The Day I Called My Shot

2000fleergreatsofthegamenolanryanautographmarkHey, Babe Ruth isn’t the only guy to call his shot. I did it too. Really, I did.

Back in 2000, Fleer released Greats of the Game, a product that featured autographs of some of the game’s greatest names on some of the best-looking cards of all time. Seriously, even now, some nine years later, these cards are jaw-dropping beautiful.

The week they were released I remember watching a guy at a local shop open backs of this stuff until he pulled a signature. I think he snagged a Ben Oglvie, but in the process he also got one of those awesome Yankee Clippings game-used cards. I was intrigued, but I knew he already bled the box dry so if there was any shot for me, Mr. Novice Collector and college student, getting anything worth owning, I’d have to go elsewhere. So I did.

After looking at the checklist, one name popped out at me: Nolan Ryan. Ryan was always a player who intrigued me. Had I grown up in the 50s or 60s, it would have been Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale or Sandy Koufax. But I’m a child of the 1980s. Nolan Ryan was a mythical figure whose accomplishments were off the charts. My favorite player was Roger Clemens, and even he idolized Ryan.

So as I drove across town to another shop, I told myself I was going to pull the Nolan Ryan. I allowed myself to spend $20, which pretty much amounted to three packs and some top loaders. Lo and behold the first pack yielded this Ryan autograph.

There have been times in my collecting career where I’ve snagged some monumental pulls, ones that most collectors would envy. Between 1997 and 2002 I’d pulled from packs and then sold such items as: 1997-1998 Topps Chrome Refractor Tim Duncan rookie, 1998-1999 Topps Chrome Refractor Vince Carter rookie, 1998 SP Authentic Randy Moss rookie, 1999 Topps Gallery Magenta Printing Plate Nomar Garciaparra 1/1 (~or is it 1/4?~), 2001 Upper Deck Hall of Famers Cut Autograph Walter Johnson and 2002 Topps Heritage autographed game-used bat of Willie Mays #’d 01/25. But they are all gone from my collection. The one giant pull that from that five-year run that remains in my collection is this Nolan Ryan.

Looking at that list of items that I once owned, there is a part of me that misses them. Hell, I’m still kicking myself that I did not keep a copy of the photo I used to sell the Walter Johnson. But honestly, as intriguing as they are, none of them compare — OK, maybe the Walter Johnson — to pulling this Ryan. Sure, the entire situation was luck — I just as easily could have gotten nothing — but there’s just something special about the situation.

4 Responses to “The Day I Called My Shot”

  1. Good Call! That must have felt great. I’m definitely hoping to pull a Ryan auto some day.

  2. Thats a really cool card! I gotta get the Ryan express’s auto!

  3. Wow… this card is awesome! The on-card autograph, the simple design, and the placement of the picture and auto are magnificent. You should try to build this set.

  4. […] like Babe Ruth. If you want to know the full story about this card, take a look at my post from March 14,2009. The short version: I called my […]

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