After the Phil Jackson book signing we headed out to Angel Stadium for the Angels Gold Ball Mystery Bag Event. This year all the proceeds from the sale went to benefit the Special Olympics in Southern California. Each $40 mystery grab bag contains 1 autographed ball with Angels COA from a current Angels player with 12 baseballs being wrapped in gold paper which grants you four tickets to an upcoming game and a chance to go on the field and meet the Angel who signed your baseball during batting practice. Additionally they were selling raffle tickets to raffle off game used Angels memorabilia.
When I arrived at the stadium at around 3pm there was already a long line of about 20 fans waiting to purchase their mystery grab bags. This is a popular event since you have a 5% chance of getting a signed Pujols, Trout, Hamilton, Weaver or Trumbo baseball for only $40. It's also a gamble as well since you can end up with a Brendan Harris ball or a Sean Burnett ball for the same price. Each baseball is authenticated by the Angels which makes it nice since you don't need to get the baseballs authenticated yourself. I was still shocked to see so many people camping out for this. The Angels limited each person to two mystery bags and they were scheduled to be sold at 5pm.
I waited with my buddy Alex who was already there with his family. While we were waiting Jose Altuve walked by. I was surprised nobody else stopped him for an autograph. Jose signed two cards for me.
That's what I call opportunistic graphing. It was nice to finally add Altuve's autograph to my collection.
Since my buddy James was hanging out with us waiting in line he agreed to buy an extra mystery bag for me and Benson. James is a diehard Giants fan so he doesn't care for Angels autographs but he is a huge Mark Trumbo fan since James bought us dinner one night when Mark hit a walk off Trumbomb to beat the Yankees. You can read about it here. Ever since that night there has been a special connection between Mark and James.
My first two mystery bags had terrible results. Nothing against Brendan Harris and Scott Downs who is one of my favorite Angels, I ended up getting both guys. I was hoping for at least a position player like Bourjos, Aybar Kendrick or even Conger. What made it worse was that Harris signed all of his baseballs in black pen. I couldn't complain much though as Alex's dad ended up with two Scott Downs autographed baseballs. No one in our group which consisted of Alex, Benson, Me, Rob, Alex/Rob's mom and dad ended up getting anyone noteworthy. Alex did however pull a Hamilton ball which he later traded another fan for a Weaver ball. Benson ended up with Iannetta and Harris.
As for the baseballs that James bought for me and Benson the strangest thing happened. You know how I mentioned before that ever since the night Trumbo hit a walkoff homer and James had to pay for dinner he has forever been linked to Trumbo. James ended up getting a Trumbo ball for Benson and a Garrett Richards ball for me. As for that Garrett Richards ball I ended up trading it away for a fan who pulled three Trumbo balls. So technically James ended up getting us two Trumbo baseballs.
After the poor results I was still a bit disappointed. I decided to get back in line since there were still a few baseballs left for sale. I figured I had a chance at someone decent since our group ended up pulling all the signed baseballs of second tier guys on the Angels. My last two baseballs ended up being Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton which was a total improvement from my first two baseballs. I couldn't believe my luck. Getting Trout's autograph on back to back weekends. I guess I can say my Trout drought is officially over.
I looked closer and noticed that my Hamilton autograph was his rare full signature. I compared my Josh Hamilton autograph with three other Josh Hamilton autographs that were pulled out of the mystery bags and all of them were his traditional short version of his signature. This was another pleasant surprise since it's tough to get his full signature. I guess my baseball was one of the first ones out of the twenty he signed for this event. The photo below showed my Mystery Bag Hamilton autograph vs the one I got at his press conference. You can see that the full signature one of the left is much more detailed that the shorter version on the right.
Overall I think I pretty much broke even based on my investment but it was nice to add another Trout, Hamilton and Trumbo ball into the collection. I hope next year I can get lucky and Albert Pujols' autograph or maybe even a gold ball. On a side note it was nice to know that two graphers in the graphing community ended up pulling gold balls. Kyle ended up getting CJ Wilson and Jeremy ended up with Jered Weaver. Congrats guys.