That new ball I got for Hank Aaron but never got signed? I shouldn’t have gotten upset about wasting it either. I was winding down my autograph hunting as I had nothing new for many of the players to sign* when who should I see in the lobby again but Orlando Cepeda. He’d already signed the team ball but he was also a player who was totally worthy of a single ball.
*This gets filed under “signs of a successful trip” and “good problems to have.”
Cepeda was wonderful and gracious and I’m happy that his autograph is my first “big” signature on a ball all by itself. I passed up many additional opportunities to get his signature over the years. He was always signing for fans but I didn’t need another ball of his nor did I have any cards I was willing to get signed.* But he was a great guy who the fans loved and I was thrilled when he finally made it into the Hall of Fame.
*My treasured 1960 card was too special for me to risk something happening to it during travel or the scrum of an autograph session.
I also love that my Cepeda ball is on a Bart Giamatti National League ball as it both dates when I got it and reminds me who my favorite Commisioner of baseball was. Most of my autographs are on Bill White baseballs and I’m both jealous of kids now who only have to deal with one official baseball for autographs and happy that I never had to deal with a Bud Selig ball.