This is at least the third example of a fellow blogger facilitating a communication between me and one of my Dodger favorites of the past.
A few weeks ago, Kenny ZZ contacted me and wondered whether I had some Pedro Guerrero doubles to spare. Guerrero, the former Dodgers all-star and World Series MVP, would be making an appearance nearby and ZZ wanted to get some card scribbles from my favorite player from my high school days.
Almost as thrilled that I could provide some extra Dodgers cards for someone as I was excited about the chance for getting an IP Guerrero card, I dashed to the giant box of Dodger dupes and pulled as many Petey cards as I could and sent them off.
A few weeks later, Kenny posted pictures of Guerrero signing my cards on Twitter, and on his blog, and then he sent one of those signed cards off to me. There were some hairy moments as the package -- which also included a couple extra binders -- was briefly delayed in Rochester. But the box arrived safely yesterday and I can produce that magical card for you now.
Ain't that something?
That's not just Guerrero's signature. It's a hand-printed message to me and my blog!
That's why this is the third example of this kind of connection between a favorite player and little ol' night owl.
And Guerrero makes three.
I am glad that I found the extra 1986 Topps glossy card of Guerrero to send as Guerrero was able to fit the entire message and his signature on to the card. At Kenny's request, I pointed specifically to cards that would work best for my autograph from Guerrero (as well as any other autographs he received from Guerrero).
At the top of my list was the '86 glossy (no longer glossy thanks to the passage of time), the '83 Topps card (just a fantastic picture) and the '85 Topps card (when Guerrero was at his height). But I sent a bunch of other Guerrero cards, some of which Kenny got signed and others that he gave back to Guerrero. It's too cool that Guerrero now owns some of my dupes of him, although I wonder what he does with them.
Kenny also sent evidence of Guerrero signing my card:
There he is just starting the inscription with some disembodied helping hands. In the stack of cards on the left, I see an '86 Topps, some Donruss Action All-Stars from 1984 and 1985, a Dodgers police card, and some Cardinals thing (boo!).
Here Pedro has finished the inscription and is beginning his signature. The yellow post-it note next to the card is the request by Kenny on how to sign the card.
Finally, Guerrero in action signing his name. There goes my hero. (Please note his World Series ring).
I do have other Guerrero autograph cards, certified signatures.
But I was quite happy to see this, not only because Guerrero is one of my all-time favorites, but because he suffered a stroke less than three years ago that left him in a coma for a day or two.
Before that health scare, Guerrero was active on Twitter and I communicated with him a couple of times, most memorably here. (Language warning).
Guerrero's had his problems in life -- drug issues, major league teams ignoring his coaching wishes -- and I always wanted more for him. As blessed as he was as a hitter, he struggled fielding and on the bases. Then, just before the Dodgers would win a World Series in 1988, he was sent to the Cardinals for John Tudor.
Fortunately, that reinvigorated his career and he already had that World Series ring anyway, when he stunned the Yankees with a five-RBI game in the deciding Game 6 of the 1981 World Series. Fans had barely heard of him at that point, which is why I treasured his 1981 Topps card so much, as well as the 1979 Rookie Prospects card (which is also in the stack of cards next to Guerrero).
It's good to see him back and out-and-about, interacting with fans.
Although I've had my favorite ballplayers over time, I don't really hero-worship. Even as a kid, I made sure not to go overboard in appreciating a specific player. It's probably why I look a bit oddly at player-collecting as an adult.
But this is cool. And not just because of Guerrero signing. As Dave Grohl once sang, there are ordinary heroes, too: those who go out of their way to do something nice for someone just for the hell of it.