I have been a fan of 2000 Fleer Tradition baseball cards since I purchased my first pack at the unlikeliest of places- (then) Bank One Ballpark in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. I do not recall how much they charged for packs of cards at the ballpark, but I would hazard a guess that they were priced comfortably between a $1 ticket and the cost of a beer.
It took me quite a while to pull this set together, which makes sense because it predated the existence of a wide-spread baseball card blogging community to trade with. I also wasn’t horribly motivated to complete the set since I spent the majority of my free time trying to gather together cards to get autographed during the next season of the Arizona Fall League. I really never envisioned finding many opportunities to get these cards autographed in person, let alone imagine having the chance to knock four of them out in less than a 24-hour period.
As it turned out, that chance randomly presented itself to me just last week. After the dust settled, I had only gotten three of them signed. And here they are…
Each of these three players began the 2009 season on the Albuquerque Isotopes roster, so I was fortunate enough to pick them off one at a time as they prepared to board the team bus for their first road trip of the year. Obviously, none of these Major League veterans “wants” to be playing in Triple-A, but they were nice enough to sign a card or two for this fan without displaying any attitude.
The fourth card from the set that I could have gotten signed in person, but didn’t, is the one that features Tony Gwynn.
Sometimes you are presented with a tough decision when a ballplayer will sign only one autograph per fan, and you have to choose your personal favorite card from the ones you have with you. With that in mind, I opted to break from Tradition and have Tony Gwynn sign his 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition All-Star card (no. 97F) when I caught up with him while he was in town coaching the San Diego State Aztecs in a weekend series against the UNM Lobos. I had received the card from Tribe Cards a while back as a gift. Easily entertained, I absolutely love having players autograph cards that feature them signing cards or other memorabilia- regardless of whether the photographs are obviously posed, or the player was legitimately caught in the act of being generous.
Ahhhh baseball, the most wonderful time of the year!