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It's not just any day that you meet your hero

I grew up a fan of Cal Ripken, Jr. One of my most special cards to this day is a 1982 Topps RC that I traded a box of basketball cards for. I had always hoped that I would someday get a chance to meet Cal, even if it was just enough time to say thank you. The college I attended has an annual benefit dinner every December. 100% of the money goes to student scholarships. The highlight of the night is a speech provided by a national personality.

Several months ago I received a ballot asking for my vote on who the speaker should be for the dinner. On the list was my hero, Cal Ripken, Jr. Ripken made the first cut and advanced to the final round of voting. I placed my vote and waited and hoped. After all, how cool would it be for your favorite player to come to where you went to college, especially a small University with enrollment at/under 2,000. I received an e-mail that made my day when I received word that Cal had been selected and confirmed to speak at the event. Not only did my wife and I purchase a sponsorship, the University gave me media access.

I couldn't be more pleased with how the evening went. Unfortunately the media session did not last long at all. I learned pretty quick that Cal makes sure to give a very thorough answer to all of his questions. He was asked about his efforts with youth baseball, his future entry to the Hall of Fame and for his thoughts about McGwire as a possible Hall of Famer. I didn't get a chance to ask him a question but I did get the opportunity to meet him at the session, shake hands with him and talk for a minute or two before he left. I had always heard that he always makes sure to make eye contact with everyone he shakes hands with. Sure enough, he did. Although I didn't get to ask a question, I got my wish when I got to say "thank you".

After dinner he gave a speech about his 8 tips to success. Before he spoke he had an intro video that he said that he always shows before he speaks. The music was "Simply the Best" and the video had a list of his awards and video clips of some of his greatest moments. The video even had a clip of him with the Rochester Red Wings, which I appreciated seeing. He talked about conversations he has had with players over the years. He mentioned a conversation with Rick Sutcliffe. He said that he was getting tired of the media attention calling him selfish for continuing to play for the streak despite the fact that he was in a slump. He said that he asked Rick for his advice on whether he should sit out a game. He said that Rick told him that if he missed a game it would be all over the news and it would be even more attention. Rick also told him that his name would be on the obituary page the next day. You see, Rick was the starter the next day and wanted Cal in the lineup. The speech included bits about the streak, his family and his plans for the future.

After the speech he opened the floor for questions. The first person asked about his batting stances and went on to say that "you have had more batting stances than Jim Carrey has faces". Cal was also asked about his thoughts on Interleague and the All-Star format. A question I enjoyed was his favorite moment in his career. He said that his favorite moment(s) was catching the last out of the 1983 World Series and taking the lap around the field when he broke Gehrig's record. He said that he loved the fact that everyone got to see a special t-shirt from his kids that he was wearing under his jersey that night. When asked about the funniest moment, he said he was running for a lazy fly when he tripped over his shoelaces and didn't get to the ball. He said he was embarrassed and got up and looked for any excuse to play it off. To his surprise, he found a golf ball buried in the grass. He picked up the golf ball, held it up and acted like he had tripped on it.

After the speech, Cal went to meet sponsors and pose for pictures. On his way to the photo reception I got to see him again on the way out of the building. Once again, he was very gracious. He also took the time to sign my program from the event:

image

Comments

  • detroitfan2detroitfan2 Posts: 3,119 ✭✭✭
    Ripken,

    Awesome awesome story. I can tell your excitement level just by reading what you wrote. From all accounts, you've picked a tremendous man as your hero.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Tom
  • WondoWondo Posts: 2,919 ✭✭✭
    image



    Very nice - congratulations. image
    Wondo

  • tennesseebankertennesseebanker Posts: 5,463 ✭✭✭
    Chris, It's nice to see a good ole Freed Hardeman boy on the boards. Are you still in the area or did you move away after College? Congratulations on meeting Cal.
  • jfkheatjfkheat Posts: 2,580 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was working in Michigan several years ago and went to see the Orioles play the Tigers in a double header on July 4th weekend. Cal Ripken Jr. was one of the few players that signed any autographs before the game. He probably spend 30 minutes signing. He made sure everyone that was waiting got an autograph. He has always been one of my favorites.
    James


  • << <i>Chris, It's nice to see a good ole Freed Hardeman boy on the boards. Are you still in the area or did you move away after College? Congratulations on meeting Cal. >>



    Greetings. I presume you're associated with the school in some way? I stayed pretty close to the University. I took a job in west TN after graduating that was around 40 miles from the school. My wife and I moved to middle TN in the summer of '04. It now takes a good 90 minutes or so to get back.
  • tennesseebankertennesseebanker Posts: 5,463 ✭✭✭
    Chris
    Pm Sent
  • lostdart58lostdart58 Posts: 2,939 ✭✭✭
    Ya didn't get the RC autod???
    Collector of:Baseball
    1955 Bowman Raw complete with 90% Ex-NR or better

    Now seeking 1949 Eureka Sportstamps...NM condition
    Working on '78 Autographed set now 99.9% complete -
    Working on '89 Topps autoed set now complete




  • << <i>Ya didn't get the RC autod??? >>



    The RC is in a case that requires a screwdriver to get it out. I honestly did not expect to be in a position to ask for an autograph so I didn't even bother to have it potentially ready. Maybe another day.
  • Whatta great story. It's moments like that when you realize that the whole thing was meant to be.

    You got to spend a night in the company of your hero, and a few minutes of one-on-one time... can it get any better?!
    Nolan Ryan & Edgar Martinez are my favorite players...
    image
    mosaic's Nolan Ryan Basic Topps registry set
    mosaic's Big 3 Nolan Ryan Run Showcase


  • << <i>Whatta great story. It's moments like that when you realize that the whole thing was meant to be.

    You got to spend a night in the company of your hero, and a few minutes of one-on-one time... can it get any better?! >>



    Greetings, thanks for the nice comments. The only thing that makes it better is that I did get to briefly mention the site I built. I know his stance on protecting his fans from fake memorabilia and wanted him to know it's there. I don't know that it will ever lead to anything but I can say that Cal has at least heard about the site. The night absolutely could not have been any better.

    My wife was talking to me earlier about how great it was that I got to meet my two favorite athletes where I went to school. In April of 1999, the school booked Peyton and Archie Manning to speak at a family values forum. It just so happened that I was in the lobby of the building that Peyton and Archie were to visit on their arrival to campus. I walked up to Peyton and got to visit with him for several minutes. At the close of our talk we were discussing the week 1 match against the Bills. I had overheard his people mention that he wasn't supposed to sign autographs and I said that I wished that I could get something signed. He asked if I had anything for him to sign and he signed my ticket to the event. Afterwards, I got to speak to Archie and he signed the ticket next to Peyton's signature.

    Who'd have thought that I would get to meet 2 of my favorite athletes at my college?
  • detroitfan2detroitfan2 Posts: 3,119 ✭✭✭
    Chris, FYI there's a nice article on PSA graded Ripken cards in the January 2007 issue of the SMR magazine.

    -Tom


  • << <i>Chris, FYI there's a nice article on PSA graded Ripken cards in the January 2007 issue of the SMR magazine.

    -Tom >>



    Greetings. I do not have the magazine mailed to me at home so hopefully I can catch the article online. Have you seen the article yet? I checked the online SMR and only saw the December copy. In any case, I'm very interested in what it has to say. I have been in touch with the PSA reps in regards to how they label the 1980 WBTV and Charlotte Police card. PSA slabs the orange card (police issue) as a team issue. They slab the blue WBTV card (team issue) as a WBTV card. In their population report, they have "team version" and "WBTV version" posted. When I called to ask if all of the team version cards in the population report meant orange cards they had no clue.
  • i was able to go back stage after a concert last month and met JOAN BAEZ my personal hero it was great we talked for like 5 mins. and she shared a story or two and it was the highlight of my year!! it truly is great to meet your hero..great isn't it? well this is a great story sometimes heros can live up to their hype!!!
    my t-205's


    looking for low grade t205's psa 1-2
  • royalbrettroyalbrett Posts: 619 ✭✭✭


    << <i>I was working in Michigan several years ago and went to see the Orioles play the Tigers in a double header on July 4th weekend. Cal Ripken Jr. was one of the few players that signed any autographs before the game. He probably spend 30 minutes signing. He made sure everyone that was waiting got an autograph. He has always been one of my favorites.
    James >>



    If this was at Tiger Stadium, I was at the same game.
    Yeah, I uploaded that KC icon in 2001
  • detroitfan2detroitfan2 Posts: 3,119 ✭✭✭
    <<Greetings. I do not have the magazine mailed to me at home so hopefully I can catch the article online. Have you seen the article yet? I checked the online SMR and only saw the December copy. In any case, I'm very interested in what it has to say. I have been in touch with the PSA reps in regards to how they label the 1980 WBTV and Charlotte Police card. PSA slabs the orange card (police issue) as a team issue. They slab the blue WBTV card (team issue) as a WBTV card. In their population report, they have "team version" and "WBTV version" posted. When I called to ask if all of the team version cards in the population report meant orange cards they had no clue. >>

    Here's what the article says in regards to the minor league cards:

    Hobbyists contend that the Holy Grail of Ripken cards is the 1980 Charlotte O's team-issued card.

    "It's a card that was handed out to kids by (Charlotte) police officers in 1980. They came into schools and they did a presentation and then gave out team sets," explained O'Connor (#1 Basic and Master Ripken sets owner).

    The front of this single boasts orange borders and a large picture, while the back is white with blue printing.

    . . .

    This orange team-issued card should not be confused with a blue-bordered 1980 Charlotte O's single issued by WBTV (a local television station). Considered less scarce than the orange card, this single is arguably the second-most coveted Ripken.


  • << <i><<Greetings. I do not have the magazine mailed to me at home so hopefully I can catch the article online. Have you seen the article yet? I checked the online SMR and only saw the December copy. In any case, I'm very interested in what it has to say. I have been in touch with the PSA reps in regards to how they label the 1980 WBTV and Charlotte Police card. PSA slabs the orange card (police issue) as a team issue. They slab the blue WBTV card (team issue) as a WBTV card. In their population report, they have "team version" and "WBTV version" posted. When I called to ask if all of the team version cards in the population report meant orange cards they had no clue. >>

    Here's what the article says in regards to the minor league cards:

    Hobbyists contend that the Holy Grail of Ripken cards is the 1980 Charlotte O's team-issued card.

    "It's a card that was handed out to kids by (Charlotte) police officers in 1980. They came into schools and they did a presentation and then gave out team sets," explained O'Connor (#1 Basic and Master Ripken sets owner).

    The front of this single boasts orange borders and a large picture, while the back is white with blue printing.

    . . .

    This orange team-issued card should not be confused with a blue-bordered 1980 Charlotte O's single issued by WBTV (a local television station). Considered less scarce than the orange card, this single is arguably the second-most coveted Ripken. >>



    *sigh*

    I like PSA, but this is exactly why I have concern with sending my WBTV and Police cards for grading. The team issued card was given out on May 30th, 1980. I can verify this courtesy of a document provided by Bill Haelig. The document is an insert with a schedule and shows that the set was given out on May 30, 1980. The set was sponsored by WBTV but was a team issue. However, PSA slabs WBTV cards as a WBTV Charlotte O's issue.

    When it comes to the Police issue, O'Connor is partially correct. The orange police cards were given out by officers of the Charlotte Police Department. However, the cards were given out one or two at a time. The cards were not collated and were never distributed in set form, which is why this set is near impossible to find complete. To find a complete set, you would have had to obtain all 25 different cards one or two at a time. The orange police cards were not a team issue whatsoever. In fact, the orange cards were never at the park. For whatever reason, PSA has chosen to slab the orange cards as the team issue, which couldn't be any more inaccurate.

    Again, the team issued set was sponsored by WBTV in Charlotte. The orange border set was not a team issue and was issued by the Charlotte Police Department.

    I have tried on severl occasions to clarify the issue with the powers that be at PSA. However, I have had no success at all. It disappoints me that one of the premiere grading companies is slabbing cards with inaccurate information when someone is trying to get the truth out. It also disappoints me to see that this inaccurate information is going out in a national article.

    Can you provide me with a number to reach someone at the magazine by any chance? Not asking you to post it here, but a PM or e-mail would be greatly appreciated.
  • By the way, thanks for the information!
  • In case someone at PSA happens to read this, consider the evidence for my case:

    Information about the WBTV Team Issue

    Information about the Orange Police Issue
  • I just had a similar experience with Cal. He came to the Army post where I am stationed with some of the Wisk detergent people for a dedication of a little league field that had been refurbished. It was a contest that was won through Wisk and the local community. Cal gave his speech and then played on the field with all the kids for about an hour and a half. All of us adults just stood around the perimeter and watched. I brought a bat in the hopes that he would sign it but if he didn't then that was fine to. I thought it was cool to just see him. After he finished on the field he was mobbed by parents and others for autographs. He signed a few and fortuneately I was one of them. I liked to listen to him speak. He has a definite passion for little league and baseball in general. A very stand up guy. I truly admire him for what he has done.

    Red

    Looking for 81-84 Topps Stickers in PSA 9 or better, 81 Topps Scratch offs, 83 Topps Fold outs in PSA 8 or better, 83 Fleer Stamps and 81/86 Fleer Star Stickers in PSA 9 or better.
    >

  • Ripkenintheminors,

    I'd be happy to mail you my SMR with the Ripken article free of charge. Shoot me a PM with your address and I'll send it out.

    Arthur
  • Oh! image

    And great story! Thanks for sharing! image

    Arthur


  • << <i>I just had a similar experience with Cal. He came to the Army post where I am stationed with some of the Wisk detergent people for a dedication of a little league field that had been refurbished. It was a contest that was won through Wisk and the local community. Cal gave his speech and then played on the field with all the kids for about an hour and a half. All of us adults just stood around the perimeter and watched. I brought a bat in the hopes that he would sign it but if he didn't then that was fine to. I thought it was cool to just see him. After he finished on the field he was mobbed by parents and others for autographs. He signed a few and fortuneately I was one of them. I liked to listen to him speak. He has a definite passion for little league and baseball in general. A very stand up guy. I truly admire him for what he has done.

    Red >>



    Excellent, thanks for sharing! In addition, thanks for your service!


  • << <i>Ripkenintheminors,

    I'd be happy to mail you my SMR with the Ripken article free of charge. Shoot me a PM with your address and I'll send it out.

    Arthur >>



    PM sent! Thanks so much!


  • << <i>

    << <i>Ripkenintheminors,

    I'd be happy to mail you my SMR with the Ripken article free of charge. Shoot me a PM with your address and I'll send it out.

    Arthur >>



    PM sent! Thanks so much! >>



    PS sent.

    Arthur
  • I was able to find the author of the story (who is a very nice guy) and ask him about the article. We're going to compare notes in a few days and see what comes from it. As with any report, you are at the mercy of the information that is out there. Since it's very possible that the article was completed before the site went live and/or was picked up by the search engines, he had to rely on interviews from collectors and the limited information available. Certainly can't fault him for that.

    I also sent a message to Joe Orlando with my questions. Again, I would love to have my team sets graded. However, I would like for the slabs to have accurate information on them.
  • tennesseebankertennesseebanker Posts: 5,463 ✭✭✭
    Chris, Will you be going to cooperstown to see Cal when he gets inducted ?


  • << <i>Chris, Will you be going to cooperstown to see Cal when he gets inducted ? >>



    That's a great question. Summer is a really busy time of year for me. With that being said, I will not be able to see if it's possible until checking some things that will be on my schedule for '07. It would definitely be great to be there!
  • Stone193Stone193 Posts: 24,116 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Chris

    That was a great story! And considering what a class act he is - I woulda been proud to attend - and getting his sig on your program - on the spot? OFF the chart!

    I have auto balls and a book of his.

    Thanx for sharing - one of the best posts on a player this year!

    mike
    Mike







  • << <i>Thanx for sharing >>



    You are very welcome and thanks for the comments! I really need to get my pictures processed from the event to post.
  • Excellent news! I received a message from Kevin Glew stating that Joe Orlando has agreed for him to write a 300-500 word article on Cal's minor league cards for an upcoming magazine!
  • ripkenintheminorsripkenintheminors Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭
    Was cleaning out some stuff this week and found the CD with pictures from the event. Here are a few pictures from media room and speech.:

    image
    image
    image
    image
    image
    image
    image
  • RonBurgundyRonBurgundy Posts: 5,527 ✭✭✭
    image
    Ron Burgundy

    Buying Vintage, all sports.
    Buying Woody Hayes, Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, and Jesse Owens autographed items
  • it would be cool if you started a website about the motivational speaker that you have pictures of!
    ---------------------------------------------
    Authorized wholesale dealer for BCW, if you need any supplies let me know and I will get you a quote
  • baseballfanbaseballfan Posts: 5,377 ✭✭✭
    very coll


    GO O's!!!!!!!!!!!
    Fred

    collecting RAW Topps baseball cards 1952 Highs to 1972. looking for collector grade (somewhere between psa 4-7 condition). let me know what you have, I'll take it, I want to finish sets, I must have something you can use for trade.

    looking for Topps 71-72 hi's-62-53-54-55-59, I have these sets started

  • ripkenintheminorsripkenintheminors Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭


    << <i>it would be cool if you started a website about the motivational speaker that you have pictures of! >>



    Great idea!
  • jeffcbayjeffcbay Posts: 8,723 ✭✭✭
    too cool
  • ripkenintheminorsripkenintheminors Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭
    I also have the audio clips from the media session. One of these days I'll convert it to an MP3 and post it on the site as well. I will go ahead and say that when I start talking to Cal I apparently forgot how to talk as I tripped all over what I was trying to say. LOL
  • jeffcbayjeffcbay Posts: 8,723 ✭✭✭
    That would be me too, I would have to rehearse what I would say to him, and it would still sound dumb I'm sure, lol.
  • IronmanfanIronmanfan Posts: 5,195 ✭✭✭


    << <i>That would be me too, I would have to rehearse what I would say to him, and it would still sound dumb I'm sure, lol. >>



    Jeff:

    You coming to the National next summer in Baltimore? Cal will be signing

    IMF
    Successful dealings with Wcsportscards94558, EagleEyeKid, SamsGirl214, Volver, DwayneDrain, Oaksey25, Griffins, Cardfan07, Etc.
  • jeffcbayjeffcbay Posts: 8,723 ✭✭✭
    Yes, my Dad lives in Upperco, so it will be a two-for-one trip for me! image

    I can't imagine how long that line will be...
  • ripkenintheminorsripkenintheminors Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭
    I wonder how much advertising is for the National. It would be cool to get a low level sponsorship for my site.
  • nightcrawlernightcrawler Posts: 5,122 ✭✭
    Great thread. image



    No one gets to meet my hero... Terry Fox
  • IronmanfanIronmanfan Posts: 5,195 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Yes, my Dad lives in Upperco, so it will be a two-for-one trip for me! image

    I can't imagine how long that line will be... >>



    I'll be sitting to the right of Cal handing things to him, so please say hello and I'll introduce you to him

    IMF
    Successful dealings with Wcsportscards94558, EagleEyeKid, SamsGirl214, Volver, DwayneDrain, Oaksey25, Griffins, Cardfan07, Etc.
  • jeffcbayjeffcbay Posts: 8,723 ✭✭✭
    THAT would rock!! I'll let you know my plans when we're closer to the date.

    By the way IMF, I saw your video on YOUTUBE where you were interviewed about your collection, pretty sweet!!
  • IronmanfanIronmanfan Posts: 5,195 ✭✭✭
    Thanks...

    Thats from the Baltimore/DC Comcast who ran that piece leading up to Cal's HOF Induction in '07....neat overall experience that my neighbors still talk about (with the production trucks, etc.)

    PM me a couple weeks prior to the National and we'll make arrangements (practice your speech.....lol).

    IMF
    Successful dealings with Wcsportscards94558, EagleEyeKid, SamsGirl214, Volver, DwayneDrain, Oaksey25, Griffins, Cardfan07, Etc.
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