But on this particular day, curiosity lay waste to the kitten and I perused the listing of autographed ROMLB's that all began with a $19.99 starting bid. I quickly found three that I liked and, at $10 combined shipping for all three balls, I figured "why not?"
I put in a minimum bid for all three and went back to enjoying some quality time with the family.
In the end - it would be a young Braves hurler, a dapper HOF pitcher/commentator and one of the greatest baseball personalities to ever grace the diamond that rounded out what may have been one of the finest memorabilia "hat tricks" in some time.
Nobody else wanted these three items? With the price of a ROMLB off the shelf weighing in at $15-$18.....I feel like I got a pretty good deal. Yes, they came with a COA from a very reputable, high volume dealer. No, it definitely isn't PSA/DNA - but I was willing to roll the proverbial dice.
The first two I will save for a later date - but in light of Mr. Leyland's recent retirement from management of the Detroit Tigers, I figured this would be a great time to share. I have no love for the Tigers....or for the Fish....or the Pirates....or the Rockies. But I can vividly recall the excitement of Mr. Leyland when his Marlins pulled off their miracle season and his unfiltered dismay with Marlins management after they liquidated the team that winter. I also recall the matter-of-fact interviews with him after Sid Bream's slide allowed the Braves to edge out Leyland's Bucs in the '91 LCS.
Then, there's just Jim Leyland - the dude.
I don't recommend anybody light up some tobacco, even though I myself enjoy a fine cigar and recently have even tried my hand at a pipe (tobacco, chuckleheads :)....but I always got a kick out of pictures of Leyland enjoying a smoke in the dugout. Marlboro Reds, if I recall correctly. It's a call-back to a simpler time, when everything wasn't so....sterilized for our consumption. And I'm a big fan of that.
He was, and is, old school baseball management at its finest, in my humble opinion - even when that management bested my beloved Yanks over the past few years. He respected the game and its players. It was a very touching moment to witness his exchange with Mariano Rivera this past season, as Mo was saying his goodbyes. Leyland pretty much teared up as he described their conversation!
I was very happy to add his autograph to my collection. No, I was elated. I wonder if he'll join the Hall of Fame one day? I suspect he probably will - what do you think?
Either way, he's part of what I love about this game. Thank you for the memories, Mr. Leyland - enjoy your retirement!