If you've been a fan of baseball over the past decade or so, then the name Derrek Lee likely rings a bell. The former Florida Marlin and Chicago Cub was one of the most dominant first basemen in all of baseball throughout the 2000's. Lee belted 30 or more HR's four times in his career, won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, and a batting title with the Cubs in 2005. If it weren't for such a sudden fall from grace, Lee would likely be right next to Paul Konerko and Todd Helton as candidates for a late ballot Hall of Fame induction.
Lee happened to be throwing out the first pitch before the second game of the California League (High-A ball) Championship series in Rancho Cucamonga. I got a last minute tip from one of my friends that Lee would be at the game and decided to head over since it was right down the street. Right as I walked through the front gates, I noticed Lee standing to my left and was able to knock out a pair of cards within second of being inside the ballpark.
The card on the left is a 1994 Rancho Cucamonga Quakes card that I imagine was part of a team set from that season. It happened to be inside of a large box of cards that I purchased for $2 at a yard sale many years back. I was fairly surprised (and impressed) that I remembered the card from so many years ago and was able to dig it up earlier in the afternoon. I've always enjoyed getting minor league cards signed from ballplayers who eventually reached the major league level, so I was very happy to not only find it, but get it signed.
I ended up getting Lee one more time later on in the night. I'd like to think that being a good friend payed off in this case, as I ended up hanging around and helping one of my friends get Lee after the game was over. While he was getting his card signed, I was able to pull out a baseball and got Lee to sign it on the sweet spot.
In the end, it ended up being one of the easier and more random autographs that I've gotten in a while. I was happy to add another all-star to the collection and one that I watched play for many years with the Cubs. Thanks for reading!