Cherry-Picking The 30-Day Challenge: “A Card Bought In Person And The Story Behind It”

Several weeks ago, Tony over at Off-Hiatus Baseball cards came up with a 30-day baseball card challenge, and a lot of bloggers have been joining in. I’m not going to do all 30, but I’ll definitely cherry-pick some topics… like today’s:

Day #7: A card you bought in person and the story behind it.

This story goes back to 1991 – I was 25 years old at the time – and involves this autographed hockey card.
1990-91 Topps Derek King Autographed
I was at a card show on Long Island and Derek King, who was a New York Islander at the time, was the show’s autograph guest.  More importantly for someone like me who isn’t much of an autograph collector and doesn’t like the Islanders, he was the FREE autograph guest.

I thought it would be nice to have his signature on something other than an index card, but at that point it had been 5 years or so since I’d actively collected hockey.  I looked around the show and didn’t find any cards I was willing to pay the inflated prices for, but one dealer was selling packs of that year’s Topps hockey cards.  I bought three packs and started to open the packs while chatting with the dealer about how I was hoping to pull a Derek King so I could get it signed.  Much to my delight, I pulled the card above out of the second pack, and even though it was a common, it was still one of the more exciting pulls I’d had out of a hockey pack in a long time.

With card in hand, went and got in line to get Derek King’s autograph… and the experience made me grateful that I hadn’t paid anything for the sig.  Without looking up or saying anything, he took my card, signed it, and slid it back across the table to me.  I thanked him, turned away, rolled my eyes and went back to the show.

I realize autograph guests are not obligated to interact with the collectors, but this always stuck with me because getting the item to be autographed was far more exciting than actually getting it autographed.

Has anybody else had any encounters with Derek King?  I’ve always wondered if he was having a bad day, or if he was generally unpleasant.