Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SIGnificant Cards - Jose Canseco 2001 Upper Deck Vintage

While it looks like the regular UD Vintage Card,
notice the small hologram on the bottom left.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done for an autograph? When I was a kid, I did a lot of odd things. I remember going to men's clothing stores just to meet ball players. I had the good fortune of meeting both Joe Torre and Hank Aaron that way. I am always respectful and don't interrupt them, it usually pays off.

Have you ever gone to an event though knowing you would be able to get autographs but were in such a hurry you forgot to bring something to get signed? That happened to me at the 2001 Big League Challenge in Las Vegas.

The Big League Challenge was the home run derby contest. It took place at Cashman Field, a minor league ballpark. At the time Jose Canseco was still in baseball. There was no steroid scandal and everyone's secret was safe. Jose had bounced around from team to team and at this time was on the Yankees. Other players in the tournament were Rafael Palmiero, Barry Bonds, Troy Glaus, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas and many others. The big boys came out for the event and so did the trading card companies. That year Upper Deck had a big presence and there were autograph sessions too.

I did not have a Jose Canseco autograph in my collection at that time. I had his Bash Brother teammate Mark McGwire on a card I got him to sign for me during Spring Training and because I was in a hurry, forgot the card I wanted Jose to sign. As I am driving to the event, I kept thinking to myself, I'll pick up something there for him to sign.

I brought my daughter along for the event. She was 5 at the time. And just as I was about to pick something up, she had to use the bathroom. They were handing out the tickets for Jose and I got mine and rushed her to the restroom. The tickets were sweet, they were 2001 Upper Deck Vintage cards with a numbered hologram. When I got back to line it was moving steadily and I didn't have squat for Jose to sign. My daughter sees my panic and says, "Daddy have him sign the card in your hand." Out of the mouths of babes...

There was only one problem, when it was your turn to get your autograph you were supposed to give the guy watching the line your ticket. I was screwed. Then something magical happened. Jose saw my daughter and saw she was little timid. She was a fan because her daddy was a fan, but yeah she was shy. Jose, and yes I know he spouts off on Twitter like he's crazy. Yes, I know a lot of players hate his guts for ratting them out. I also know a lot of fans love him because he told the truth. I am one of them. Back to the story...

So Jose sees my daughter and starts talking to her and telling me about his little girl. He calls her Angel without even knowing that is her name and she said, "how did he know my name?" (Her name is Angelica) She immediately softened up. The usher walked us up and Jose cleanly signed my ticket/card. I had a great conversation with him about his career and we even talked about him hitting his 500th homer, which sadly never happened.

So when anyone says anything derogatory about him, I have this story that I tell and while it might not make them change their mind about him, it did happen and I have continued to be a fan ever since.

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