Today we check in with Tom, a collector of New York Yankees game-used bats! Let’s check out his responses to the “5 and 5” questions!
5 Questions On Your Collection
1. What do you collect?
I collect lots of things: baseball cards, casino chips, hundred year old dollar bills, old bottles. Basically I’ve always been a collector ever since I was a kid. Right now a big part of my collection is game used baseball bats. I’m a Yankees fan and I’m collecting bats of Yankee players from their amazing World Series winning team from 1998.
2. Why do you collect this?
That Yankee team has connected me so many times with other people. I was down on baseball after the strike in 1994. I had gone to games all the time, but after the strike I stopped. I didn’t come back to baseball until the Yankees World Series win in 1996, but I didn’t get back to a game until 1998. That year I forged a friendship with an older guy named Lou that grew up in Brooklyn back when the Dodgers were there. He told me stories about growing up in NY when Joe DiMaggio was the toast of the city and even though Lou lived in Brooklyn, he was a fan of the Yankee Clipper. It was that friendship that made me realize that baseball was about connecting with other people as much as it is a sport.
Flash forward to the 2010 National Sports Card Convention in Baltimore and I’m walking the floor with my great friend Ted. We come across a dealer with a Bernie Williams bat. I always wanted a game used bat, so Ted bargained with the dealer and I had an awesome bat. The next thing I know I’m collecting the entire 1998 Yankees team, and every time I get a new bat I share it with Ted.
I like to think that the 1998 Yankees, while a great team, have played a part in my life in connecting with some friends over the years and I’ve come to realize the power of sports in that way. Just last night I spent an hour showing my bat collection to my friend Eric. We became friends at age 6. He moved to San Diego about 20 years ago, but we’ve always been in touch. Last night was his first visit to my place, and he took each bat I have and gave it a swing and we had a great time just bullshitting.
3. Is it displayed?
Right now display is not the right word. They are standing up in a corner in my bedroom, but Eric lined them all up last night in an impromptu display.
4. Do you have a “Holy Grail” or “White Whale?”
For my bat collection it’s hard to say White Whale, since these bats are so modern, but right now I would love to find a Mariano Rivera gamer. He’s the best relief pitcher in the history of the game and seems like such a great humble guy. Since pitchers hit so little, finding a gamer of Mariano seems like a White Whale.
5. Any great stories or experiences as you’ve collected this?
When I take a look back, I realize more great stories are coming. That’s one of the awesome things about collecting.
5 Questions On Collecting
1. How do you acquire your material? Auctions? Trades? Dealers? Shows?
I acquire my bats through auctions and private sales with collectors and dealers.
2. Do you have any collecting philosophies? Strategies?
My strategy is to acquire bats that I know I will enjoy. I know I like to pick up a bat and swing it, so if it is cracked to the point where I can’t swing it, I skip it. So I always ask the question. Bats are so personalized by the players that I never know what I’ll find, so I keep an open mind. Finally, if I’m going to buy something that is more than a couple of hundred bucks, I try to make sure I know the source, just so I’m comfortable with my purchase.
3. What’s your favorite/least favorite part of collecting?
My favorite part is sharing my collection with someone that really enjoys it like I do. My least favorite part is hearing about people taking advantage of collectors by selling fake stuff.
4. Did you collect anything as a child?
I collected coins and baseball cards (really all kinds of cards) and I still have them today. Along with that, I’ve saved pretty much every ticket stub for sports events, concerts, and plays since my dad took me to my first big league baseball game when I was 9.
5. Any advice on collecting?
Try not to spend more money than you can afford. I’ve found as much fun collecting things that are free as things that cost lots of money.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Thanks, Tom! Really a great collection. I think it’s a great idea to collect something associated with a great memory. As an Angels fan, I once put together a signed ball from every player/coach on the 2002 World Series Champion team! It’s a lot of fun!