Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Crown Jewel

So every collector has one right? 

The Crowning Achievement of ones collection... The one you hang your hat on...

Well, obviously this can represent a number of objects and it's all in the eye of the beholder.

Being a Baltimore kid mine of course is an Orioles piece.

How I got said piece makes it all the more special.  I feel a flash back coming on...

(cue Wayne and Garth's "dudallo dudallo dudallo dudallo", you'll have to just picture the hand motions...)

It was about 3 years ago

My sister, who works as a teacher at my old high school, was hanging with one of her co-workers who at the time was cleaning out some of her desk drawers.  She pulled something out that caught my sisters eye and she was getting ready to throw it away when my sister protested.

"It" was this...

This was a card in a laminate holder commemorating the night Cal broke Lou's record of 2130 consecutive games played.  Given to all fans who attended the game.

So, apparently this person went to the game and held on to it up until the point that my sister saved it from the trash bin and then gave to me.

I couldn't believe how lucky I was.  A real piece of history.  I mean I was a kid and was lucky enough to just be aloud to stay up and watch the whole game.  It had this beautiful picture of Cal with his arm around Lou and the whole thing was pristine.  It was as perfect as the night it was given out. 

I'm not sure how many of these survived but I don't see them online very often.

Cal Ripken Jr. was raised in Aberdeen, MD and co-owns the minor league team Aberdeen Iron Birds.  I happen to work for a rental car company and at the time I got the 2131 card I was working in Aberdeen of all places.

The Baseball Gods were with me when I gained possession of this artifact.  Cal Ripken was hosting a golf tournament in Aberdeen and was flying in a couple of retired ball players that would need transportation.  Because of the status of the occasion we actually had our Branch Manager drive these gentleman to and from the event.  As payment he was told he could have some items autographed by Cal.

I freaked.  I couldn't believe it.  I had literally just been handed this item less than a week before and I suddenly had the opportunity to have it signed. 

I got a silver sharpee and a black sharpee and gave it to my manager and hoped for the best.  He wasn't sure he would really even get the chance but it was worth a shot.

He told me the next day that it had been almost the end of the night before he finally got to meet Cal and have his items autographed.

The story he told me was epic... to me anyway.

Cal took one look at the 2131 card and said "Wow, I haven't seen one of these in years!"

My manager told him the story of how I acquired it and how I would have liked a silver signature under the photo of him and Lou.  He obliged and signed under the photo in silver...

and a nice close up of the signature...

But when Cal looked at the final product he said "That's not going to be good enough", and he flipped it over and signed it again on the back, this time in black sharpee.

and another close up

When he handed it back to me the next morning I nearly chocked up.  I know... it's lame.  I mean how often does someone get handed something so amazing like this and not have done anything extraordinary to make it happen.  I spent zero dollars on it.  Not a clue what its worth, but to me it's priceless... and my Crown Jewel.

Whats yours?

Until next time


  1. You've read this one before but I love my personalized Cal.

    I have a signed Hall Of Fame Jersey of his that I need to get framed and hang up as well.

  2. This story never gets old. Almost brought me to tears. Imagining how you felt. I imagine this story with me as you and Ripken as Lemieux, and I break down. I love that there isn't a price tag on it because it truly is priceless.

    1. *I mean Lemieux as Ripken. Damnit. Now I look like an idiot.

    2. HAHA, I never got confused over it. You'll have your Lemieux moment one day buddy.

  3. That's a great item!

    I've got the 1994 Nabisco frank Robinson from your lost files. Drop me an e-mail if you still need it.

  4. Dang, Woog. I got choked up just reading this. Well written, brother!