Thursday, January 14, 2016

In-Person Autographs from the 2015 Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks

Considering how long ago the baseball season ended, this post is WAY behind, but here's a look at the various autographs I was able to obtain at various Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (AAPB) baseball games.

Maury Wills is a Los Angeles Dodgers great, but now has formed quite a bond with the team here in Fargo. He served as a coach with the team in 1996 and 1997, and now works as a radio color commentator for the team. The Maury Wills Museum is on the first floor or the Redhawks home, Newman Outdoor Field, and the team's kids club, the Maury Wills Knothole Gang, is named in his honor.

I figured he'd do a signing at some point in the season, and as luck would have it, I just happened to be attending a game where he was. I didn't have any advanced notice, so I couldn't compile any cards for him to sign, but I was able to rush into the souvenir stand and pick up a baseball. He also had 5x7 cards to sign, so naturally, I picked up one of those, too.

To celebrate the team's 20th Anniversary in 2015, they held "Flashback Friday" at every Friday home game, where they would have one or two former Redhawks players return to the field for pre-game festivities and an autograph signing.

The one I was hoping for was Chris Coste, who is probably the Redhawks player who went on to have the most successful MLB career. He finally made it to the majors at the age of 33, following 12 years in independent and minor league baseball, and played four seasons in the majors, winning a World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Coste went to High School at Fargo South, played college ball at Concordia College in neighboring Moorhead, MN, and spent four seasons with the Redhawks. He has since returned to his alma mater as the head coach at Concordia.

Each player also had 4x6 cards that they were signing, in addition to any items you brought in of your own.

Also signing with Coste that day was Jake Laber. He was mostly a career independent-league player, and spent most of his six professional baseball seasons with the Redhawks. They were truly his home team, too, as he went to high school at Fargo North, and played his college ball at Fargo's North Dakota State University. He retired in May of 2015, following off-season surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, combined with the realization that his window to the majors was coming to a close.

Every Wednesday, the team hosts a post-game autograph party, where the entire team lines up at the third-base line and signs autographs for the fans in the stands. I got one done in 2014, so of course, I needed to get my 2015 ball.

Lastly, isn't an autographed item, but a cool piece of game-used memorabilia nonetheless. Back in December of 2014, they had a big pre-Christmas sale, where they began selling Opening Day Game tickets, and tried to drum up season ticket purchases. They also had a big team store sale, and I picked myself up a game-used bat of Brandon Tripp. I was hoping to get it signed during the 2015 season, but unfortunately, 2014 ended up being his last season of professional baseball. Even unsigned, it's still a really cool item to add to my collection.

That's it for 2015. I'm Sure I'll have plenty more to show for the 2016 season.

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