10. 1984 DONRUSS DON MATTINGLY
|CARD No. 248.|
- This iconic piece of cardboard signifies everything cool about the hobby in the 1980s, even if it was horribly expensive and normally found slabbed in a 3-inch block of Lucite at card shows. It took Donnie Baseball having his career cut short because of a bad back for me to afford it, but that didn't ruin the thrill of acquiring it.
9. BROOKS ROBINSON SIGNED BASEBALL
- Brooks Robinson signed this before "managing'' the AL team in the Pizza Hut All-Star Softball Game in February '89 at Baseball City, Fla. My wife and I had seats right by the AL dugout, and I yelled out to Brooks right before the game. He motioned for me to toss him the ball, and I slid the pen across the top of the dugout. I got a bunch of autographs that day, but this one was the jewel and remains so to this day.
8. MICKEY MANTLE-JOE DiMAGGIO SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
|No. 1,639 OF 5,000 SETS.|
- I purchased a set of Bill Gallo sepia lithographs at a card show and later had Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle sign them at shows years apart. This one is my favorite because it's rare to find something signed by both. Incidentally, Gallo was the longtime cartoonist for the New York Daily News.
7. BROOKS ROBINSON SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
|No. 302 OF 750.|
- This '89 Jerry Hersch lithograph was purchased already signed by Brooksie, and it's the first autographed piece I ever acquired. Despite the annoying glare of me photographing it, the rendering is fantastic, the autograph stupendous.
6. 500 HOME RUN CLUB BASEBALL
|THE ORIGINAL 11.|
- I covered my experiences getting these autographs here, but to summarize: It was a hoot completing this autograph project and meeting these legends, flaws and all.
5. 1968 TOPPS ROBERTO CLEMENTE
|CARD No. 150.|
- Roberto Clemente was my father's favorite player, so seeing any of his cards reminds me of Dad. I like this '68 best.
4. 1975 TOPPS SET
|THE FIRST PAGE OF A BONAFIDE CLASSIC.|
- The '75 set captures a period of time like few other Topps sets. It's an epiphany of color bursting forth from album pages. If/when I finish the '65 set, this might move to my No. 2 complete set, but for now, it's the unquestioned champ.
3. 1957 TOPPS BROOKS ROBINSON
|CARD No. 328.|
- The rookie card of my favorite player. Easily could be No. 1 on this list any other day.
2. MICKEY MANTLE No. 7 SIGNED 16x20 PHOTO
|No. 229 OF 1,000.|
- Acquired this already signed at a card show in the early '90s. It was a complete impulse buy. The dealer had it in a cheap frame, but I fell in love with the pose and handed over the cash without hesitating. I'm so happy I did. Like the rest of my photos/lithos, I had it professionally matted and framed. The glare is bad in this photo, but trust me, when you see it for the first time, it's a stunner; you stop and stare. I still stop and stare.
1. 1970 ORIOLES SIGNED TEAM BASEBALL
|28 AUTOGRAPHS OF MY FAVORITE TEAM OF ALL-TIME.|
- I wrote about this ball here. I'd liquidate everything above before letting it go.
Fly your flag today.