Monday, August 5, 2013

David Wells

Now we’ve reached 1991 and the first autograph that officially began my hobby.

My friends and I would always putt on the practice putting green at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida. One day an employee approached me and asked if I had heard of David Wells. Being a huge baseball fan, of course, I told him yes. That’s when he told me that he was currently playing the course. I rushed home and grabbed what I felt was my nicest-looking Wells card and a black Sharpie. I’ve always kept my cards in alphabetical order, so finding cards has always been an easy task. The employee also told me about several other baseball players that were regulars. It became almost a daily thing where I would go to the course to see what players were playing that day.
The practice putting green is directly across from the 9th hole and the clubhouse is right there between them. Usually, the golfers will finish the 9th and then grab something to eat or drink before continuing. I was told that Wells had not yet gotten to the 9th, so I sat at an outside table, studying the card, hoping that he would be easily recognizable to me. When he approached, I nervously asked him for an autograph. He was extremely nice and took the time to sign the card. I later discovered that he lived nearby. Since this first encounter, I have bumped into him numerous times. 20+ years later and I still see him around.
I hate being greedy when it comes to collecting autographs. I’m happy with just getting one and never asking again. Early on, sometimes I’d get a card signed and then later discover that player graced a magazine cover or had a glossy 8x10 made of him. When it comes to large photos, I always ask to have them personalized. I like when they take the time to learn my name but it also shows them that I am not looking to profit off of their signature.

David signed a 1991 Leaf card #140. A few years later, after his season with the Detroit Tigers, I asked him to sign an 8x10 glossy.

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