A couple of seasons ago, the Cubs came to town to play the Nationals. Lou Piniella had just left and Mike Quade replaced him. This moved Ivan DeJesus from first to third base coach and Bob Dernier took over as the first base coach. If I remember correctly, this was his first series.
I took my family to a game, not really thinking about getting autographs, but kind of hoping. I did bring a couple of cards and some of those 3x5 custom W flags I mentioned earlier this week but didn't really expect to come away with anything since I had heard the cubs weren't a great signing team.
We showed up as the gates were opening and made our way towards the third base line (visitor's side at Nats Park). This was a middle of the week game, Cubs vs. Nationals, pre-Strasburg and Harper hype, so it wasn't very crowded. Lots of players walked by, none of them stopped. We tried to be respectful of their pregame routines and stretching and waited til they were heading back towards the dugout but no luck.
Eventually, Bob Dernier walked by and he stopped to sign for us! He signed one of the W flags for each of my kids and 2 old Unocal prints for me.
|Showed this off the other day, but here it is again!|
|Cubs Gold Glove Winners as of 1984|
Now at this point, Quade was still interim manager and there was a lot of speculation that Sandberg would be called up from AAA Iowa to take over. I didn't know whether this was insider information or he was just speculating like everybody else. Well, two years later, I think we all know how that played out. No playoffs for the Cubs and all Sandberg does is win.
Nobody else trying to get autographs seemed to know/care who he was but they still lined up behind me to get his signature because he was a Cub in a uniform. He kept talking to me as he was signing for others which was pretty awesome.
I am left-handed so as I got older, aside from the occasional pitching appearance, I was pushed out of the infield in Little League to center field. While Sandberg was still my favorite player, the other half of the Daily Double, Bobby Dernier was a close second. (And no surprise that Tony Campana is my favorite current Cub!)
We didn't end up getting any current Cubs autographs but that 5-10 minutes with one of my childhood favorites was obviously much better than a few seconds of silence from a current Cub!
I obtained this separately and I've also shown this off previously but here it is again:
|Bobby Dernier Ice Cream Helmet|