While a lot of my Ebay purchases lately have been going toward my 2011-12 Dominion collection, every now and then, I find a card that I just HAVE to have.
I came across a card from 2011-12 Panini Prime that featured on-card autographs of two of my favorite all-time players and one of the greatest father/son combinations in sports history, Bobby Hull and Bret Hull. The card is numbered 5/25, and although Brett is featured in his Red Wings sweater instead of the Blues, I think it works well for them both to be wearing red. It kind of coordinates, even though they are from different teams.
During the late '90s when my favorite player at the time, Mario Lemieux, had retired, I became a big Brett Hull fan. I still kept my team allegiances with Pittsburgh, but could never fully get on the Jaromir Jagr bandwagon. I was definitely a Hull guy, and living in Texas at the time, it was pretty awesome to see him help bring the Lone Star State its first (and only) Stanley Cup in 1999.
While this is my first autograph of Brett Hull, it isn't my first of Bobby, not only did I pick up another auto of his a few weeks ago, I also have a jersey that I got signed by him in person.
As it turns out, in the mid '90s, I already had a Hull jersey that I was wearing on a fairly regular basis, so when he came as a guest at one of Tri-Star's annual sports collectors shows in Houston, I saw my chance to get it signed and add a really cool item to my collection. Since I was too young to drive at the time, my dad took me, and told me all about Hull and other Blackhawks like Stan Mikita, Keith Magnuson, and Tony Esposito, and how they never seemed to be able to beat "those damn Canadiens" in the finals, and told me that when I get up there, to tell Hull how it broke his heart that they always kept losing to the Canadiens in the Cup finals.
So, I get in line and get closer to the front, and realize that this is one big dude. Big guy, big booming voice, and I'm just a 15-year-old kid. My turn comes up next, I say hi, shake hand him the jersey, and since I'm not sure if he understands the importance of symmetry in autograph placement, and what collector's like myself look for, I ask him if he can sign his name on the middle bar of the "9," he doesn't say anything, and begins to sign his name on the TOP of the "9." I'm a little disappointed that I won't get my jersey signed quite the way I want it, but THEN, he goes to the middle of the number and inscribes his nickname, "The Golden Jet." AWESOME! It turned out even better than I thought it would.
I had just a few seconds, so I shake his GIGANTIC hand, thank him for his time, and then tell him, "My dad grew up a huge Blackhawks fan, and it broke his heart how you could never beat those Canadiens." Then Hull, who looks like the kind of guy who would have no problem punching a kid, let out a laugh, shook his head, and said, "Aw, don't remind me, kid." He then thanked me for coming, and I went on my way.
Not only do I have a great piece at the center of my hockey collection, but even more, I have a cool story to go with it.