Thursday, July 14, 2016

1996 Topps Lou Whitaker

I kind of got to know Lou Whitaker while living in Lakeland, Florida in the '90's. I saw him play a few times in Spring Training during his career, and in 1998, I was being home-schooled and had just bought a box of '95 Topps from K-Mart I believe. 
Every 2nd Thursday, my mom would drive me to Orlando for a science class that was taught by one of the heads of the home-school organization we had to register with in order to have our records considered legit. Looking back, I would never want to home-school my kid (my first is due in late-November!). Home-schooling robbed me of socialization, my schoolwork was never policed too heavily and I think my mom just gave me A's in some subjects so I could pass. The science class I went to did help fill in some gaps though. 
Before we left for the class one day, we stopped at a gas station and I got a Surge and a bag of chips. While waiting in line, a gentleman was talking with another person about Alan Trammell like he knew him. I asked how he knew Mr. Trammell and he responded that he played 2nd Base next to him for 2 decades, and I was like "You're Lou Whitaker!!!"  I would always take one of my binders on trips that would be an hour or more, and I happened to bring my '95 Topps binder which had 2 Whitaker cards in it (base version and Cyberstats parallel). I told Lou I had 2 of his cards in the car and asked if he would autograph them. He told me he had a new sharpie in his office and to give him our address and he would come back and sign them. 6 hours later, he showed up at my door with the sharpie and a few copies of 'The Watchtower' (he is a Jehovah's Witness). He signed my cards and took a picture with me. 
He came back to my door a few other times with Jehovah's Witness stuff, and one of the last times I went to a Spring Training game in Lakeland (2010 I think), he recognized me from back then. He kind of got a bad/strange rap from the in-person/ttm autograph community, but I always thought he was ok from my experience with him.
Topps' last Whitaker card was the '95 card. His 1996 card is the only one missing to give him a complete Topps run from the '78 set to the '96 set (Lou played from 1977-1995).
I'm hoping to try to print out some customs in the next week so maybe next Saturday I will post about how that went. Thanks for checking out my latest card.

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