Column: The bobblehead quest continues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2008

By Jon Laging, Talking Sports

A few years ago there were several columns about my wife and I striving for Minnesota Twins bobbleheads and the adventures that grew from what would seem a simple quest.

Not having riches to lay on our grandchildren I had tried to come up with something else Kay and I could leave them.

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We were in the antique and collectible business and the answer came to me.

Baseball memorabilia! Not only could they enjoy them from a fan&8217;s standpoint, but they probably would go up in value. I started requesting autographs from Hall of Famers and our own Twins. There was limited success with the Hall of Famers. Although I did get an autograph from Roy Campanella and learned that Cool Papa Bell was deceased. The returned envelope is in the collection.

My success ratio with the Twins was about the same. I got back about a third of my requests and most of those were rookies. Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones and Doug Mientkiewicz did send their autographs among others. Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire also responded. I was particularly glad to get Gardenhire&8217;s.

During the winter of &8216;98 we traveled to Red Wing to get an evaluation of a 18th century book we had found. On the way we stopped at a Twin&8217;s pro shop. They were featuring a Kirby Puckett autographed bat along with a season ticket for $100. (Probably the best baseball deal ever.) I looked at the bats, but decided we need the $100 worse than the Twins.

However, in looking around the shop I found Twins&8217; warmup jackets for $25.

You have to remember that the team was in the depths of futility. This was in the days when Ron Coomer represented them in the All-Star game. He was their best player. The Twins were not drawing people to the stadium or their pro shop. I looked at the jackets and decided they were a good buy. No matter whether they were Twins jackets or not, they were well made and certainly worth $25.

Sorting through the jackets, I came across Ron Gardenhire&8217;s. In the jackets that were left, his was the most recognizable name, being the third base coach. I bought it.

Gardy became manager a couple of years later and I had a major league manager&8217;s game worn jacket. (Now if he&8217;d only win a World Series.)

A very nice piece of memorabilia. If you think I was smart or lucky, I suppose so. It was luck that Gardy was promoted, but if I was so smart, why didn&8217;t I buy all of the major league jackets? In fact, if I had offered to buy them all, I probably could have gotten a deal.

So now I had Gardenhire&8217;s jacket and needed his autograph on the jacket.

I read that he was coming down to watch his son Toby play for the Rochester Honkers a few years ago.

I headed up to the Honkers game and sure enough there was Gardy signing autographs. I asked him to sign his old jacket and he did.

I now had Gardenhire&8217;s signed jacket and his autograph on a couple of articles I had written.

The Minnesota Twins announced a Ron Gardenhire bobblehead give-away May 4. We had not been to a bobblehead day for several years, but decided to make one last effort. Got up at 5:30 a.m. and were in line at 9:00 a.m. for a 1:00 We got our bobbleheads.

We made it up and back with no mishaps, the Twins won and we had two Gardenhire bobbleheads to go along with his other memorabilia for our grandchildren. A good day to be a Twins&8217; fan. Now, if we can just get Gardy&8217;s signature on the bobbleheads.