It pays to be good to your family. I love my nephews more than anything in this world. I knew the second that they were born that I loved them unconditionally. While it may feel like they were born yesterday, they are halfway through grade school. During that time, we’ve had some amazing adventures. My personal favorite is coaching a bunch of their baseball teams. My nephews are in Boy Scouts with another kid from one of our baseball teams. The house that they have Boy Scouts at has a famous neighbor in New York Yankee first round draft pick Blake Rutherford. Rutherford, who actually played at our little league, was nice enough to stop by and visit their Scout group yesterday. Being the cool Uncle that I am, my sister immediately told me and let me come along for the visit.
I will be honest, normally I loathe getting an athlete’s autograph in person. The value doesn’t hold up, and I usually see them in bunches like after a game so I find myself with a bunch of autographs but am not sure who signed what. Also, not so random tangent: in store signings are a joke unless the athlete is someone who you are genuinely ecstatic to see; I know, I have been to enough. I tell myself that I am happy to buy a ball and pay for the appearance fee but deep down I know I am wasting time and money; and then the darn things aren’t worth the effort and what you paid because they aren’t authenticated even though you got it in person. If you are lucky they make eye contact with you but most times they are just there for the money and want to get to the next person so they can leave faster. This was not the case for me with Rutherford at all. His autograph has been on my bucket list since I found out about him.
Rutherford is one of the few draftees who has certified autographs out, and they fetch a pretty penny. I struggle to find one under $20, and I haven’t even looked since he got drafted so it’s probably worse. I would know, of the 45 items on my Ebay watch list, 6 of them are Rutherford autographs. I was actually waiting for prices to calm down. Come draft day Rutherford slipped below the range where he was projected to go, so you would think that would be good news for collectors. No, he got drafted to the one team who’s autograph will probably cause his cards to have a decent bump in value in the New York Yankees. I honestly thought that I would have to wait a while before I got his autograph. Sure he is local but every city in the Los Angeles suburbs is huge. A lot of people can say they know a local star but let’s be honest: few do. I didn’t think that I would ever cross paths with him. Money is really tight, especially with my friend’s wedding this week that I am in, but I literally found money under my bed to buy a baseball for him to sign.
This charismatic young man shared a few awesome words with the troop and then signed anything and anything put in front of him. His neighbor, father to one of the kids and troop leader, told a story about what a quality kid Blake was. It was only a few minutes of his time but it made our day having the opportunity to be there. I am so thankful that Blake signed a few things for the Scouts Uncle.
I got two balls. One for my personal collection and one for my friend’s future husband who is a die hard Yankees fan. I also had him sign one other thing for my ‘friends’
For once being the collector of my family came in handy. My favorite card shop sells black baseballs so you can bet my nephews were armed with black baseball’s and a gold Sharpie. They were the only kids with official balls and cases.