Former Dodgers Ron Cey, "Sweet" Lou Johnson and Maury Wills made an appearance Friday afternoon at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. The signing was the second of five Dodger's holiday mall tour where they bring out former and current Dodgers players to sign autographs, take photographs and most importantly, try to sell mini-plans and Dodgers season tickets to Dodgers fans. Luckily I am a die-hard Angels fan so I had no worries about being lured into buying any overpriced tickets!
After a long morning of Black Friday shopping I finally arrived at the mall around 9:00 am. I quickly met up with my friends Tyler and Scotty who had been waiting since 7:30. Since there were only three people behind them I figured it would be okay to hop in line with the two and wait together. Cey was scheduled to sign at 11:30, however he arrived early and started signing at 11. I was really hoping that Cey would do multiples since I had four things to get signed for me and my father, however Cey was clearly only doing one per person so I decided to go with my baseball. At first I was a bit worried that one of the Dodgers handlers would be there, these guys are absolutely terrible and will literally scream at kids if they ask for an inscription or ask for two things signed, luckily none of them showed up and there were only about two women watching just to make sure people weren't cutting or laying down like 10 items. Cey wasn't very talkative but signed my ROMLB on the sweetspot with the "1981 CO-WS MVP" inscription under it.
My dad was also able to get my infield photograph signed by Cey for me. I could pry have completed this project by now, but to be honest, I have been to lazy to do it so I'm hoping I can finish off Lopes and Russell fairly soon so I can get it out of my way.
Since Cey showed up 30 minutes early, it was still only 11:15 by the time I got my first set of things signed. The line only had about 75 people in it so me, Tyler, Scotty and my dad got back in line to try and get a second round of autographs. Cey signed fairly quick and we got back up to Cey around 11:45ish. You could tell he remembered us but he didn't say anything instead he just grabbed our items and signed them. Again it was one per person and I got a 8x10 Photofile photograph signed as well as my Dodgers World Series trophy photograph that my dad was able to get for me. I have seen people use this trophy photo before and try to get people form specific Dodgers World Series teams so I figured it would be cool to try and get members of the 1981 team since they tipically sign all over the place here in SoCal.
Both Tyler and Scotty still had stuff of Cey to get signed so they went back in line for a third time! My original intentions were to get my 4 items signed and be done with Cey, but since we would be waiting another 2 hours until the next person started signing, I figured I would join them and do something that I have always wanted to do. Many people have been getting all four members of the 1981 "Record Setting Infield" on one sweetspot baseball. I've seen many of them completed and they look really cool! So I decided to try for the heck of it to start it with Cey being the first to sign it. Once again you could tell Cey remembered us, but again he didn't say anything, including to the three other people in front of us that were doing the same thing as us. He seemed confused at first as I tried to explain that I wanted to do the whole record setting infield on one sweetspot but he realized what I was trying to say and signed it in the bottom-left corner of the sweetspot.
By the time we got through Cey for a third time, it was about 12:30. We asked one of the people running the event where the "Sweet" Lou line would be. She directed us right over by a set of benches where we set our stuff down and sat down for a while. The nice thing about the signing was that there wasn't any wristbands so we could do whatever we wanted to. Me and Tyler went over to a couple of sports shops on the mall and Scotty was playing the spin the wheel thing they had set up where you could win some pretty cool prizes including a Dodgers blanket and an Andre Ethier action figure. I ended up spinning it a few times and got a few cheap plastic cups, two key-chains that came with the cups, a dodgers lunch bag and a Dodgers power necklace for free. It wasn't really about the prizes, it was more about passing time.
Lou came in about 20 minutes late but was in great spirits as always. I was the first person he signed for and I got him on my 1965 World Series Champions photograph that was already signed by Maury Wills from a previous event. I asked Lou if I could get a photo with him and he told me later but he wanted to get through the autographs first. Sure enough later I went back when there was no more line and got a photograph. This ended up being probably my favorite moment ever with an athlete. He leaned over and put his face right next to mine and as he was about to take the photo, Lou made a really hilarious comment that I am not going to mention in public because honestly, it can be taken as racism on Lou's part and I don't want to offend anyone. If anyone really wants to hear what he said then just email me and I'll tell you. Anyways after literally five minutes of laughing, Tyler snapped a photo for me and we started to line up for Maury Wills where we were again first in line.
Maury was scheduled to start signing at 4. Around 3:30 I decided that I needed to go and pull another baseball out of the trunk of my car, so thinking that we would have plenty of time me and Tyler went back to the car. Around 3:40, 20 minutes before the signing, I got a cal from my dad saying that Maury showed up early and was signing! Tyler and I sprinted through the entire mall all the way to the promenade on the complete opposite side. Luckily the girls running the event knew we were there all day and that we ran back to the car to grab something. I grabbed out my baseball and went up to Maury, he was kind enough to sign my ROMLB on the sweetspot and include the "3x World Series Champ" inscription that I asked for. I noticed Maury was putting LA Dodgers on everything and then the inscription which in my opinion cramped the signature too much, so I also asked if he wouldn't mind leaving out the LA Dodgers inscription on it as well.
I decided to go back in line for Maury to get another ROMLB as well as my photo. He seemed to pick up the pace signing and we were up to him again in no time. Tyler had a piece of paper with a bunch of stats that Maury had put down for my friend Scotty, but the women said that it was too much and that he would just sign it which made Tyler upset. I was worried that he wouldn't put my inscription I wanted on the photograph but I guess one was okay. Maury was nice enough to put "586 career steals" on my 8x10.
My dad also was able to get another ROMLB for me with "NL MVP 1/2" inscribed on it. One thing I noticed is that on both baseballs I got signed by Maury, the "M" in Maury didn't come out good. I though maybe it was just a mistake at first but he did it on seperate balls using different BIC pens. Oh well, they still came out nice.
Overall it was a great signing to cap off a great day. I got every item I wanted signed so I certainly was happy with the results. It was a long day. I woke up at 4 am to go Black Friday shopping and haven't stopped since then. I'm going to enjoy sleeping in tomorrow for sure! Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!