Monday, July 23, 2012
My fondest IP autograph
For all the TTMs I've gotten, I am not a big IP autograph collector. I've never gone to a formal autograph signing. I've never waited in a parking lot or down at the field level for a signature.
My fondest in person autograph memory was of Tommy Kendall, a racecar driver probably few have heard of. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, and Kendall was the speaker at a banquet my Dad was attending. Being a racing fan, I knew who Kendall was. We were seated at the table, and I saw Kendall walk in and start to talk to a few people. This was before he gave his speech. My dad encouraged me to go talk to him. I brought up a napkin and a pen and asked for his autograph.
Instead of signing my napkin, he opened up a briefcase and took out a photo of his racecar and signed it for me. I later learned that you could purchase one of these pictures for him to sign, but he graciously gave me one. It left me a lasting impression, and I still have that photo back home at my parents house.
In terms of rudest athletes I've met - Graig Nettles. I was at Don Larsen's charity event a few years ago, and Nettles could not have been ruder or less interested in being there. I didn't even end up asking for an autograph after observing the way he was treating other fans. Luckily guys like Joe Girardi and David Cone were as kind as could be, but Nettles was a real jerk.