Friday, September 11, 2009
1987 Fleer, John Stefero/Kevin Seitzer
#652 John Stefero/Kevin Seitzer
First off, I want to say that I got a ton of help on getting these two signatures on this card. I actually did not get either one of them. But, before I get into that, I want to get into the card itself.
Growing up in Kansas during the summer of 1987, this was the card to have. Kevin was having a great rookie season that was overshadowed by Mark McGwire's monster rookie season. Kevin hit .323 with 85 RBI (a career high), but finished second to McGwire's 49 home runs in the Rookie of the Year vote. Nonetheless, this card booked in the $5 to $6 dollar range by the time 1988 came around. I didn't have the card, so I bought it at the card show that Danny Tartabull was at. I paid book value for it, even though it wouldn't have graded an 8 by today's standards. But, I wanted the card. I even bought a few packs of '87 Fleer from the same dealer and, of course, I got this card in one of the packs. So, I ended up with two of these cards before that day was over.
Obviously, neither player completely lived up to the hype. Kevin certainly had a decent Major League career that lasted twelve seasons. John, on the other hand, only played in parts of three seasons in the Majors. I'm sure that this card is practically worthless today, but I found a way to breath new life into it.
Earlier this season, Ryan, of the Great Orioles Autograph Project, mentioned some of the former players that would be signing during the season at the Orioles alumni signings at certain games at Camden Yards. One of the names on the list was John Stefero. I got in touch with him and he was more than willing to try to get this card signed for me. He ended up getting it signed in less than a month and had it back to me in June.
The card then sat in my binder, half signed, until last Saturday. I went to the Royals game that day and took a bunch of Angels cards and this lone Royal card. Kevin is the Royals batting coach. I was mainly interested in getting some Angel autographs, but I decided to take this card with me just in case. When I got to the ballpark, the Royals were still taking BP. I thought about going over to that side of the field, but the Angel side was quickly filling up and I was in the prime spot for getting cards signed (plus, I didn't want to miss out on Mickey Hatcher). About that time, my Dad met up with me. I asked him if he would go over and try to get it signed. He said that he would and I had to double-check to make sure he knew which one Seitzer was. He pointed him out and then headed over to the Royals dugout. My dad doesn't mind getting autographs while he is standing in line, but he hates doing it at games by himself. It just doesn't fit his personality. So I figured that he had a one in three chance of actually coming through for me.
He went on his way and I kept trying to get some Angel autographs. Bobby Abreu signed a few things and I was lucky enough to get a couple cards signed by him. By the time Abreu quit signing, I looked over to the Royals dugout and I saw my card being handed back to my dad from the dugout. I knew that he had got it signed and I was pretty happy. First it was an '81 Donruss card, then Bobby Abreu, and now the completion of this card.
When my dad finally made it back to the visiting dugout, he was pretty proud of himself. He thought that he was going to surprise me with the autograph, but he didn't know that I saw him get it signed. I don't know how many times that I told him how impressed I was with him that night, but he never tired of telling me his story.
So, here is his side.
"The Royals were coming off of the field and I followed Kevin the whole way. When he came down the dugout steps, I said his name (kevin). He kept walking, so I said it again (KEVIN). Still nothing, so I said it one more time (KEVIN!!!!) He heard me that time and came over to me. I asked for his autograph and he said sure."
I asked my dad if he said anything about the other autograph already on the card and he said "no, he apparently didn't notice it".
Obviously, it is great to have these two signatures on a cool card from my youth. Thank you Ryan and thank you Dad!