Here are some things that I observed or that popped into my head while roaming The National.
1. When I saw Bobby Douglas in the photo booth, thinking it was Jack Clark, I thought, wow Jack Clark looks plenty different but he has definitely kept himself in shape. Then the real Jack Clark showed up. (Actually, Clark looks pretty good - just the weight gain that plagues most of us with age - 'cept for Bobby Douglas. Oh, and 'cept for Phil Fosbury.)
2. Jack Clark asked me if I wanted him to sign the card with "The Ripper." "If you'd like," I said. He did.
3. I feel like a goof asking grown men for autographs but I nevertheless have wanted to use a few of my free auto passes. It's actually been kind of fun adding a few card autos.
4. I don't believe I'll ever pay for an autograph but I admit that with various members of my lifelong favorite football team signing in front of me as I waited in the free Jack Clark line, I had a tinge of regret about not paying up for some of their autos - Ham, Stallworth, Blount and Shell today.
5. "That Pujols is pretty good," odd guy watching Jack Clark in the photo booth. "Yeah, he's all right," Clark joked.
"What about A-Rod? He's in some trouble now, huh?" odd guy. *Crickets*
Seriously, what a weird thing to shout out to Jack Clark.
6. Jack Ham slightly resembles Gary Busey. Ham also left his sunglasses on the entire time I saw him.
7. Jack Clark's lady friend was the talk a few sickos in the autograph line.
8. I have yet to find cards of Princesses, Mermaids or Fairies. This was my daughter's lone request. The hunt continues.
9. An awful lot of collectors out there fit nicely into the stereotype that my wife has of collectors.
10. Topps hosted a Meet-and-Greet for collectors at 4 today - complete with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken fingers and drinks (alcohol even). I got an invite yesterday when I stopped by the booth. They talked to us for roughly 90 minutes all about their products and why they do things the way they do. Unfortunately, due to another matter I had going on during this time, I missed all but the beginning and last 20 minutes, so my plans to give a full report fell through. Hopefully someone else who blogs was in the room to provide some info.
Throughout, they gave away many prizes - boxes of various products combined with T-shirts, etc. I'm trying to assure myself that my name wasn't called during my time away.
11. One dude won a prize but it was the one prize that didn't include a box of product. He won a couple of T-shirts only. He openly complained about getting the worst prize.
12. I checked 41 '76 base Topps from my list of roughly 100. They're in good shape. Paid $8 for them.
13. As I was getting ready to leave for the day, stopped at one last booth and found the gentlemen selling the full '76 Traded set. I only have a handful of them so I bought the whole lot for $4. They're in great shape! I'm well on my way to finishing my first set and, as I've written about before, this one means a lot to me.
14. I have been ducking out plenty to handle work-related issues, which totally stinks - but tomorrow it will be full attention to the show. I'd like to get at least two more autographs from my free list but I'm determined not to spend too much time in lines. My choices are Leon Durham, Paul Reuschel, Rick Reuschel and Buddy Bell. For me, Bell is a no-brainer.
I've already gotten my three balls (ahem, the three baseballs I brought from home) signed. Since any of these guys will only sign one thing, I'll probably skip buying another ball and go with a card. Am I crazy for thinking this way if I have an opportunity to get a ball signed?
That's it for now.