By Chris Olds | Editor
It’s a simple question with not-so-simple answers most of the time.
Why do you collect who you collect?
For some, it’s a money thing. For some, it’s a fandom thing. For others, it’s a hometown hero thing — or some moment that latched their hobby targets onto a player.
For Beckett regular Abe Doctor, it was a visit to Chick-fil-A.
Really. And it involves a certain baseball player you’re probably well aware of from my showcasing my personal tastes here and there through the years.
Read his story after the jump … then please tell us who you collect — and why — if you’re so inclined.
He writes …
“I was visiting my parents in Tampa, Fla., for Christmas ,and I went to International Plaza mall for some last- minute (Christmas Eve) shopping. I was sitting down having lunch in the food court when I noticed a guy standing in line at Chick-fil-A who looked like Nick Swisher. I assumed it could not have been him since he was not signing autographs or drawing any attention. It seemed I was the only one who noticed that this guy had an uncanny resemblance to the New York Yankees outfielder.
“So, I approached him and said, ‘Excuse me, has anyone ever told you that you look just like Nick Swisher of the Yankees?’ He replied, ‘Yeah, I have heard that before …’ As I turned to walk away, I thought for a moment and asked ‘Are you Nick Swisher?’ and he said, ‘Yes, great to meet you.’ For the next five minutes (literally), I was talking to Nick one on one. I told him that I am a Rays fan, but above all I love baseball and told him that I appreciate the ways he plays the game, his love for baseball and the old-school, hard-nosed, fun mentality that I think is rare with players these days. We talked about family, buying last-minute gifts for wives, the holidays, next season, etc. He shared that he was just married in August as well [to actress JoAnna Garcia]. He was very appreciative and one of the most genuine, down-to-earth guys I have ever met … baseball star or not. Then he says, ‘I want to introduce you to my father, Steve Swisher’ (as you know, a former MLB player and All-Star). His father is much taller than Nick. I am 5-foot-10 and Nick and I were about the same height.
“My brother was there with me, but is not a baseball fan and assumed I just ran in to someone I know. I called him over and asked if he could take a picture of Nick and I, to which he replied ‘Who is this?’ … I told Nick, ‘My brother is not a baseball fan.’
“It was exciting to have shaken hands with one of the game’s greats, and I would have been content just with that. That brief meeting I had with Nick Swisher showed me how gracious, personable and appreciative he is and that the salute he gives to the fans in the outfield every game is actually how he is on a day-to-day basis … even when Christmas shopping and standing in the line at Chick-Fil-A. I am still not a Yankees fan, but I am now a Nick Swisher card collector. Thought you would enjoy the story.”
Needless to say, this isn’t the only time I have heard a good thing said about my favorite player — I have even heard stories from media members I have worked with echoing the same sentiments.
I don’t have one firm reason for collecting Swisher — actually several — but I can’t say I’ve ever been to a Chick-fil-A in Tampa, Fla., either …
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.