Monday, January 26, 2015

First Post of 2015: Chan Ho Park

I wanted to dedicate the first entry of 2015 to one of my all time favorite baseball players; Chan Ho Park. He's a cult hero among Korean baseball fans since he was the first Korean baseball player to play in major league baseball. What was even more special was that he played for the hometown Dodgers.

I've had several encounters with him years ago prior to my days as a grapher when I would actually go to a baseball game to watch baseball. My first encounter of getting his autograph was back at Shea Stadium in 2008 when I saw him play against the Mets. I was actually wearing his jersey when I went to see the Dodgers play the Mets. I was getting taunted by all the crazy New York Mets fans but it was nice to wear a one of a kind Dodgers jersey in enemy territory. During BP while he was fielding fly balls in left field he saw my jersey and came over to sign. I was probably the only fan in the stadium wearing his jersey so he had to come over and sign. This was the time when I didn't know what a paint pen was or what type of pen to use on autographs. Someone had a black sharpie which I borrowed and he ended up signing my jersey, not on the jersey number but the actual jersey itself.

This was my first ever autograph on a jersey which pretty much made my day since it was signed by my favorite player. I didn't realize it then but that planted a seed which led to my obsession of collecting autographs.

Just like any veteran collector you always try to upgrade your collection. Before graphing I collected jerseys so I had two more Chan Ho Park jerseys in stock. The one that was signed at Shea was worn several times by me since I'd wear it to every Dodger or any other baseball game. Thus it wasn't in the best condition and now i'd never even think of getting a jersey not signed on the jersey number.

Over the years I tried hunting down Chan Ho to get his autograph. He made an appearance at Dodger Stadium last year and had a free signing but I had work conflicts which prevented me from getting another shot at his autograph. Two years ago he was a special guest by the Dodgers when they faced the Braves in the playoffs. I brought my jersey but was denied by security. I always wanted to get the road jersey signed and finally it happened a few weeks ago when Chan Ho was in town at a paid signing at Frank and Sons sponsored by Honabach and Sons. (on a side note everyone knows I boycott their signings refer to the link)

However I didn't pay for the auto but ended up running into him later that day and ended up getting the road jersey signed for free. Chan Ho was a class act as he carefully signed my road jersey on the jersey number with my deco marker.

Now the next project is getting another home jersey done.

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