Speaking of major-league rarities (an allustion to my previous blog), old-time hobbyists did a bit of a double-take on Friday at the show with the appearance of Kit Young, a hobby pioneer who doesn’t typically travel to Chicago for the Sun-Times Show, or even many others, aside from the National Convention. The legendary figure was finishing up several weeks of a buying trip that began at his San Diego headquarters, and he penciled in Sun-Times to take part in a 70th birthday bash for another well-known name, Dick DeCourcy.
You know you���re something of an old coot when someone called “Cat” Osterman charges more for an autographed 8-by-10 than “Doc” Gooden. That’s no dig at Ms. Osterman, merely an observation about my favorite player in the 1980s and 1990s.
Osterman was signing autographs at the Sun-Times Show last weekend, along with another 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Jennie Finch (shown here). I got a kick out of seeing all the unbridled enthusiasm for both players, including spotting a young girl dressed in a softball uniform while Dad carted around a giant Jennie Finch framed poster. We’ve apparently come a long ways, Baby, since the 1970s when I remember covering girls high school basketball as a reporter and I was subjected to what seemed like a constant rugby scrum at mid-court, with very little in the way of offense at either basket.
Jeez, Doc Gooden was headed to the Hall of Fame right alongside Roger Clemens, who, ironically, as a University of Texas alumnus was an Osterman favorite. While I should applaud the fact that both Doc and Cat were affordable autographs ($25 and $29, respectively), I still can’t get over the nagging realization that he’ll have to pay to get into Cooperstown just like the rest of us.
For much of Gooden’s career, I constantly put his numbers side-by-side with Roger’s as a means of clinging to my goal of Doc’s eventual enshrinement. Obviously, in the second half of his career, that parlor game lost a good deal of its utility, until finally it wasn’t a rational undertaking at all. I guess it would be even more ironic if somehow Clemens’ bid for immortality gets sidetracked, obviously for at least technically different reasons than Dwight’s.