Hanging out with Jose brought a happy ending and closure to many story lines in my collection. Among them was something that I had been searching for a very, very long time.
The greatest moment for me in baseball was the 1989 World Series, when the A's crushed the Giants, sweeping them in devastating fashion. This of course, was the year the earth quake hit as well.
I was living in California at the time, and remember being glued to the television for game three at Candlestick park. The introductions were playing, and they showed Willie Mays waving to the crowd.
Then, everything started to shake.
Not just on television, but even where we lived. We lived quite a ways away, but still felt it a bit. It was quite terrifying. So much destruction was caused due to the Loma Prieta earthquake that year. I still remember seeing a bridge collapsing and a car driving off the edge.
In what had seemed to be an eternity, the World Series resumed, and my A's finished the job. Something that went a long ways for me to silence the resident dodgers fan / my best friend at the time. (IN YOUR FACE, DAVID!)
A while back, I picked up a 1989 World Series program, along with some ticket stubs from the '89 ALCS & World Series. I didn't even notice this came with them, but it also had a ticket for BART.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit - if you listen to an A's game on the radio, you will hear commercials for them, even today.
This one is special because it notates the World Series.
As a matter of fact, the '89 World Series was named the Bay Bridge Series, since the A's and Giants were so close to each other. On the back of this, you had a place to sign to show that it was yours. Well, here is the back of mine now!
I didn't even know that I had this piece until a few days before the signing. Once I saw it, along with the signature section on the back, I just had to have Jose sign.
So many cool / wacky pictures came out of this series.
One of the crazy hats from the series:
Last year, I was searching for something to add to my collection for my birthday, and I met someone who was very close to the man of steal, Rickey Henderson. This person had what looked to be a gallery full of Rickey gamers. Among these things were some game used baseballs from the 1989 World Series autographed by several members of the A's. These had all come from Rickey.
After doing my due diligence to make sure everything was legitimate, I decided to purchase most all of them. I figured I could re-sell some to get my money back, and (gasp!) even end up having the one I decided to keep for free!
The first few I picked up didn't have all the members; just the "main guys". Then after a while, she decided to let go of 2 that had virtually everyone on them. (YESSS!!!) I spent too much time hemming and hawing about it, and the one I really wanted (with all the signatures) was bought by someone else.
The last one that was available had everyone except for 2 players.
Lance Blankenship and ... you guessed it ... Jose Canseco.
The ball had Tony LaRussa, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart ... all of the big name, small names and in between names that actually played in that World Series, as well as a few that didn't, such as Bob Welch who passed away last year.
But not Blankenship or Canseco!
I figured I was going to be able to get Canseco, since he makes several appearances. Heck, about 3-4 years ago he was here in Houston and ended up signing for a bunch of people for 3 hours or so for free ... (AND I MISSED IT!!!) Lance, on the other hand, I thought was going to be an issue.
As it turns out, he has a website, so I reached out to the webmaster to see how I could end up getting Lance's signature on the ball. A day later, Lance Blankenship himself wrote me back personally!
Hi Tanner, Give me a call tomorrow.
- Lance B.
This in and of itself was absolutely thrilling! A member of the 89 World Series Athletics just wrote me personally! This was very cool to me. I called, and emailed, and ... no response. That was a major bummer. Oh well, I'm sure he was busy.
As the 25th anniversary of the 1989 World Series Champion A's was coming, I heard some players were going to be signing. As it turns out, Lance was going to be there. I reached out to the A's head office folks, and spoke with a very nice lady who worked there.
This lady ended up telling me to ship her the baseball, and she will get Lance to sign. No need to pay for the autograph or shipping. Just send the ball.
This could potentially be my only opportunity to get Lance to sign, so I did...which much trembling, might I add! This baseball had the potential to be my most prized possession, and here I was shipping it off to someone without knowing anything about it.
Thankfully, the ball came back to me ... and Lance had signed it!
So, here I had a 1989 World Series baseball signed by every single member of the A's, except for my favorite player. How does that happen???
As it turns out, it couldn't have happened any better. I'm sure you can figure out the rest of the story - I went to the signing, and had Jose sign it, to finally complete the piece, after over a year trek. Here it is now - it rests on my desk next to my 89 world series personalized baseball "To my Bash Brother 'Tanner'" (which I had him sign at a show a few years back):
I was able to have him sign just underneath the 89 World Series mentioning so that way I could have that part of it displayed. I handed him the baseball, telling him it came from Rickey's collection and was game used. As he signed it, Jose said "This is worth a lot of money." I told him I agreed, but could never sell it. "Yeah, but still..." he said.
I ended up getting what was the inferior baseball initially, but in the end, it was the best choice. I don't think it could have been scripted any better! How on earth did I run into a baseball that had everyone EXCEPT for him and Lance? How was it that I was in need of Lance's autograph and this had happened just in time for the 25th anniversary of the 89 World Series, where he was going to be signing? The whole thing is positively bizarre ... in a good way, of course!
There is a bit more to this story. I still speak to the lady who is close to Rickey. She was kind enough to offer me a few other autographed items of Rickey for free. I asked if I could send some customs to have him sign, and she was fine with that.
Unfortunately, he was not. He wasn't comfortable with signing the customs, so she sent them back, but sent back a card and a flyer with his signature on it. This was incredibly nice of her. To go along with the signed pieces.
I turned around traded the 2 customs to a Rickey Henderson collector in exchange for a jersey and bat card of Rickey's. Now, I have 2 signatures, a jersey piece and a bat piece to make something down the road with. (STAY TUNED!)
For now though, it was nice to finally finish up my 1989 World Series A's baseball, and exchange words with Jose about it! This is a truly priceless piece to me with a fantastic story to go along with it.
P.S. - Don't worry, folks - I'm not going to be cutting this up!