If it wasn’t obvious enough to you in my Rawlings puts the Ball in Baseball article last month, I am an absolute baseball nut; not just about the game of baseball, but about the actual baseballs themselves. I love their appearance, I love their feel, I love their smell… oh I love their smell. I love everything about them – period.
Holding a Rawlings Official Major League Baseball (ROMLB) in your hand is like holding the very history of our great country in your hand. It’s like holding the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution, or America itself in your hand. It represents everything that is good about America… right there… wrapped with 108 perfectly sewn stitches. I mean everybody remembers that old “Baseball, Hot Hogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” commercial jingle, right?
My passion within my passion for ROMLBs is, of course, getting them autographed by current and former players – especially current and former Dodgers. I don’t get them autographed to sell them on eBay or anywhere else, I get them autographed for my own personal collection and for my love of the game. I get them autographed because I thrive on the very challenge and pursuit (and adrenalin rush) of getting them autographed – and I do so without even the slightest hint of embarrassment because, unlike anything else in life, it absolutely brings out the little boy in me – and probably will until the day I die.
Those of you who frequent the ThinkBlueLA.com forums know that I frequently post photographs on my latest “Gets” (as I affectionately call them) on “The Collectors Corner” forum, as do several other memorabilia and baseball card collectors. This particular forum allows collectors to show off some of their most treasured items with the many other collectors out there – even “closet collectors” who, for some silly reason, are embarrassed about something that is so very natural – passion.
While doing research for the Rawlings Baseball story (which was an absolute labor of love), I found a number of discrepancies in the material I uncovered. As strange as it may seem, there was far less information about the actual balls used in Major League baseball than you would think. It was as though I were researching national security stuff. Much of what I found I was unable to corroborate from multiple sources. I am uncomfortable and usually reluctant to include stuff like this in my articles but did so in the baseball article not only because it was (in my opinion) essential and relevant, but because it was extremely interesting (well, to me, at least) and in most cases the information just plain made sense. You would think that there would be boatloads of information on the history of something as important as the item used in our national pastime, but there simply is not.
After acquiring as much information as I could find on the history of baseballs and adding a few baseball photographs (most of which I shot myself from my own personal collection, as there are also very few quality baseball photographs out there), I ran with what I had and posted the article, even though I had been unable to corroborate some of the information.
Based on the comments to the article, it appeared that it was a big hit (no pun intended), especially the “mud” video part. I was also quite flattered to receive several emails praising my work which, again, was a pure labor of love.
Nearly a month after running the article and quite out of the blue, there was a belated comment to the article from a fellow blogger named Zach who administers a site called BigLeagueBaseballs.com. Zach pointed out a couple of minor discrepancies (and a bonehead typo), which I was able to immediately corroborate and correct. After doing so, I checked out Zach’s blog site and was absolutely amazed by it. I had clearly found someone who shares in my passion for baseballs and, more importantly, their rich history. Even though Zach is not big into collecting autographed baseballs, his collection is to die for. I was particularly impressed with his remarkable museum pages (go figure).
I encourage anyone desiring more information regarding the history of Major League baseballs to check out Zach’s site which, like ThinkBlueLA.com, also includes a forum.