Saturday, August 10, 2013

Off to See the Wizard...Ozzie Smith

This autograph is from arguably the best shortstop to ever play the game, Ozzie Smith.

Ozzie - better known as "The Wizard" - dazzled sports fans for 19 seasons with his physics-defying defensive play.

He was an 15-time All-Star and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002 - his first year of eligibility. He was known for doing back-flips on the field after making an amazing play.
1987 Topps Glossy All-Star

I met Ozzie August 2 at the 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention in Rosemont, IL. I asked him if he still does back-flips, to which he laughed and replied, "not intentionally, man, not intentionally." I am not entirely sure what that means, but he amused me. Ozzie and Cal Ripken, Jr., were the two nicest athletes I have met in person.

He made every person who approached him feel welcome. He greeted each person individually, shook hands and was a pleasure to meet. He ribbed me a little about the Reds shirt I was wearing, saying that I was obviously a fan of the Big Red Machine and not the Cards. I wanted to come back with a witty rejoinder, but the line was moving so I just laughed, thanked him and moved on.