Monday, December 15, 2008

A Treasured Experience and a Centerpiece To Match

No one appriciates centerpieces more than I do, I live for them, they make message boards fun, they make you jealous. For me, I pride myself on the fact that although my collection is small, my centerpieces are worth millions to me. Each of them makes me remember a part of my life, and each of them is displayed 24/7 at my apartment. They are my pride and joy until little Gellmans are running around.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think the modern value ceiling has presented a problem for collectors, as everyone is more concerned with making bank rather than making memories. I would say its almost impossible to distance yourself from the money ideas that are omnipresent in this hobby, though these centerpieces, for me, are about as far away from value as I can get.

I would have to say that my favorite piece in my collection is pretty simple choose, only because the way I got it would still be every Twins fan's dream, even today. In 1992, the Twins were coming off of their best season ever, including a world series championship. I wasn’t old enough (5 years old) in 1987 to appreciate the gravity of the world series, but in 1991, I was in the crowd a few rows back from where Puckett's game 6 home run landed. Game six was still fresh in my mind when I got the chance to go on the field for BP with the Twins, and I didn’t forget to bring a bag full of stuff for all my favorite players. Kirby was number one with a bullet, and my dad's client had supplied us game issue bats for us to get signed. By the time our experience was half over, I had already met more than half of the team. Gladden, Hrbek, Tom Kelly, they all came over to say hi and sign whatever we wanted. Kirby was still in line for the cage when the team rep told us we had 15 minutes before we had to go sit in our seats for the game. As a 9 year old, the dream of meeting Kirby was fading quick until I mentioned to the guy that we were waiting for Kirby. My 6 six year old brother started jumping up and down yelling "KIRBY KIRBY KIRBY KIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRBYYYYYY PUCKETT!"

The rep continued to say that Kirby rarely comes over to sign because the pregames are so busy for him, and my brother burst into tears. Before the first tear could even hit the ground, Kirby's chunky frame was already half way over to our spot. He told us to not worry, and told us to get out our stuff before he had to get to the club house. I immediately whipped out my bat and ball and he laughed as he said "Wow, you guys really went all out! Thanks for being my fans." He signed my ball, my bat and a few other things as my smile reached epic proportions. Man, I was in kid heaven. My brother hid by my dad for the rest of the time, and we walked back to our seats with a backpack full of stuff each.

I still have that bat today, through 3 moves, a broken water pipe and cross country adventure later, happily hanging on my wall. It is just too cool not to show off. Now that Kirby has sadly passed on, that memory has become one of my most treasured sports moments of my life. It was so much fun and Kirby was so nice, you really forgot that he made millions of dollars and realized why he is one of the most popular Twins players of all time.

The second centerpiece is a card I purchased back in the 2007 NFL season, in the midst of Peterson's historic run at the RC rushing record. During the course of the first half of 2007, I had managed to scrape a few Peterson autos together by selling off some of my crap pulls from 2006. I knew I could never afford anything out of Exquisite without maxing out a few credit cards, so I eventually resigned myself to my fate. Luckily, I sold the two autos from before at a pretty high price and pooled together about 350 from the sales and a few left over birthday checks. I knew I was a few dollars short, so I had to get creative. I traded a card to a friend who I knew would give it a good home and then sold the result for another 50 bucks. I managed a 400 BO on the one card I felt was the best looking of the set, and walked away with a sweet as addition to my set.

Sometimes, you can be satisfied with a honda, but in my mind, its an unexplained feeling to own a porsche. I couldn’t afford the Ferrari in the Patch Auto RC, but I will not be letting go of my acquisition any time in the future.

As I look over my collection even today, I am proud as hell that I managed to get everything I have, and I think that after reading the preliminary submissions to the Bat Around, you guys have the same feelings about your centerpieces. I always love reading stories, and hopefully you guys do to, as we have an amazing lineup for this time through the order as we did last time. Be sure to check out the post on Friday so that you can discover, as I have, all the terrific blogs out there that you may not know about.


  1. That is some awesome stuff and great stories! I should have my bat-around post ready tomorrow or Wednesday.

  2. Nice story about Puckett. Though I'm a Boston fan, Kirby was hard not to like, even when he was killing my team. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kirby was just one of those guys who had fun playing baseball. He loved every minute he spent on that field. Its tragic the way his life took a u-turn after he was forced to retire. I guess its just one of those things that losing that part of you can do.

  4. that's awesome. i moved here the year after kirby retired, so i missed out. tragic.

  5. Great story about Kirby. I don't even mind that he ripped my soul out in game 6.