A most welcome addition to my collection and one that has been a long time coming.
I watched Tony torment my beloved Dodgers for years as a teenager and was always amazed how this guy that never seemed to have much always did so much. Even before I re-entered the card hobby I was on the look out for an autograph of Tony's to add to my collection. I was never able to acquire a ball that was of good quality. I also never made it down to San Diego to one of the many car dealership signings that he did. I never got to meet Mr. Padre and sadly now I never will as he passed away this past year.
Since I no longer collect white signed balls and I never saw a black signed ball of Tony I turned my attention to cards. The most important thing was to acquire an on card signature and not some sticker one. That became a problem as most copies were on unappealing cards of poor quality but I always kept an eye out.
One day this beauty came up on eBay. It is on card, from my second favorite brand and already graded. The grading part wasn't important but it is a very nice bonus. This card books at $80 raw and this happens to be the only graded copy in the world as of this blog entry. It only needed .5 more to bump up to an overall gem mint grade. I was happy with the 9 and hoped that would help me in the end as it was not labeled with a gold banner. Auction was scheduled to end on a Friday night and I would be travelling at that time so with about 5 minutes left I put in a higher than normal bid as I really wanted this card and had extra funds to pick it up. With seconds left there were 3 more bids but in the end my bid held up and I picked it up for less than book.
Never met the man but I finally was able to add his autograph to my collection. You were a good one Tony. R.I.P.
18 of 25
Only .5 from an overall gem mint grade
Only way to have an autograph