Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thurman Thomas Autograph - ESPN The Weekend 2010

Autograph: Thurman Thomas
Date: 2/28/2010
Location: Hollywood Studios, Disney World, Orlando, FL
Event: ESPN The Weekend

Thurman Thomas signed autographs near the Nike golf swing station set up during at ESPN The Weekend. I did not prepare to get any autographs from NFL players so all I had was the small pad of paper Dick's Sporting Goods handed out for free. Thurman signed a lot of autographs and was very kind. I got creative and found a cheap football card and picture frame and created a low cost way to display the autograph. I have a number of other autographs on pads of paper of lesser known people. Basically, I never pass up an autograph even if the only thing they can sign is a scrap of paper. There is always a way to show it off.

If any of you have any other ideas for creative ways to display autographs you got on pieces of paper please share. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Al Leiter Autograph - Yankees vs Astros spring training - March 2005

Autograph: Al Leiter
Date: March 20, 2005
Location: Legends Field, Tampa, FL
Event: Yankees Spring Training Game vs Houston Astros.

Legends Field (now Steinbrenner Field) is one of the least fan friendly spring training fields I've been to in terms of access to the players. In the game itself, there is almost no spots to 'gather' in hopes of getting autographs. Outside the stadium you can get close to the practice field but there are 12' fences all the way around the practice fields. There are two spots in the fence where they cut open about 6' wide an 1' high of fence, just enough to stick your arm though. That, to me, seemed like the only spot to get an autograph. When players went between fields they were completely protected. There were no paths to catch players walking in and out anywhere.

Anyway, Al Leiter was one of the few Yankees fans that cared to take time to sign autographs. I managed to get my arm in there and he signed my ball. Most of the Yankee players refused to even acknowledger the crowd of fans watching. I've been to Yankee games in the Bronx as well and it seem to me the Yankees are the least fan accessible of all the teams I have seen. It is like they are protecting the president.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tom Glavine Autograph - ESPN The Weekend 2009

Autograph: Tom Glavine
Date: February 2009
Location: Hollywood Studios, Disney World, Orlando, FL
Event: ESPN The Weekend

Tom Glavine had just finished an interview under the sorcerer's hat. He proceeded off stage, around the back of the stage and through a short portion of the crowed to a back door behind the sorcerer's hat. I managed to get this error card in front of him just in time for him to sign it as he walked. The guards were not happy and were telling everyone to get away. I got the future hall of famer's autograph on this card that shows Glavine's picture but John Smoltz name. Smoltz was also at ESPN the Weekend and the hope was to get both autographs on the same card. This did not happen. In hind site I would rather have Glavine on a ball. Oh well, I can't complain too much as this was a great autograph to get.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Paul Konerko Autograph - White Sox vs Tigers September 28, 2009

Autograph: Paul Konerko
Date: September 28, 2009
Location: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
Event: White Sox vs Tigers
It was fan appreciation day. I did not players were scheduled to sign autographs for the hour and a half before the game so I almost missed out. Around 12 players were signing around the stadium with organized lines built up the stairs. I quickly got into Konerko's line and was one of the last 10 fans to get his autograph before they cut off the time frame for autographs. I luckily brought a ball with me just in case and borrowed someone else's pen. Great day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dennis Eckersley Autograph - ESPN The Weekend 2010

Autograph: Dennis Eckersley
Date: 2/28/2010
Location: Hollywood Studios, Disney World, Orlando, FL
Event: ESPN The Weekend

Dennis Eckersley signed autographs after one of the Baseball Tonight talk shows at ESPN The Weekend. The crowd was relatively small and Dennis was flying through autographs so fast he did not even see who he was signing for. I was able to get my arm in there 3 times and get three things signed. It was pretty exciting. It was in an auditorium near the back of Hollywood Studios right after the show.

Jim Palmer Autograph - ESPN The Weekend 2010

Autograph: Jim Palmer
Date: 2/28/2010
Location: Hollywood Studios, Disney World, Orlando, FL
Event: ESPN The Weekend

I have gone to ESPN The Weekend for about 4 years now and I must say it has been a great success in getting autographs. It is important to note what players will be there on what days. ESPN will list all the athletes that are going to be there but they do not all go for all days. Some only go for a day or two. They do Baseball Tonight live talk shows for the fans. I got Palmer's autograph attending one of these talk shows. After the show several of the attendees will sign autographs for 15-30 minutes. Palmer is one of the very nice former athletes that will take a lot of time to sign. After the crowed disappeared he was even nice enough to take a picture with me. I got Palmer on a ball the year before as well. As you will see in this blog I have obtained a lot of autographs while attending ESPN The Weekend. If you have any questions about the ESPN The Weekend experience at Disney in Orlando please feel free to comment!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bob Feller Autograph - Legends Night, Bright House Networks Field

Autograph: Bob Feller
Date: 3/14/2004
Location: Brighthouse Networks Field, Clearwater, FL
Event: Legends Game

I am not positive this was at the legends game, but I do know it was at BNF in Clearwater, FL. Feller had a booth set up in the concourse down the left field line. He signed the ball I had caught the day before at a Phillies spring training game. He signed it '"HOF '04" even though he was inducted long before 2004. I'm not sure why he went with the current year rather than the year he was inducted. Anyway, he was a nice old man and always generous to sign.

The charity Legends or Celebrity Softball games are gold mines for great autographs. Everyone is out there to have a good time and promoters know more people will buy tickets if there is more player involvement.