One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2010 was to be more selective about who and how often I graphed. Now a married man, I wanted to reduce the amount of time I committed to the hobby and spend more of it with my wife. We were also running low on storage space and I knew the backlash I’d receive if I attempted to annex the top shelf of our bedroom closet to stash a few more stacks of 8x10s.
Now almost a year later, I look back and can confidently say one thing. I failed tremendously.
Although I didn’t keep my resolution, the year was filled with many autograph-related successes (not the least of which was opening the doors to Autograph University). Before we make (or break) another New Year’s promise, I’d like to share my top ten autographs of 2010.
10. Rickie Fowler
On September 4 I attended my first professional golf tournament, the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass. After turning in their scorecards, a handful of golfers stopped to sign autographs for fans. Not one spent more time than Rickie Fowler. Two days later, the 22-year old Fowler would be named to the U.S. Ryder Cup squad.
9. Fergie and Josh Duhamel
I traveled to Toronto on June 6 to attend a conference and found myself eating dinner at Sunda, a restaurant featuring “new Asian” cuisine recommended by a colleague. While waiting for my sea bass a barkeep asked me if I had noticed Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas sitting a few tables behind me with her husband, actor Josh Duhamel. I had not. I shoveled down my seafood (not a fantastic idea, in retrospect) and parked myself by the valet stand out front to await their exit.
A midday tweet tipped me off about Luda’s bottle signing tour stop in a Boston neighborhood on October 26. I dropped everything, hailed a cab and made my way to the local liquor store at which he was appearing. The hard part was not getting this tough-signer’s graph, but figuring out how to get back. Read my previous post about acquiring the autographed alcohol.
7. Ray Bourque
While I’m not much of a puckhead, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet a Boston sports legend. Mr. Bourque couldn’t have been nicer as he signed an 8×10 and took a picture with me at the Strike A Pose For Journey Forward charity bowling event in Dedham, Mass. on September 28.
6. Shaquille O’Neal
On and off the court, Shaq has already made a big impact in Boston. For several years I’ve carried around an 8×10 of a picture I took with him, and finally got it signed behind the Toys ‘R Us store in Framingham where he participated in a Toys For Tots event on November 14.
5. Charles Barkley
On an off night during the NBA Finals, Charles Barkley spent a night partying at the Eagles/Dixie Chicks concert at Gillette Stadium on June 12. Barkley returned in a good—no, great—mood and signed for us before retiring to the hotel’s rum bar.
4. Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz
A few years ago, while waiting outside a hotel with several graphers for a visiting baseball team, Josh Beckett walked past us. No one asked him for an autograph. We all knew what the response would be. That experience and a one-on-one denial at his charity bowling event a year later made it even more shocking when he signed outside the Pitching In For Kids poker tournament in Boston on June 8.
3. Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner and Chuck Hogan
The Beantown premiere of The Town brought a swarm of college girls and autograph collectors to Fenway Park on September 14. And while film activity in Boston has been hot as of late, my luck with actors has been ice cold for some time. Graphing Affleck and Renner was one of the highlights of the year. Then, it was all taken away…
Read my previous post on the Boston premiere of “The Town” including a video of security stealing my autographed photo.
2. Kobe Bryant
One of the worst-signing teams in the NBA, the Lakers were in town on January 30 to face the Celtics the following day. After being denied by nearly the entire team at the hotel, I took off on foot and beat the bus to the practice facility. Nearly five minutes after his teammates disembarked, Kobe stepped off and—with a huff—signed for us. Maybe his patience ran and he just wanted to get rid of us. Well, it worked.
1. Magic Johnson
The NBA legend was tapped as the keynote speaker for an awards gala hosted by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council on April 24. After exiting his limo outside the Fairmont Copley hotel, he immediately ordered collectors into a single-file line and signed one per. Subsequent trips to Boston in 2010 saw a much less accommodating Magic.
What were your top autographs of 2010? Have an autograph-related resolution for 2011? Leave a comment below.