I started following the Cubs that year for a few reasons. For one, my family moved around quite often due to my dad's job, so I was never really able to establish a home base. Two, the Cubs were really good that year, and won their division. And three, we had WGN, which meant if I was watching a game on TV, it was usually the Cubs.
Of course, I was only nine when I started following the game, so despite playing Little League, I really didn't understand the nuances of the game, but I knew Sandberg was the best player on the team, so that was good enough for me.
Fast forward 25 years later, and there really hasn't been anyone to take that title away from him. Sure, we had guys like Sammy Sosa, Derrek Lee, and Alfonso Soriano, but their stays in Chicago were temporary, and in Sosa's case, his reputation was temporary. Today, we have Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo who show potential, but who knows if they'll live up to that.
So, without anyone to take that crown away, Ryno is still my guy.
So, a few weeks ago, Sam from The Daily Dimwit sent me a text message to let me know that he had recently gotten his hands on a Sandberg ball, and wanted to see if I was interested. Apparently, he got one of those packs, or boxes, or whatever you call them that contain a mystery autographed baseball, and pulled a ball of my all-time favorite Cub.
So, after sending him some Paypal, and waiting a few days, I finally had an item for my colelction that I have been without for WAY too long:
There is a crisp, clear version of Sandberg's scribbled signature, which really stands out. Whatever pen they used seemed to work pretty well, too, as there is no fading or bleeding of the ink whatsoever. The ball is signed on the sweet spot, as most baseball autographs tend to be, and there's also an inscription that reads "84 NL MVP."
I also like that this is signed on an "official" MLB baseball, which works out well for signatures. Most cheaper balls have a certain degree of gloss to them, which can sometimes lead to the ink either bleeding through the leather, or across the surface. There's also the hologram, which matches up with the certificate of authenticity included in the box it came in.
The product it came from was 2012 Onyx AmerIcons, which is a baseball re-pack set. The only difference here than other re-packs, is that I think Onyx actually acquired the autographs themselves to be used in their various products, instead of purchasing their products on the secondary market.
Here's a look at the certificate of authenticity, which gives all of the fine print, and even has a photo of the player signing. It also gives the date that the ball was signed (Dec. 13, 2008), and informs that the ball's signing was witnessed by an Onyx representative. Apart from that, the certificate is hand-signed by the company president, and contains a matching hologram to the accompanying baseball.
There was also one peculiar thing I noticed when looking at the COA. As it turns out, on the COA (twice) and on the COA verification website (also twice) the name was misspelled as "RYAN" Sandberg. Oh well, at least if a mistake was made, at least it was on the COA, and not on the item itself.
Thanks for looking out for me, Sam!