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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Guy in the Dawson Jersey

This is a little late, I know, but I've been keeping up with other things, so here goes. Last weekend, my wife and I had the greatest time in Cooperstown, there for the induction of The Hawk Andre Dawson into the Hall of Fame.

I also picked up some cards, too, but more on those later.

Since I'm about a week late, I'll try and spare most of the details. We had great seats, off to the right of the stage and in prime spot for the MLB Network cameras. I recorded the ceremony on the DVR and we actually got on TV a couple times. For those wondering, I was the guy with the Dawson jersey, the wife was the one next to the guy with the Dawson jersey. My wife got me the jersey a few years ago.

But it was something I'd waited for since I was a kid. I was a huge Dawson fan growing up in Iowa. I even got to meet him in 1988, when I was 9. He was so great, he signed every one of the cards I brought, all nine of them. They're among the coolest things I have.

Anyway, I always vowed I'd be there when he was inducted. We were there and it was worth every second of the wait.

Old Expos fans were there, too. There was even a guy with a really old Lethbridge Expos shirt, the rookie league team that Dawson played for in Alberta in 1975.

It was nice to hear the old Expos chant "Lets Go Expos." My wife and I met in 2003 and started going to games in 2004. If I have a regret, it's not getting her up to Olympic Stadium in time. I got there in 2002. I thought they'd be back for 2005, but they weren't.

Dawson's speech was great. We both got a little misty-eyed when he spoke of his mother and grandmother. The comments on steroids were great. And he paid it forward, where Ryne Sandburg advocated for him, he advocated for Lee Smith and Tim Raines to get to the Hall.

Afterward, we headed directly to the museum for the installation of the new plaques in the hall. Waiting, we stopped by the gift shop and, among other items, I picked up a pack of 2010 Topps Series 2. I knew there was a Dawson in the Legendary Lineage line, so I thought it would be cool if I could try and pull one while waiting for his plaque to go up.

I didn't get that card, but I did get a code card, my third overall. Maybe that would be a Dawson to bring everything together? Well, I didn't get a Dawson, but the endevour was brought together. When I entered the code a couple days later, I got the 1986 Cubs Leaders card. On the front? Lee Smith, one of the two players Dawson advocated for, from a code card I'd pulled at the Hall of Fame. I know, my wife was thoroughly blown away, too. (Well, maybe she wasn't.)

By the way, after a couple moves by security, we managed to be in the right spot at the end of the Hall ceremony. I ended up being the first member of the general public to stand in front of the installed plaque and have his picture taken.

Anyway, to bring this home in a semi-topical way, I was on the lookout, as always, for 1990 CMC connections. There were the more obvious ones, through the inductees themselves.

Whitey Herzog was the man CMC set member Dann Bilardello wrote to in 1983, hoping the manager wouldn't charge him for all his foul balls he'd hit.

Another CMC member's home run in 1987 came two batters before the infamous beanball thrown at Dawson in his MVP year that cost him two games. CMC set member Paul Noce hit it out July 7 off Eric Show. Two batters later, Show hit Dawson in the face.

As far as direct CMC connections, I did spot a random Curt Schilling Red Sox jersey. I know Dawson played two seasons with the Red Sox, but a Schilling jersey at the Dawson induction? Schilling, of course was a direct member of the CMC set, as a player on the 1990 Rochester Red Wings.

We stopped in to a few of the many baseball stores during the trip. In one, I picked up three grab bags. They're kind of fun, when mixed up properly. These three were dominated by 1992 Fleer.
My favorite store, one was almost like a museum with it's vintage memorabilia, is no longer there. We went looking for it, didn't see it, then finally realized it was replaced by a candy shop.
On the way out, we stopped by one more shop, one that had a ton of old wax at reasonable junk prices. Fifty cents for packs of 1988 and 1992 Donruss, and 1990-1992 Upper Deck. They also had 1984 Topps packs, for three bucks. I couldn't pass any of them up. I grabbed one of each, along with another 2010 Series 2.

I haven't opened any of them yet, but I will soon. I'm most curious about the 1984 Topps. I've never opened one of those. I started collecting in 1987. But I will, of course, be looking for Dawsons, and players that would be or were in the CMC set. I will report back on my findings later.

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