Editors Note: Another guest post by my brother, Jim
Projects in the collecting world are exciting to complete. You spend long amounts of time looking for particular players to come to different shows so you can complete the ultimate project. You most likely spend more then the item is worth overall but the journey is worth it when complete. This is the story of the 14 year journey to complete my 1999 All-Star Phan Photo.
It began in 2000 when the Phillies were on their annual Winter Caravan - appearing at various malls in the area to promote the upcoming season. This particular Winter had Mike Lieberthal, Paul Byrd and Curt Schilling all at King of Prussia Mall. I looked over my items in my collection and noticed I had the perfect picture to bring that day. My mother was driving us to the mall, but somehow she got confused on which mall was King of Prussia and went the wrong direction at first. When we finally arrived the line was so long the workers at the event told us we were not guaranteed to get autographs but we were more then welcome to wait. Counting the people in front of us we were only 15 people behind the imaginary line so we waited. We waited 2 hours and the imaginary line became real. The Phillies were nice enough to give us team photos with signatures from these players but my photo went unsigned.
I put the photo back into my collection and forgot about it as Schilling and Byrd left the team shortly after. Then in 2010 during the Phillies alumni weekend I noticed Mike Lieberthal was going to be signing at the Majestic Clubhouse. I had already gotten Lieberthal on other items previous to 2000 and decided I would attempt to resurrect my goal of getting the photo signed once again. So I took it that day and was able to get my first autograph on the photo. Now only two to go.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do next but then luck came on my side. Paul Byrd had written a book called Free Byrd: The Power of a Liberated Life in 2011. I grabbed myself a copy and noticed he was signing copies through his website. So I took the opportunity to send the book and the photo to him. I knew there was a chance I would not receive either item back but I figured if the photo was lost I hadn't spent any money yet and it was just not meant to be. Month upon month past and I wrote it off. But then in the winter of 2013-14 I received a package in the mail. I wasn't exactly sure what it was at first but as I began to open it I realized it was the photo being returned. It was over two and half years later but it was returned signed. Now I was down to one...
While the photo was "lost" for those years, Curt Schilling returned to Philly to do a card show and get inducted on the Phillies Wall of Fame. I was able to get Schilling on other projects but I always wished I had the photo back in hand. Well this past Spring, Under the Radar Productions had a private signing for Schilling. I had never done a private signing before through the mail but I figured it had to be safer then sending it through the mail. So I sent the photo away and two weeks later I received the photo back.
It was now complete! This project that started that winter in 2000 was finally finished in 2015. I no longer will hold that grudge on my mother for driving to the wrong place at first; only kidding there was not grudge...