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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Autograph Report

Due to the increasingly lighter crowds, we were able to meet plenty of current players, minor leaguers and Cubs alumni over the weekend.  On the program above are the signatures of Wesley Wright, Eric Hinske, Les Lancaster, Brooks Raley, Ron Coomer, Steve Trout, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Arodys Vizcaino, Jim Bullinger, Tim Stoddard, Chris Rusin and Pedro Strop.

Friday Night Autograph Hunt Game

For the autograph hunt game, we lined up at Stage E on the lower level before the Opening Ceremonies ended.  After having drawn Steve Trout first for the past two years, we were pleased when super prospect Albert Almora took the stage.  He said he is 100% healthy and looking forward to getting the 2014 season started.  He signed this card for me and threw horns but the camera took too long to flash and all I got was the photo below.  At least he looks happy.

Javier Baez and Jorge Soler were at the other stages but by the time we met Almora, the lines looked too long to be promising.  

We found Arodys Vizcaino in the hallway and he signed my program.  Tim Stoddard was also in the hallway and signed my program and this card, one he had never seen before:

Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley were signing at the Comcast booth; however, no one knew who they were. Perhaps embarrassingly for them, I had to ask who they were when I got to the front of the line.  Raley was very personable and told me that he used to collect Starting Lineup figures when he was a kid.  

Comcast's Kelly Crull was signing autographs too and posed for this photo:

We then headed up to the ballroom level and found Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch signing on the concourse.  Jokisch quickly found Tim Stoddard's autograph on the program and commended Stoddard as his coach at Northwestern.  Both signed my program.

Hendricks (L) and Jokisch (R)
We then found Les Lancaster and Jim Bullinger at a table in the kids play area.  Lancaster had little to say but Bullinger was glad to be back at the Convention for the first time since his playing days ended.

I was just about to get in line for Bill Madlock and Blake Parker; however, the security guard cut the line off and I just missed out.  

Overall, it was a great autograph hunt evening.

We retired to the lobby bar for a few drinks and to watch the rest of the Hawks game.  (A big win over the Ducks.)  Bobby Dernier came and sat next to us for a while.  He was very personable and signed this photo for me:


We got to meet Ron Coomer, former Cub and the new radio color man for the team.  He was super friendly and took the time to shake everyone's hand.  I learned he is a drinking man and although he is an Irish lad, he prefers a light beer to a Guinness.

Next, we met James Russell.

We headed downstairs and got in line for Mike Remlinger who can't believe that it has already been over 10 years since the magical, yet ultimately disappointing, 2003 season.

We were also able to meet new bullpen addition Wesley Wright, who signed the program and Justin Grimm, who bears an uncanny resemblance to playoff-bearded Brent Seabrook but, interestingly, had never heard of him.  Hmm.

Justin Grimm or Brent Seabrook?

We found Blake Parker just walking around:

 I sneezed just as I met Welington Castillo so he specially inscribed the photo for me.

Pretty good Saturday...


We were able to wrap up the weekend with a few more autographs on Sunday, starting with Milt Pappas.  I asked Milt what he did wrong to draw the early slot on Sunday morning and he did not say anything or even look at me.

Next was Pedro Strop, who did not enjoy the cold weather compared to his home in the Dominican Republic.

We then met Dwight Smith, whose dream duet would be with Beyonce. 

Fergie Jenkins has a booth at the Convention and will sign autographs in exchange for a $20 donation to his charity.  There was no one waiting and I figured it would be a great opportunity to get a card signed for a good cause.  Born and raised in Canada, Jenkins was very personable but, shockingly, was not a Rush fan, although he did like Adam Levine from "Maroon."  When I said, "Oh, Maroon 5?" he replied, "Yeah, Maroon."  

Rollie Fingers and Gaylord Perry in the upper left hand corner

We met new first base coach Eric Hinske at the batting cages.  He does not miss playing yet and is looking forward to his transition to coaching this season.  "Playing baseball is hard work." - Eric Hinske

And no Cubs Convention would be complete without seeing Steve Trout and Tim Stoddard again. 

Trout (L) and Stoddard (R)

Until next year...

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