal in getting an autograph. It all just felt so artificial. I could tell he didn’t care. Haven’t felt the need to get anyone to sign anything since.

    Re. ticker item on UC Riverside mascot. Tam o’Shanter (Tam) is the name for the ‘Scottish hat’.


    In the early 1970s, we were leaving a Met game and ran into Ralph Kiner in the parking lot. My father asked him for an autograph, but we had no paper. I picked up a placemat from the Diamond Club off the floor and link The logo on the placemat is the “extended t” version recently uncovered.

    I took my son to the Pro-Am day for the Quail Hollow championship. It’s a lot of fun for kids to get signatures from golfers and athletes. He had a pin flag with a dozen signatures, including the eventual tournament winner.

    The big prize was Cal Ripken Jr, and we had an authentic goofy bird hat for him to sign. My son was standing at the rail just holding out the cap, hoping… Cal’s playing partner, Ollin Browne grabbed the cap and signed the top of the bill. WTF!

    Cal passed him up, but some young women we had been talking to took the cap and got him to sign it. Cap has Cal on the underbrim, and Ollin Browne on top… got to be one of a kind.

    In the summer of 1989 former Browns played former Steelers in a flag football game (!) at Baldwin-Wallace in Berea, Ohio. Before the game, players were available for autographs. I had saved old Kardiac Kids prints given away by Shell Oil during that wonderful 1980 season and was eager to get many of them signed by those who were playing that day–especially my favorite player, Brian Sipe.

    Instead of setting up tables or having some sort of system for signing, however, fans essentially mobbed the players as they entered the stadium. Sipe was a popular player so the scrum around him was the biggest. I waited and waited withstanding the shoving and general claustrophobic conditions until I finally got up to the former QB. I handed him my print and asked, “Could you make that ‘To Jason’?” He signed and handed back the paper. Protecting my possession the best I could, I made my way back through the throngs still awaiting their turns.

    Once past the crowd, I took a moment to examine my prize. Sipe had misheard my request and apparently only the long “a” sound resonated. The autograph read: “To Dave Brian Sipe 17.”

    I was about to say, you have terrible luck!

    But really, something like that is more memorable of a story, in my view. My dad got a mini plush Chicago Bears football signed for me by a few players in the early 90s, and one of the guys spelled my name as “Micheal.” That has always amused me.

    Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall wore the orange blazer for his first game against Vanderbilt as Tennessee’s head coach. It’s traditionally been worn by coaches for games against Tennessee’s biggest rivals on the court, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. He might want to get a more generous cut..


    I have a copy of Bear Bryant’s autobiography. What makes it even more special to me is that it is personally signed for my grandparents (as my grandmother’s brother was a professor at the University of Alabama). With both of my grandparents passed away, I look at it more of a treasured family item than your traditional autograph, but it’s still a one-of-a-kind item.

    I don’t much care about autographs (big surprise), but I love this story: Back in the mid-1980s, Lou Reed was doing a record signing at a mall on Long Island. My friend Tommy patiently stood on line, waiting his turn. When it was his turn, he looked Lou Reed in the eye, said, “I’m a big fan,” and handed him — a Lou Rawls album.

    Reed smirked and signed the record.

    (No, I wasn’t there. But that’s how Tommy always tells the story, and I choose to believe it.)

    QoTW: Mookie Wilson spoke, signed and posed for photos at the most recent Queens Baseball Convention. My older son was in Washington, DC on a class trip and I lent him my camera. Most of the time I live in the 20th Century – I don’t have cable, internet or a smart phone. Since I didn’t have my camera, I whipped out my trusty flip phone for my photo with Mookie. Everyone fell out. After signing, as I posed for the photo, Mookie pulled me aside and said, “When’s your birthday cause you might want to ask for a smart phone as a present.”


    Not an autograph hound, but the one autographed item is a Michael Jordan-signed photo of him playing baseball (!) from one of his Chevy dealerships.

    I do have a (somewhat blurry but still recognizable) photo of Jay-Z when I sat on the first row back when the Nets played at Prudential Arena.

    And one last thing – no autograph or photograph, but back when I attended UNC, I worked traffic control at a basketball game for a club team fundraiser. My job was guarding the barricades, keeping cars out of the Dean Dome parking lot and directing them to other lots. The one highlight was when a BMW pulled up, the window rolled down and I immediately recognized the driver. Then I hear the trademark Kansas drawl: “Hi, I’m Dean Smith.” I’m stand there like a deer in headlights at that point, and all I can do is just nod and wave him through, as if he needed my permission to be in a building named after him.

    I have a lot of autographs but getting Cal Ripken Jr’s when I was 12 was the best.

    I bought a 2,131 ball with the orange laces like the used in the game for like $30 at then “New Comiskey Park.” I used to go to a lot of White Sox games to get player’s autographs from the other team.

    This was special because he passed me in the line twice and hurried down the line as I could tell he was finishing up. I stepped on 2 other kids and got it. Their parents yelled at me and I said, “if they wanted it bad enough they would have done the same.”

    I still have it displayed as my favorite piece.

    Like many here, I generally have no interest in autographs. Only one I have is from the first major league game I attended, in 1965 in Cincinnati, when I was 10. My favorite player, the young second baseman Pete Rose, was chatting with some people at the railing next to the dugout before the game. Nowadays any player doing that is swamped with autograph seekers, but I guess things were different then, because nobody was there except the fans in their seats with whom he was talking.

    My parents said if I took my scorecard down and asked him nicely, maybe he’d sign it. I was a shy little kid and scared to death but I did it, and he graciously did sign. I still have that scorecard, my first and only autograph.

    QOTW: Oh wow, I might have to categorize these.

    When I was a kid there was (and still is) a AA baseball team in my hometown of Midland. Used to be for the Angels, currently affiliated with the A’s. Me and my dad used to buy packs of minor league cards and look for top prospects and try to catch them before the game. The visiting team guys were much easier to catch. The ones I can think of in this group are Carlos Beltran, Carlos Beltre, Johnny Damon, Troy Glaus, Benji Molina, Fernando Tatis, Juan Encarnation, and Scott Eyre. There were probably a few others, but those are the ones I can remember. Damon was the coolest, and played catch with me before warmups. Glaus had never seen the card I asked him to sign and offered to pay me to keep it, I pulled out a second identical card and told him he could keep one if he signed the other for me.

    I got a few through promotions like Mike mentioned, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Drew Pearson had events around my hometown. My dad was once responsible for picking up Bobby Richardson from the airport for a speaking event, and so I got his, and we talked about Yogi Berra and watched a AA baseball game with him. That was awesome.

    Others, me and my dad would send off for. Some guys would sign and send it back others wouldn’t. Some would do it for a fee, and that was fine. Through this method, I got Hank Aaron, Lance Parrish, Bob Lilly, and a few others, although I drawing a blank on those.

    Like Mike, I was gifted a Nolan Ryan signed baseball. In similar fashion, I went to an Astros game as a kid and sat next to a lady that claimed to be Shane Reynolds neighbor. We gave her our address not expecting much but after a few months, boom, Shane Reynolds signed cards showed up. I know I’m leaving some out but they’re all in storage at my parents house so it’s been a few years since I’ve gotten them out. My ultimate autograph would be Ken Griffey Jr. I’ve tried a few times but it hasn’t worked out.

    I have quite a few. The ones I have displayed are 2 hats on a shelf with some of my other memorabilia. a Home Indians hat from 1995 Spring Training when they were still in Winter Haven,FL signed by Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Carlos Baerga and Albert “Joey don’t throw a ball at me” Belle.

    The other one is a Hat from Super Bowl 37 Signed by John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, and Monte Kiffin.

    I’m proud to say that I have never received, nor requested an autograph from an athlete.
    I can’t think of a situation I might be in where those circumstances might change.


    Nowadays, I generally only collect autographs of books and jazz CD’s, and almost explicitly at the tail end of a book launch party or concert that I attended. But since we’re talking sports, I saw Ken Dryden give a speech about his then new book Becoming Canada. I bought a paperback version of The Game (all Chapters had for sale) and he delightfully signed. As I was wearing my Dryden shirsey. Will probably always be my most prized sports autograph.
    As a kid, I had a signed photo to me from Peyton Manning, because my dad treated Cooper and I was at Newman Middle School at the time. I would hang it up, but I don’t know where it is among my parents’ stuff. But more meaningful was a Randy Bush baseball (he owned an indoor batting cage business in New Orleans and got a lot of my dad’s money for me to hit balls) and a Wally Whitehurst card (he was a counselor at UNO baseball camp, which I attended for some summers, and he was floored that some kid had his card).

    This story did not happen to me, but I was there with my friend when it did. It was 1995. The Jacksonville Jaguars were in their inaugural season, and they had their training camp in Stevens Point, WI (my hometown) It was a huge deal that an NFL team was going to be in town for a while. What was even better for my friend, was that Desmond Howard was on the team. Although we were 11 years old at the time, and were both Badger fans when it came to college football, my buddy LOVED Howard. Whenever we would play football, he would do “the pose” when he scored, and even had a Michigan sweatshirt and jersey.

    My friend and I watched practice a lot, and Howard would always escape the autograph seekers. After a week or so, we got crafty and followed Howard to the dining hall and waited for him to come out. After a while Howard came out holding two ice cream cones. We “casually” crossed paths with him, and my friend asked for an autograph. Howard said he didn’t have a pen, but my friend of course did. Then Howard said he couldn’t sign an autograph because he was holding ice cream cones. My friend said he would hold them while he signed the piece of paper. Howard then yelled out, “I don’t know where your hands been!” Then he walked away.

    Needless to say, he was crushed. He never cheered for Howard again. Even the very next year when he had an amazing season with the Packers, and ran back a kick to clinch Super Bowl XXXI, win the SB MVP, and re-establish the Packers as a dominant force in the NFL, my friend was yelling at the TV to fumble every time Howard touched the ball.

    The athletes who act like dicks and refuse to take like 30 seconds to sign for kids always baffles me. Especially, in your case, after two or three laps of “I can’t because [blank]”. Desmond could have made a kid’s life, but nah.

    I’m usually of like mind on these things, Mike, but I may have to take the other side on this one. Given the appallingly high percentage of people I see leaving restrooms without washing their hands, I can certainly understand Howard’s reluctance.

    Still, he wasn’t likely walking too far with ice cream in July, so I suppose that he could have gone and handed off the second cone to whoever was going to eat it, and come back to sign the autograph.

    In any case, he should have been a little more tactful in his refusal…especially to a kid.

    I got George Brett’s autograph as a child in a Kansas City hotel in the early 1980’s. Ran into him in the hotel gift shop where he was buying a newspaper and I ran back up to my room and got the complementary pen and paper that’s on the desk in your room. Then ran back down as fast as I could and found him in the parking lot and caught him at his car. He seemed annoyed but signed. Huge memory.

    Not uni-related, but in the spirit of the Natinals, the Conklin pen company released a new line of American-made fountain pens with engraving that reads, “Toledo, Hoio, USA”:


    From the DC United article:
    When the company reached a deal to become the club’s jersey sponsor, the goal, said a Leidos spokeswoman, is to “have a lot of people asking – who is Leidos?”

    If that was a problem, they could’ve just kept their old name, Scientific Applications Internationa Corporation, or changed to something more descriptive like “Herndon Defense Contractors”.

    I met former White Sox slugger Bill Melton at a card/memorabilia show about 20 years ago. I tagged along with Mom, a long-time Sox fan herself.
    Found out there was a one autograph per person limit, so the lady in front of us asked if I could get one for her son. My mom said I could; she’d get one for me.
    So I shake big Bill’s hand and say, “Hi, I’m Frank.” Got the signature and stood to the side as my mom is talking with Beltin’ Bill Melton as if they were classmates in school. She asked him about the commercial he did for an auto manufacturer where he and a couple of teammates were in the shower singing about it, while Mom sang the jingle for him.
    Bill got embarrassed, then laughed about it. “You know, when we shot that commercial, it was 32 degrees on location and it took a few takes. That was quite an experience I don’t miss.”

    Definitely my favorite autograph experience.

    Only two autographs I ever took any pride in. When I was about 10, I waited in line for a couple hours to get Kirby Puckett’s autograph at the Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis. At the time, Puckett’s was THE autograph for a MN sports fan.

    A couple years later we went to the go kart/mini golf place in Blaine and saw Sam Jacobson and John Thomas (stars from the only Gopher squad to make it to the Final Four) playing mini golf with their girlfriends. We didn’t have anything cool for them to sign, so we ran in and got some receipt paper from the cashier. I actually carried that around in my wallet for well over 10 years (for no particular reason).

    I have an Arena League football signed by Ron Jaworski and Jon Bon Jovi (back when they co-owned the Philadelphia AFL franchise) which I received as a gift.
    Back in ’83 (IIRC) a friend and I wanted to attend an open house/autograph/picture day being held by the Philadelphia USFL team, so we got ourselves down to the Vet via SEPTA. I can’t recall what I did with the signatures I obtained, but I know I still have a photo of Sean Landeta in an album somewhere.

    QOTW: I have two favorite sports autograph stories.

    Ozzie Smith – We waited forever after the game and ended up following him out to his car to get the chance. I finally got the baseball card in his hand, he was signing and I asked him what his favorite baseball card was. He looked at me like, “I am signing your damn card and you want me to talk too?” He was clearly miffed and then grumbled, “MVP”.

    Nolan Ryan – I had the fortunate opportunity to actually number the Nolan Ryan Signed Limited Edition Pictorial History Book. We had an assembly line where the book was cracked open, Nolan signed it, passed to me where I numbered it (I had the best handwriting!), passed on and ink blotted, closed, and put back in its linen box cover. The most nerve racking part was him standing over me in the beginning to make sure he liked what I was doing (I was shaking at that point). We all chatted a little during the whole deal – it took a while to go through the 5000 plus books – and he gave me grief over my “sucking at the time” Red Raiders. We were able to pick what numbers of the book we got to keep and afterwards we got some things signed. I asked him the same question, which baseball card he liked best, and he basically said there were way too many for him to even keep up with. But I believe he settled on either MVP or 5000 strikeouts. Here is a link to a link and you can see my numbering!

    In 1981, when I was 9, I went to a card show in RI and waited in line to get Mickey Mantle to sign a Hall of Fame ball with his picture on it that I had. He charged $5 to sign. I later somehow made a stray pen mark on the ball as a kid (kicking myself for that one), and the autograph has faded a bit, but $5 for Mantle to sign a ball in person seems like a hell of deal.

    On an unrelated note, I do not believe those BC basketball uniforms were authentic throwbacks. The design was used in the 70s but I don’t believe they ever wore gray.

    If you’re a Cub fan, or simply a fan of 1970s baseball, you may want to clear your calendar for the next hour. High quality film – following the Cubs, but including uniforms of many teams.


    I was a big Yankees fan growing up in the 50’s. Through someone in the NY organization that he knew, my uncle got me a baseball autographed by the 1956 Yankess –including HoFers Mantle, Berra, Ford, Stengel, Rizzuto, Slaughter, Dickey, Crosetti. I took great care of that baseball for many years and still have it. However, it is no longer in pristine condition — I came home from work one day to find that my wife had given that ball to my boys and they were in the backyard playing catch with it.

    QOTW: When I was 9, my aunt took me to downtown Minneapolis for an autograph session Harmon Killebrew was having at Northwestern National Bank (now Wells Fargo). He was gracious and friendly, asked my name, just as you would have expected from him.

    After that my aunt took me to lunch, and as we were walking back to her office, who do we run into but Harmon! He’d gotten lost in the skyway system, which was still relatively new in Minneapolis at the time, and couldn’t find where he’d parked his car. My aunt, who worked downtown, told him how to get there. Then, he said, “say, you’re Mitchell, right?” He remembered me from a couple of hours ago, knew that he’d signed an autograph for me. He thanked us for helping him out, and was on his way. That’s a memory I’ve cherished for 45 years (unless I’m suffering from Brian Williams syndrome). I can only imagine how many other people he must have touched like that over the years, and it didn’t take that much effort – Harmon was not only a class act, but a real gentleman, and we don’t have many of those today in or out of sports.


    I don’t consider myself an autograph collector, but am happy to get to a game early (especially during spring training) or wait around at an auto dealership if the opportunity arises. I won’t go out of my way to get an autograph though, as it needs to be somewhere I may be going anyway. I prefer baseball, basketball, football, hockey, tennis cards to larger items since it makes them easier to store. The only way I’ll buy autographs is if it is at a charity event or if they are certified by Topps, Upper Deck, etc. (the kinds you find in a pack rather than one someone else had autographed for them and then put up on eBay). I also go through occasional spurts of writing to athletes and asking them to sign cards for me. Recently, my 7 year old daughter has joined me on some of these adventures.

    — Favorite in-person autograph: Orel Hershiser, January 1990. Growing up in LA, the Dodgers were the end all, be all. A little over a year after his dominant 1998 season, my mom took me to the local mall so I could wait in line to meet Orel. I actually don’t remember meeting Orel so much as I remember the buzz I got from waiting in line for one of my heroes, and the fact that the Rams-Giants playoff game was on TV in the sports store while we waited (this is the game where Flipper Anderson) caught the winning TD in overtime and ran straight into the locker room. The place went nuts. Shortly thereafter Orel came out. In addition to signing my card he also signed a Mizuno poster they were giving out.

    — “Best” autographs: The autographs that I consider the most important to me are the ones of people that meant a lot to me as a kid. Aside from Orel Hershiser, my other favorite autograph is of Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.

    — “Worst” autograph: Rafael Palmeiro signed a card for me when my wife and I were on a cross-country road trip and we saw the Rangers play. I was thinking a future hall of famer was signing a card for me. Unfortunately, we all found out later that his career was tainted by PEDs.

    — Favorite minor league autograph: I was living in DC in 2001, and the Smithsonian put on an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the minor leagues. The featured honoree was the real Crash Davis, who signed my program for me.

    — My daughter’s autographs: Now that I have a kid of my own who enjoys the occasional chance to get an autograph, we’ll do things together or she’ll get autographs herself while I stand in the background. I never use her to get autographs for me. Rather, whatever autographs she gets she keeps. My favorite of the autographs she’s received is Teemu Selanne, but she’d probably tell you it’s Wally the Green Monster, the Swinging Friar, or one of the other mascots she’s met.

    — The Holy Grail: The two autographs that I would want the most are Magic Johnson and Vin Scully.

    I’m a few days late, but a couple of Dean Smith uni-related notes:

    That year, in which the Tar Heels won the N.C.A.A. tournament, one of Smith’s players wanted to wear a patch on his uniform or his shoes as a sign of solidarity with the students demonstrating in favor of the culture center. I cannot remember whether the player, George Lynch, followed through and wore the patch; what I do remember is that Smith, out of respect for Lynch, told him that it was his decision – if Lynch felt that strongly about the issue, Smith would allow it.

    That 1993 NCAA championship game was the first national title for a newly argyle-clad team.

    Smith himself called designer and Franklin Street shop-owner Alexander Julian two years before to ask for help in a redesign of the team’s uniforms.

    “To have Dean Smith call you on the phone and ask you personally to design new uniforms for my beloved Tar Heels was akin to having God call and ask for new halos for the archangels,” Julian said.

    Regarding the ticker item about the Dodgers jersey in the Straight Outta Compton trailer: I’m not sure I understand the issue. It’s most certainly a present-day replica because the movie was made in 2014. Beyond that, though, an “LA” patch and Majestic logo wouldn’t be on a late ‘80s Dodgers jersey anyway. Perhaps I’m missing something in what was meant.

    I did notice a couple other things that seemed off in the trailer, though. First was that one of the characters (Eazy) was wearing a (current style) black, olde English script White Sox cap. I don’t know the context of that scene, but NWA’s last record came out in ’91 and those hats debuted in September of ’90. There’s no way anyone on NWA would be wearing a White Sox cap in ‘90 or ‘91. Raiders? Yes. Kings? Yes. Not White Sox (although White Sox hats and “stuff” was worn later in the ‘90s by the gangsta rap crowd).

    Second, there was a shot of one of the guys (Ice Cube?) wearing a black-on-black Dodgers-style “LA” cap. Again, not knowing thte context, that seems of. Those kind of fashion hats are everywhere today, but I don’t remember seeing them until, at the earliest, ’94-ish. I remember because when I was in college I had a green and black Orioles cap and a white White Sox cap.

    I should add, that just because I had caps like that in ’94 doesn’t mean they weren’t available before that, but I really don’t think they were. I never remember them before I first saw them around the spring of ’94. I may be wrong, though…

    I think I kind of mangled what I had to say when I emailed Paul about this — I didn’t mean to say that “LA patch and Majestic logo indicates late 80s authenticity,” I meant that I saw the jersey didn’t have those, at first I thought it was authentic to the period. But then I noticed there was something on the right sleeve that I’m almost positive is a Majestic logo, making it a replica jersey from today.

    A couple other things I saw: The guy in the Dodgers jersey also wears a Dodgers hat, which incorrectly has the MLB logo on the back. Those didn’t appear until 1990 or ’91 I believe.

    In the next scene on the bus, the Ice Cube character is wearing his recognizable Raiders script hat, only it’s a generic Brush Script, and not the real one that appeared on those hats. That should look like this: link

    It doesn’t seem like a real one would’ve been that hard to find for wardrobe…

    QOTW: Greart topic, Mike!

    I have been collecting autographs off and on for about 45 years. When I lived in Colorado, the Colts would have a few weeks of training camp in Golden, so my parents took a family trip there. I got signatures of Johnny Unitas, Earl Morral, Don McCafferty, and a few other players. Plus, we gave Jack Mildren a ride from the practice field to his dorm!

    After we moved to Baltimore, I went to a bunch of Orioles games, and before I got my license so I could drive myself, I cajoled my parents into going early so I could hang out by the dugout to get autographs, or to stay long after the game so I could the players on their way out.

    One story that comes to mind is chasing Mickey Rivers through the Memorial Stadium parking lot. Several other kids joined me, all yelling, “Mr. Rivers! Mr. Rivers!” He stopped, turned around, and said, “Who asked first?” I didn’t react quickly enough – he signed for the first kid who spoke up, then left.

    I have a tattered book full of autographs obtained at games, award dinners, etc. Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, George Will, Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Don Drysdale, Ron Luciano, Lyman Bostock … it’s one of my treasured possessions.

    My dream autograph is Frank Robinson. I have seen him a few times in person, but never been in a position to get his autograph.


    Regarding autographs, I hit the mother load in August of 1970. One of my friends was told by his dad, a Stanford employee, when and where their football team would be practicing. Armed with a memo pad and pencil I obtained several autographs, including Jim Plunkett, Randy Vathaha and Benny Barnes.

    After the practice ended we rode our bikes around the campus and came across a chartered bus. My friend spoke with the driver and found out that the Green Bay Packers were about to have practice (turns out that they were in the Bay Area for a preseason game against Oakland). We returned to the fields immediately and soon got several more autographs, including Bart Starr, Ray Nitschske and Donny Anderson.

    We were as polite as any 11-year old guys could be and I recall that every player was patient and kind.

    QOTW: I’ve never been one to seek out autographs. I’ve wound up with a small handful over the years almost in spite of my apathy. Very few even stand out in my memory.

    Perhaps the most notable is an autographed photo of Steve Largent and me when he was a U.S. Congressman. A work colleague arranged the photo session for a few of us in the office, so I went along with it because, well, why not? I also have an autographed photo of Hayden Fry during his days as Iowa’s head football coach. My dad interacted with him with some frequency for work, so at my dad’s request, Coach Fry signed photos with personal messages for everyone in my immediate family.

    My favorite autograph, though, is from a fairly obscure former AFL defensive back. Several years ago, I helped a woman with a dead car battery jump start her car. I complimented her on her Denver Broncos sweatshirt, and she mentioned that her father had played a couple of years with the Broncos a few decades earlier. We chit-chatted for a bit and parted company. A few days later, I received a copy of link in the mail with link autograph and a personal note thanking me for helping his daughter.

    My QoTD story. In 1974, my parents took my brother & 7-year-old me to a Cleveland Indians game. Before the game, we were walking around the stadium & ran into Mudcat Grant, who was part of the Indians’ broadcast team. My mom took a photo of me with Mudcat,

    Some PR dude told us that when we got the photo developed, we could send it to him & he’d have Mudcat autograph it & send it back. We did, they didn’t. When we were at a game the following year, we checked with the PR office & they of course had nothing for us.

    Fast forward 40 years …

    Last October, I attended the “Baseball in the Swinging 70’s” event at the Burbank Public Library. Mudcat was a participant, & after the panel discussion I got to meet him at a table where he was selling his book, “The Black Aces: Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners.”

    I told him about meeting him 40 years prior (stunningly, he didn’t remember me). I asked if he by chance happened to have that photo of him & me (stunningly he did not). But he got a laugh out of the story, & I bought a copy of his book, which he signed for me. (a href=”″>We also got a photo together. I’m just sorry my Mom isn’t with us anymore, as I know she would’ve loved this story.

    The moral, as always: If at first you don’t get what you want, wait four decades & try again.

    Didn’t see this posted anywhere (if it was and I missed it sorry). Grantland has a article about the MLB Film & Video Archive and has some great old MLB footage.


    “Bulls forward Toni Kukoc came to a car dealership in my hometown for an autograph session… I still have the hat displayed in my room.”

    I wouldn’t brag about that.

    Sixth Man award, star player in Europe, PER of 19.2 in the three Bulls title seasons… for someone with your last name I thought you’d understand basketball better.

    I was never into autographs. Definitely not into standing in line (or a mob) to get one. Even in one-on-one situations, I’d usually just nod at a player or something. But I did get two autographs in my life: Cliff Robinson’s (the Cavalier, not the Trail Blazer) and former Pirates broadcaster Lanny Frattarre’s. Cliff’s was on a little piece of paper that I’ve since lost. Lanny’s is in a 1990 Pirates program, which is in my little corner of the basement.

    My brother and I have attempted to get every living college basketball coaching legend since the 1970s. We “share” these assets and it’s been an ongoing thread in our relationship. The all-timer from our back and forth collecting Knight, Dean Smith, Coach K, and the like? My brother, at a Seattle NCAA regional in the old Kingdome, stalks John Wooden. John leaves his seat. My brother leaves his seat. John moves into a men’s room. My brother follows, getting the autograph at the hand dryer…post dry. Coach Wooden, despite being a fellow Indiana cornfed, was not necessarily amused.

    Qotd: Not really an autograph guy. The only athletes’ autographs I have are 1) Joe Namath and 2) Joe Klecko on minihelmets. I didn’t meet either person, just bought the signed helmets. More recently, I went to two book-release events here in town and one of the perks was an autographed copy of the books. I didn’t wait in line or meet Jim Gaffigan, but got his signed book. The other was my son and I met Al Michaels at his book signing. Pretty cool, very nice fella.

    When I was in High School I was in an airport in NY coming back from a ski trip and was waiting with my family for luggage. Coincidentally, Dan Marino and Curt Warner (the Seahawks RB, not the Rams QB) were also awaiting their luggage at the same location. It was quite late, and for some reason we were the only ones there. I got both autographs on a stupid piece of small note paper since that’s all I had. It’s long since lost.

    Non-sports: I attended a drummer’s clinic over a decade ago and met/got autos from Dave Weckl, Dave Garabaldi, Steve Smith and Alex Acuna. I don’t expect anyone but a fellow drum geek to know who those folks are, but I still have those mounted on my wall at home in my drum room.

    QOTW: I don’t collect autographs much any more, but my brother used to be an absolute hound. I only picked up a few as a matter of consequence whilst traveling with my brother. A Bill Murray signed baseball is possibly my favorite piece.

    A story: Aaron Rodgers was in town (Eau Claire, WI) as part of the off-season “Packer Caravan” tour when he was still backing up Favre. As I stood in line to shake his hand and get his autograph, I noticed him grinning as he signed a clipboard presented to him by the clever fan ahead of me. Rodgers said to the guy, “I see a LOT of these during the season!” Pretty cool.

    QOTW: The Westchester Classic was a gold tournament held in June near White Plains, NY. The day before the tournament began they usually held a pro-am. My dad took me to at least two of those maybe more, in the late 1980s. Met a few (then-)current/former NY Rangers, Mark Hardy and John Davidson for sure I recall. That was easier than lining up at a card show.

    I also played youth hockey with the son of Swedish great Anders Hedberg, and my dad got my brother and I each his model sticks which he signed, so those sticks and the photo we have with him is a prize possession.

    Another time my dad and I helped ourselves to the Rangers’ practice locker room at Rye Playland in the summer, knowing that Sergei Nemchinov was working out there. Another signed stick, another photo (I was wearing his (replica) Soviet Wings jersey, which surprised him I bet). Can’t do that anymore!

    Not a big autograph guy either, mainly because I don’t feel like waiting around for someone to sign something.

    I do have one recent one though, Jeff Gordon.

    Back in 2005 my wife and I had garage passes to the Daytona 500 so we had our picture taken in front of his car before the race. We then leaned on his car and the pit crew yelled at us to get off the car. That’s the 500 Gordon won, so our hand prints were on his car when he won and enshrined in Daytona for the year. We got the pic developed and since my wife knew a NASCAR head honcho we were able to get Jeff Gordon to sign in by mailing it to him. Not a great story but that’s our autograph story.

    Oh I think Ken Clay signed something for me too from the yanks around 1980.

    The week after Gordon’s car was enshrined(or confiscated), his crew put the #24’s door numbers on backward (scroll down for pic):


    QOTW-related: Because I’m slightly famous in certain circles, I’ve occasionally been asked for *my* autograph (maybe by some of the people reading this!).

    One instance was particularly memorable: I was at a rock club in Columbus, Ohio. This was in the late 1990s, when my zine, Beer Frame: The Journal of Inconspicuous Consumption, was rather popular. This guy came over to me, all nervous-like, and he said, “I don’t usually do this… but I’m a big fan of your work and, uh, I’d really love it if you’d be willing to sign an autograph for me.”

    I said sure and began looking thru my bag for a pen. While I was doing that, he said, “I really appreciate this, Mr. Stiller.” And that’s when I realized he was one of the many people who, over the years, have thought that I look like Ben Stiller. (My bank teller routinely called me “Ben” around this period.)

    I should have just rolled with it and signed, “Ben Stiller,” but I didn’t think quickly enough for that. Instead, I explained to him that I wasn’t who he thought I was.

    For the record: I’ve never thought I look even a little bit like Ben Stiller.

    “I was at a rock club in Columbus, Ohio.”

    Was it the Alrosa Villa?

    All right, just kidding. ;)

    “For the record: I’ve never thought I look even a little bit like Ben Stiller.”

    Unless your appearance was significantly different back then, I’d have to agree.

    I’ve never been an autograph guy.

    I do have a story though – in 1991 I was staying in a downtown Baltimore hotel when the Blue Jays were in town. I went to a game at old Memorial Stadium wearing Jays gear, the fans were great and it was a ton of fun.

    My buddy and I got back to our hotel, went to the bar for a drink, and a few Jays came in for a drink. Gaston, Stottlemeyer, Alomar, Borders. They see me and my buddy and motion us over to their table. We shoot the shit for half an hour or so, they buy our round, we leave them in peace.

    Whenever I’ve told this story, I always get asked “did you get their autographs” and I always say “no”. I got to have drinks and talk with four pro athletes, like a regular guy. We chatted about regular stuff like six human beings, and we shook hands like men. It would have felt like I was wrecking it to ask for an autograph.

    There can’t be a whole lot cooler than saying you had a beer or two with a famous athlete. A picture would be the farthest I’d go.

    Met Bob Gibson at a card show in 1994 or so. I was 11 wearing a ND shirt, he starts giving me grief about the shirt for the first 30 seconds or so. Then he told me how he went to Nebraska and how he doesn’t like ND in football. Couldn’t be nicer.
    Met Pete Rose at the All Star Cafe that used to be in Times Square. He was at the upstairs bar my himself. Very nice and he talked to me for a few mins, asked him to sign the All Star Cafe hat.
    My favorite item is a Shea Stadium Orange Seatback autographed by the 1986 Mets that my wife got for me. Still looking for the proper display case for it.

    QOTW: I have several auto’d photos and cards, with my favourites being Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Guy Lafleur and Bobby Hull.

    One Christmas, my stepfather gave my future wife and I two tickets for an Old-Timers game at the Ottawa Civic Center. Before the first period they announced that Bobby Hull was going to be a “guest coach” for the 1st period.

    When the 2nd intermission arrived, we decided to get up and take a walk around the concourse and saw a long line-up. Turns out it was for Bobby Hull, who was signing autographs. Once we found out how much he was charging ($20, what a steal!) we got in line.

    “Who is this for?” “Claude…”

    So he starts signing it in French “A Claude, Bonne Chance…” Once he was done, I asked “could you please sign my girlfriend’s ticket stub, too?”

    “Hey…you’re English!” :-)

    Question of the Week:

    As a huge Braves fan who moved to Dallas at a very young age, my parents and I kept up with the team rather religiously thanks to TBS. One day in the 8th grade my mother took me out of class on a Friday morning. I had no idea what was going on, but she told me to get dressed in decent clothes and pack some Braves stuff, then just get in the car. She surprised me by flying us out to Atlanta for the fanfest going on that next Saturday. We spent all of Friday just touring the city and then the next day we went to the Ted for the activities. On this list of players giving out autographs included a young Brian McCann, Francouer, Javy Lopez, Smoltzy, and of course the Holy Grail, Chipper Jones. I wait three hours to finally get to Chipper and it was totally worth it. There have been a lot of things coming out about the jerk that Chipper is, but I have to say, whether it was for publicity or not, he couldn’t have been nicer to a nervous 8th grader standing next to his idol.

    QOTW: (since we tend to nitpick this kind of thing here, should the “O” be included in this acronym?)
    I have a number of autographs, mostly baseballs. My grandfather left me a Ted Williams ball after he passed, that is maybe my favorite. I also got Don Mattingly’s at a Yankees-Orioles game in Camden Yards when I was a kid. I remember getting it and running right back up to where my dad and grandfather were sitting happy as can be. I also have Pete Rose from when he got inducted into the South Jersey Sports Hall of Fame.

    I was a huge fan of Sonny Jurgensen when I was a kid (still am, actually) so I wrote to the team and asked for an autograph. Some time later I got a photo with what I’m pretty sure was a fake signature. About a year later, after collecting individual real signed photos of Chris Hanburger and Roy Jefferson, I sent in the cardboard insert from my Redskins notebook. It came back with real signatures from Jurgensen, Hanburger and Jefferson along with George Allen, Jerry Smith, Pat Fischer, Billy Kilmer, Diron Talbert and several other players. It’s one of my two best pieces of autographed memorabilia (the other is a poster board signed by all of the Muppets as well as a number of huge Hollywood names that had cameos in the first Muppet Movie.)

    I also have a football signed by Terry Bradshaw, a tennis ball from Serena Williams and a baseball signed by Cal Ripken Jr.

    The one autograph that I didn’t get was Alex Rodriguez. I live in LA and used to go to Angels games back when the ballpark was so empty that if you got there for batting practice you could find seats right behind the visitor’s dugout. I got my Ripken signature when he was coming off the field after batting practice, so my friend and I thought we’d try to get A-Rod to sign a ball also. This was when Rodriguez was playing for Seattle. There was a crowd of us, mostly kids, standing around when the team came off the field. Rodriguez and some of his teammates came over to the crowd, but he wouldn’t sign anything. One kid standing near me was begging for an autograph. Rodriguez acknowledged the kid, so the kid tossed a baseball over to him. A-Rod didn’t try to catch the ball – he just watched it plop down by his feet. The kid was devastated, because not only did he not get A-Rod’s autograph, but now he was out a brand new baseball. I think eventually one of the other players returned the ball, unsigned. I’ve hate A-Rod ever since.

    Question of the Week (2):

    I already posted, but I don’t know how I could have possibly forgotten this one.

    I was probably in the 6th or 7th grade and a buddy of mine hits me up on AIM instant messenger (dating myself as a early millennial) saying hes got an extra ticket to the Rangers-Yankees game at the Ballpark. He and his folks come by and pick me up and my buddy tells me they got the tickets because their cousin is a reliever for the Yankees, and they missed him getting traded from the Dodgers during the winter. So he set them up with tickets. The game ends in a Rangers loss (very typical for that time) and my buddy’s cousin actually got to pitch the 9th. So we go down to the tunnel to meet up with him and he hands us each a baseball and a pen. Jeter and A-Roid were long gone, but we got to chat with Mariano Rivera, Tony Clark, Gary Sheffield, Kenny Lofton and a few others and get their autographs. Mariano was absolutely awesome, and Sheff was 10x nicer than I thought he would be. I swear that ball still smells like his cologne and I got that ball probably 10 years ago.

    QoftheW: Over 40 yrs I’ve had the great fortune to meet many greats. Growing up in st pete in the 70s, i had the opp to see the cards & mets during spring training @ al lang. I’ll always remember how Lou Brock was always the best at signing and making time for me while the Mets were always jerks. Those early interactions as a kid begging these superstars for their autographs jaded that whole experience. Fast forward and since then I’ve met and spent time with Johnny Bench, Sparky Anderson, Bobby Knight, Woody Hayes, Don Shula among others as they came to speak to our trade assoc. I don’t need autographs to commemorate meeting these guys. They are all just ordinary people who possess extraordinary skill playing (or coaching) a children’s game. Best memory – I accidently walk into an autograph session at the mall where Tom Seaver & Pete Rose are signing @ $25-$50 (back in the early ’90s) per item signed. The irony is that Seaver NEVER looked or spoke to his “customers” while the (disgraced) Rose is cracking jokes and having a great time with his fans. Lastly, I saw Don Zimmer and his wife at a restaurant here about a yr before he died. We spoke about baseball of course but he talked to me about his daughter, his wife and his health (I was there with my Cuban father in law who was 98 and a few months away from dying himself – and btw knew nothing about don). After speaking to Don for about 10 minutes, it never crossed my mind to ask for his autograph. And I’ll never forget how, as he was leaving, he came over to the table and shook my father in law’s hand and wished him good luck. Just man to man..

    I collect a lot of memorabilia but not autographs. I prefer the memory.

    Rose’s failings are well documented, but I will say this from the 2-3 times I’ve interacted with him — for the 2 or 5 or whatever minutes when you have his attention, you have ALL his attention. He’s an intense guy, no matter what he’s doing. If he’s interacting with a fan, he’s interacting with intensity.

    I’ve never been much of an autograph-seeker myself, but I can tell stories about my sister and her younger son getting them.

    Back in the early nineties, my sister went to see Sergei Fedorov and get her #91 jersey signed. She got to amuse him by the fact that our last name happens to be Siergiej (from the Polish side of our family).

    As for my nephew, he’s gotten a bunch of autographs from Lions players in recent years and has never had a bad experience with any of them.

    There is one autograph I do have that I’m glad to have gotten, but it’s non-sports – back in the late eighties, James Doohan autographed an 8×10 glossy of Scotty for me at a Star Trek convention. I still have it, of course, but last year I got to pair it with an autographed picture of his son Chris, who cameoed in a couple of the Trek films, and has taken up his father’s role in the web fanseries Star Trek Continues.

    Took a peak at the who wore what list on the GUD today and I noticed that the Seahawks wear their white jersey less often than any other team in the league. Only 15 times total in 3 years of regular season play. The reason is that without fail, they wear mono-navy at home and elect to wear their “wolf grey” alternates on the road. Combine that with the one time their opponent will chose to wear white at home, and its a recipe for a white jersey that is only seen 5 times a year. Even more oddly is the way the Seahawks wear three different pants with with the white jersey resulting in no white jersey combo being worn more than twice.

    Similarly, it’s worth emphasizing that NEVER ONCE, since their bizarre 2012 re-design, have the Seahawks worn their white pants with their dark jerseys.

    Not that it would help much if they did…

    It looks like someone at Deadspin has been reading Uni Watch. How else to explain a feature about the baseball jumbotron scoreboard portraits that was just re-mentioned in the Ticker yesterday, even thought the website featuring the art has been around for several years?


    Have the Goldie Goldthorpe autographed photo that I’m sure I’ve mentioned before here at least once. Only other autographed thing I have isn’t sports related but a book by Charles de Lint when I met him in Toronto.

    My autograph ‘story’ (if you can call a poorly remembered event a story) is when a younger kid asked for my autograph after (or maybe before?) I had played a beer league or pickup game at Fort William Gardens. Told him I wasn’t anyone but he seemed insistent on wanting it anyway. Think either one of the local junior teams or possibly the university team had ice time just after (or maybe before?) ours. He had me sign the back of some program that was already filled with signatures; no idea who I was mistaken for.

    The font on the Long Beach State TARK patch look like the original Star Trek logo font. (Looks like it; isn’t it.)

    Okay, I have two autograph stories. I’ll post the second story separately, but first my Cal Ripken story – It’s my favorite and I find every opportunity to tell it to whomever might be even remotely interested:

    I went to the 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle. Now I am a San Francisco Giants fan but I am extremely respectful of players who play their entire athletic career with one team/club, like Ripken or Yzerman or Paolo Maldini.

    Cal comes out and starts to sign autographs and I ask him kindly to sign a ball. While he’s signing it, in the most reverent, humble tone I say, “It’s players like you that make me love baseball.”

    He hands me back the ball and goes to shake my hand, looks me in the eye and says, “Well, it’s fans like you that make me love baseball too.”

    I will never forget that moment.

    My second autograph story touches me on more of a personal level than the Cal Ripken story simply because it involves my favorite team/club – Internazionale (Inter Milan for the common folk)

    I live in Japan but have followed Inter since living in Italy as a kid in the 80s. I go back to Italy with some regularity to go see a match or two whenever I can, but I never try to get autographs because it’s just impossible to get near the big stars of the big European clubs when in Europe. Your best bet is sometimes to head to their training grounds and hope that they adhere to their tentative training schedule or if they’re even in the mood to sign autographs.

    But back in 2009, Inter decided to go on a summer tour of the US. Now I have friends and family in the US, so I decided I would use it as an excuse to go on a holiday, catch up with friends, see a couple of matches and perhaps have a better chance of getting an autograph of all my favorite players. After all, a significant percentage of European football players go unrecognized by the US population. A lot of them take vacations in the US in the summer and just stroll around like average folk in Miami with most people not knowing who they are.

    So anyway, I decide to see a match in Los Angeles and another in Boston. I have friends in both places so it seemed to work out great. Not only that, but my friend in Los Angeles was able to get me some VIP passes, which increased my chances even further of being able to meet my favorite players and get some autographs.

    I could write a book about my experiences but needless to say, I got everybody’s autograph that I wanted. Not only that but I got to meet my favorite player (Esteban Cambiasso) and was even able to shake his hand while he was walking back out onto the pitch for the second half.

    Highlights were:

    Marco Materazzi signing my friend’s Chelsea F.C. flag! Haha! I was outside of the locker rooms at the Rose Bowl getting Inter player autographs for myself, but also collecting Chelsea player’s autographs for my friend back in Japan. He had given me a Chelsea flag and just told me “if you can get some autographs, great. If not, no big deal.” So I brought it with me and got about ten Chelsea players to sign it. I was holding it in one hand when Marco Materazzi came out of the locker room and I asked him to sign a gagliardetto. He signs it and then pulls the flag out of my other hand as if to sign it. In Italian, I say “No no, that’s a Chelsea flag!” thinking that maybe he thought it was also Inter memorabilia because it was blue. He just shoots me a cheesy grin and continues signing his name on the Chelsea flag! To this day, my friend doesn’t know one of the autographs on his flag is not a Chelsea player!

    Another highlight: Only a few minutes later, I walked out of the Rose Bowl via the player’s bus exit and Didier Drogba was just standing outside chatting with a couple of family members/friends. By that time of the night, I had got EVERYTHING I had wanted out of the night and was so happy and didn’t care what else happened. I think it was because of that reason, I had the audacity to put my arm around Didier’s shoulders and as if a close buddy, I say to him “Didier, come on… Come to Inter!” Him and his friends chuckle a little bit and he points to the woman that was with him and says “talk to my agent!” In hindsight, I shouldn’t have done that but like I said, I had got everything out of the night already and I was already walking out of the stadium so what was the worst they could do? Kick me out? It was all in good fun and Didier realized it and flashed me a genuine smile to go with the laugh.

    My ‘white whale’ was getting Jose Mourinho’s autograph outside of the hotel the team were staying at in Boston. I can’t remember the name of the hotel, but my friend had dropped me off out front only minutes before the bus arrived and had shot off to try to find parking while I tried to get autographs. Again emphasizing how unknown Inter was, the team bus just parked out front of the hotel and walked out right onto the sidewalk with no security or anything. I get a couple of autographs and JUST as I thought everyone was off the bus and I was walking away, Jose Mourinho rushes out of the bus. I thrust my limited edition club-published Inter book at him and beg him to sign it. He keeps walking and at first shrugs me off with the typical “I’m busy” wave of his hand. But he then glances down and sees the book. The book is a BIG book, expensive and it’s limited to only 1908 copies. Now in my mind, my conclusion is that he looked down at the book, realized “wait a minute, this isn’t just some dumb autograph hunter, he looks like a genuine supporter.” And with that he quickly stops, signs the book RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE, which is just so typical of his personality and walks off into the hotel. Needless to say, I was as giddy as a schoolgirl.

    Low point of the trip – Inter Milan played AC Milan in Boston and AC Milan’s hotel (which I’m pretty sure was the Four Seasons? I’m not sure) was only a few blocks away. So once I had caught up with my friend, I said we should go over to Milan’s hotel and see whether we can meet/get autographs.

    Hooooooooly hell. They had the entire front section of the hotel lined off and had all sorts of security personnel. It was ridiculous. The crowd was huge too. We stood around maybe for a half hour and finally the Milan bus turns up. The fenced off area kept all the fans at least 20 yards away from the bus, so when the players started getting off the bus, even with a crazy crowd, almost NONE of the AC Milan players signed autographs and simply headed directly into the hotel. From memory, Gennaro Gattuso signed one or two things, as did Andrea Pirlo… but that was it. The entire bus full of staff and players might have spent a grand total of 15 seconds signing four autographs for a crowd of many hundreds and then ran off into the hotel. I felt REALLY sorry for the Milan supporters. My friend and I got to talking with some of the Milan supporters and showed them how successful I had been meeting the Inter players and getting autographs. We explained how Inter had no security around their hotel and how they were all very happy to sign autographs for the ten or so fans hanging around the front of the hotel. Many of them were really jealous (in a good way, not a mean-spirited way) and were disappointed with how little fan service they had received.

    Anyway, I got many, many autographs, photographs and memories and they all serve as a very wonderful reminder of a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.

    They say that D.C. United new jersey’s pattern is unique but it’s not. Several teams use it on their new uniforms in other colors. The most obvious are Yokohama and Suwon, who even share the same colors.

    I’m sick of the brands explaining how much they work for a team, with false inspirations when they actually just use the same design for a lot of teams, just not in the same country… I think the truth is : first they make the jersey, second they search a reason behind the result to give to the medias.

    I mostly have music-related autographed stuff (one I especially like is an issue of Trouser Press with Joey Ramone on the cover). Here’s a shot of Mark Lindsay (lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders) autographing an album for me at a rehearsal studio we were using in prep for a short tour about two years ago:


    The only “sports-related” autographs that I have are an 8×10 color glossy photograph signed by the circa 96 rasslin’ Four Horsemen. WHOOOO!

    I never seem to have anything for athletes to sign (hat, shirt, program, card, whatever) when I run into an athlete, and I’m not really into just having them scrawl a sig on a napkin.

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