Part III in Tuff Stuffs Dream Collectible series

I’m a Nolan Ryan collector. I have autographed baseballs, photos, statues, and bats. I have magazine covers Ryan was on, all the Starting Lineup and McFarlane figures, books on Nolan and many other unsigned photos. I also have just about all the baseball cards he’s been on and even pennants. I also have Nolan Ryan hats and many T-shirts. I went to Cooperstown to see him being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. Of all these collectibles, the one thing I really like is a photo I have of him in the bullpen during the playing of the National Anthem. It was the last game he pitched in Camden Yards before he retired. One day I would hope to have him autograph this one for me. My dream collectible would be to have autographed game-worn jerseys of the four teams he played for in his career. 
– Ron Gary

I’d love to own a game-used item, a full item from Bill Freehan, a player that is mostly overlooked by people familiar with the game today and that don’t live in Michigan. Freehan was a catcher that called great games for the Tigers for more than a decade and helped them to the postseason and World Series in 1968, the same year he was the runner-up in the MVP voting.He held many catching records up until recent years and is still one best defensive catchers statistically in MLB history.

Although I wasn’t around to see him play, my father, the one who introduced him to the greatness which Freehan is, has fond memories of making trips to Tiger Stadium and watching him play. He was even able to obtain a signed ball from him when he was a child. That ball is what actually got me interested in collecting baseball to begin with, as it was given to me on my birthday. Since then, I have been collecting Freehan cards, autographs and other memorabilia.
My dream item would be to get a signed, game-used jersey, bat or possibly a glove of my idol Bill Freehan. Even better would’ve been to meet him but unfortunately I never had the chance to do so. 
– Ben Brazaski via e-mail

My dream collectible is actually two-fold. I would like to be able to take a photograph with the NHL Stanley Cup after a Boston Bruins Cup victory and I would like to be able to take a photograph with the NFL Lombardi Trophy after a Super Bowl win by the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the last year, I have been lucky enough to be present at a Lowell Spinners (minor league baseball) game in which the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox World Series trophies were present and was able to have my picture taken with both. As a Red Sox fan as long as I can remember, it was a dream come true to be able to pose with these trophies. I’ve got this picture in my game room at home and as my computer wallpaper/screensaver.
Recently, I found out that a Boston Celtics’ representative brought the 2008 NBA Championship trophy to my workplace so I was also able to take a picture with that trophy. Since the Celtics have struggled so much since their last title run, and as a lifelong Celtics fan, this was another dream come true.
All that is left for me is to experience a Bruins Stanley Cup victory (I was born the last year they won, 1972) and a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory, as I have been fans of these two teams for as long as I can remember.  Those would truly be my dream collectibles – maybe I could make a collage out of the four photographs if I am lucky enough to see these happen in my lifetime. I didn’t think it would ever happen for the Red Sox so I guess I’ll continue to hope.
– eaglephan via e-mail

When I was growing up and first started collecting baseball cards, I didn’t know much about the game or the players. I started to see that I had a lot of cards of a guy named “McGwire.” Well, since I liked his last name so much (I didn’t know a thing about him), I decided to collect him as my favorite player. Over the years, as Mark McGwire became more famous, I collected more and more cards. Since he retired, I have bought three autographs of Mr. McGwire, but they are so expensive it’s tough for a Catholic school teacher to afford anything more than a ball. 
My Dream Collectible would be a game-worn jersey of McGwire of when he hit No. 62 and/or No. 70. The player who I admired most growing up as a child ended up to be the player who helped save the game of baseball in 1998. I was so proud to be a fan of his when he broke the home run record and I will continue to be his biggest fan today, although people now label him as a “cheater.”  Cheater or not, he saved the game of baseball along with Sammy Sosa in 1998.  If he didn’t do what he did in 1998, people probably wouldn’t have cared about the steroids, because nobody would be following the game anymore. 
I’m his No. 1 fan and I will always be and I’m always going to be looking for that dream collectible or anything else of his that is within my budget. 
– Michael Gallus

My name is Corey Henderson and I am 14 years old. My Dream Collectible is a Philidelphia Eagles helmet signed by the Eagles players. My favorite players are Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb, they are to me the most inspirational players in the league. Donovan with coming back from injuries and playing to the best of his ability, and Brian, one of the most underrated running backs of the league, with great potential.
One of the best moments I can remember of Brian Westbrook is Brian breaking away on the Cowboys, down the field and right in front of the end zone falling straight down to run down the clock.
This really was a surprise to me that a player would let a touchdown go, to run down the clock so the Cowboys would have less time to get a touchdown and give the Eagles the win. Not many players would have let the touchdown go, so that just showed more of Brian’s personality and dedication to his team.
Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook led the Eagles to a championship this year. The Eagles have the most heart in all of the NFL, and its not just their players but also the staff. Andy Reid and his staff bring great leadership to the Eagles team.
                                                                                        – Corey Henderson

Nothing would make me happier than to own a signed jersey of former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin. In 1995, I knew very little about the game of baseball, but my mother treated my family to a four-hour trip to Cincinnati. I was blown away as I walked into Riverfront Stadium. It was there that I learned about the dominance of the Big Red Machine as well as the Red October crew.

We had the opportunity to watch the Reds play the Cubs. At the time, I didn’t know many of the players from either squad. But, as the starting lineups were announced you could tell right away who the Cincinnati fans loved the most. As he came up for his first at-bat, he didn’t disappoint, as he slammed a home run over the left field fence. It was then that I fell in love with Barry Larkin’s game. His slick fielding and his love for Cincinnati made it extremely difficult to not like the guy.

From 1995 until the day he retired, I never missed a chance to watch my childhood idol play. I was very upset that I was unable to attend his enshrinement into the Reds Hall of Fame, I would have given anything to have been there. I’m always in pursuit of any autos or game-used cards of Larkin, but it would be my dream to win a signed jersey of the slick-fielding shortstop. He’s the one who spurred my interest in the game of baseball and I’d love to have one of the nicer pieces of memorabilia a collector can have.
– Tony Joyce via e-mail

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