As an autograph collector, one of my collecting priorities in the last decade is trying to get as many cards from particular baseball card sets - signed either in-person or through the mail.
Probably the first set I've tried it with is the 2001 Fleer Tradition set - I didn't like the particular product when it first came out, but I picked up a factory set 'back in the day' for around $30.
The factory sets included a 50-card rookie subset with rookie cards of Albert Pujols, Ichiro and Mark Teixeira - that wasn't available through packs or hobby/retail boxes.After realizing I was stuck with this complete set, I ended up attempting to get the 400-card set signed - minus the 50-card rookie subset.
Fast forward to 2009 and I've probably half of the set signed in one ink or the other and either in-person or through the mail - there are some players who have slipped through the cracks [that I've never gotten] and some players who have died [Ken Caminiti and Darryl Kile].
Brady Anderson was one of the players whose card I still need signed from this set and I'd stumbled on a supposed list of signers through the Major League Alumni Marketing - which I assume is a way for the Major League Players Alumni Association to raise money.
Anderson [$15] and Ray Lankford [$20] were the two players that stood out [other notables included Stan Musial - $85, Mike Schmidt - $70 and John Smoltz - $70] - as 'sorta tough to get guys, now they aren't playing,' whom I still needed on 2001 Fleer Tradition cards.So I looked at the list and wondered if it was worth getting Anderson and/or Lankford at a mail-in signing, so I could get them out of the way - I'd gotten Anderson's autograph a handful of times in his playing career, but before the 2001 Fleer Tradition came out.
I'd never gotten Lankford before and while I'd equally needed both of their 2001 Fleer Tradition cards signed - Lankford was the more intriguing name.
I'd looked at the list late Tuesday night and was still thinking about it Wednesday - not a big deal I suppose, though I had a couple of options to be able to knock out a couple of set cards.
I go to the Angels day game against the New York Yankees [9/23] and walking up the aisle from the field level before the game - and out all the random people I might see [among former players perhaps], there is Anderson [though he is in his mid 40s, he still looks like he is in his early 30s] coming up from the ramp, looking for his seats, somewhere in the terrace level.
I literally smack myself in the head, since I was thinking about the chances I'd ever see him - to get him to sign his 2001 Fleer Tradition [#77].
However, there was no 2001 Fleer Tradition card with me - I'd leafed through a stack of various setters [particular brands of baseball cards to get signed under the premise in the first paragraph] I'd put together last night and Anderson was the top card.
It never occured to me to bring any card [much less the 2001 Fleer Tradition] of Anderson - it looked like he had some sort of 'field pass' thing he was wearing around his neck, but I didn't know why he would be at Angel Stadium.
Anderson was still trying to figure out where his seat was and I was following him like I was some sort of lost puppy - when he finally sat down, I asked him to sign a blank page out of my autograph book. He asked for my name and I dilligently spelled it out so he could scribble it out, add a short inscription and sign his name.
It was pretty cool to get Anderson - though I keep thinking of the ways [now], how I can be prepared for the next time I see someone I need on one of my setters.