Thursday, November 16, 2023

Carlos De La Cruz

I met him at Paul Owens Training Facility at Carpenter Complex, the Philadelphia Phillies spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida in 2020.

He was there watching his son, Carlos play in a simulated game. I had seen him there quite frequently over the years watching his son, and for the longest time, I wasn't aware that he was a former player. When I was made aware of his playing career, I immediately sought out a card but my source for minor league cards was sold out. Two years later, I found a new source and to my surprise, he had a card in stock.
Since it had been over a year since the last time that I saw Carlos in attendance, I wanted to be absolutely sure that it was him. When the younger Carlos was finished with the game, he walked amongst the crowd to get to the locker room. I stopped him and asked if that was his dad in attendance. He said "yes" and then I said, "oh, good, I have a card of his." He smiled and then caught up with his dad. I stayed behind and gave them a moment for themselves but I saw Carlos point to me as he told his dad that I had his baseball card. His dad had the biggest smile as I approached him. I said to him, "Carlos, can I have your autograph?" He took my card and pen and then gave me a big hug. He was so thrilled to be asked and he thanked me multiple times. It was a really cool experience.

Carlos signed a 1996 Best Fayetteville Generals Team Set card #11.

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