After a very quiet February, the autograph show circuit picks up a bit in March with the White Plains sports card show as the major event.
If I lived a bit closer (and had some money that I could afford to spend), I’d love to go – there are some “fresh” autograph guests that haven’t done shows in the area recently, if at all, and I’ve heard good things about the card show aspect.
If money really was no object, I’d also take advantage of Joe Torre‘s appearance at the Steiner Sports store this week to obtain his autograph for my All-Time Mets collection.
Reality says that I should be happy to be able to buy the basic 2014 Topps Heritage Mets team set once the cards come out, but here’s the information on those upcoming events in case you’ve got more money available for discretionary spending than I do.
White Plains “March Madness Show”
JP’s Sports & Rock Solid Promotions will hold its bi-monthly sports card show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, N.Y. on March 21st-23rd. Admission is $8 per day, with kids under 12 admitted free.
Five members of the 1969 World Series Champion New York Mets team are scheduled to attend and sign autographs on Sunday, March 23rd: Ed Kranepool, Jerry Grote, Art Shamsky, Ron Taylor and Jim Gosger. Kranepool and Grote will cost $15 per signature; the others will cost $20 each.
Other notable guests for the weekend include future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera ($299), 1987 NL Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago ($25), 1978 NL Rookie of the Year Bob Horner (1 free autograph with paid admission Sunday), and 4-time AL All-Star Ruben Sierra (1 free autograph with paid admission Saturday)
Continuing to look at some of the signed baseball cards I added to my New York Mets autograph collection last year, today we have Frank Catalanotto and Choo-Choo Coleman.
Frank Catalanotto, a Long Island native who began his professional career in 1992 with the Detroit Tigers organization, spent parts of 14 seasons in the major leagues between 1997 and 2010. He appeared in 1,265 games and recorded 1,113 hits while playing for five different teams.
The Mets signed Catalanotto as a 36-year-old veteran just weeks before spring training began in 2010 with the hope that he could provide a veteran presence off the bench. It didn’t work out too well – Catalanotto went 4-for-25 working almost exclusively as a pinch hitter and was released before Memorial Day.
Because of his short time in New York, Catalanotto does not appear on any baseball cards as a New York Met. I bought my Signature Rookies Old Judge autographed insert card for $1 from a dealer at a local baseball card show.
Choo-Choo Coleman was an original Met, selected with the 28th pick in the 1961 expansion draft. He played in a handful of games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961, but the majority of Coleman’s major league experience came with the Mets, where he played from 1962-66.
Like many early Mets, Coleman was not an especially gifted ballplayer – his career batting average is .197 and he hit just nine home runs in 201 games. But he was a character. The most famous story is one recounted about an interview with Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner:
“What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?” Kiner asked. According to the story, Coleman replied, “Her name is Mrs. Coleman — and she likes me, bub.”
Coleman denied the story to New York Times writer George Vecsey last year, though Kiner stood by it.
I got my 1964 Topps baseball card signed through a private signing session last year.
Original Mets catcher Choo Choo Coleman returned to New York for the first time in decades this weekend to attend a pair of autograph signing events and he will be a guest at Tuesday’s Baseball Assistance Team dinner in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Nick Diunte caught up with Coleman for an interview, in which the 76-year-old former baseball player reveals the origin of his nickname, his baseball career and what he’s been up to since leaving the game. While this interview isn’t nearly as entertaining as Coleman’s oft-quoted responses to Ralph Kiner on an early “Kiner’s Korner,” they are far more enlightening.