My Collecting Story: Ghosts of Phestivals Past

The 2012 Phillies Phestival is taking place tomorrow night, July 26th, at Citizens Bank Park.  Over the years the event has become an annual date between me and my favorite Phillies.  For me, it's a reason to get out to the stadium, a nice way to collect some autographs, or see the projects others are working on.

Players have come and gone, and looking back over the past 15-20 years, there have been several great successes for my collection.  Thought I would take a few minutes to share some of my more memorable experiences from the "Citizens Bank Park Years":

Chase Utley - 2010

Item signed: 2008 and 2009 World Series team baseballs
Comments: These were "cash line" successes.  I waited about a half-hour without a ticket for his booth, hoping to have the opportunity to buy it for $10.  I got lucky, eeking in as one of the last fans through his line that night.  You cannot have either of those team balls without Utley, and cannot beat the $20 price tag.

Chase Utley autograph
2009 World Series team ball

Jayson Werth - 2007

Item signed: 2007 team baseball
Comments: Werth was fairly new to the team, and honestly with him and Wes Helms together I considered skipping his booth all together.  Between the two players was a huge bag of popcorn that JW was digging into before signing each item, barely acknowledging the fans "lucky enough" to have his booth.  Both he and Helms signed my ball and as we walked away my wife said, "That guy is really gross." Not sure which one she was talking about, never asked...

I think that spot is from their popcorn butter...

2007 Phillies Team Signed Ball

Cory Lidle - 2006

Item signed: 2006 team baseball
Comments: This interaction didn't mean much to me at the time, but it was something I kept thinking back to a couple months later after his sudden death.  Lidle had been with the Phillies the previous year, and was a nice part of the team - definitely worth having on my team ball, but not someone I would have gone out of my way to get.  His booth was coupled with Charlie Manuel and the two of them took a minute to comment on the other guys who had signed the ball so far.  Great example of a personal interaction sticking with you for years.

2006 Phillies Team Signed Ball

Cliff Lee - 2011
Item signed: 2009 World Series team baseball, 2009 World Series print and SS ROMLB
Comments: Like many Phillies fans, Cliff Lee won me over with his performance in 2009, and going into last year's event, he was tops on my want list.

I was waiting in the Brad Lidge "cash line" when I noticed Lee had already zipped through the people waiting with tickets and they were now emptying HIS cash line. I jumped lines and for $30 was able to get a couple nice pieces related to the 2009 World Series signed.

Cliff Lee - SS ROMLB

If you are on Twitter and going to the Phestival, or want to follow the action - there is a list where user tweets can be monitored: Phillies Phestival List