Twenty years ago... I attended the Once-in-a-Lifetime Card Show at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds which was about five miles from where I grew up.
I don't really remember the details of the actual card show or whether or not I even purchased cards that day... but there was one memory from the show that stood out. That was the day I met Gordie Howe and had the opportunity to shake his hand.
A few days before, I drove all around looking for his Kenner Starting Lineup Timeless Legends figure. I'm sure I paid way too much for it. However... the good news is that Mr. Howe was only charging $5 for the first autograph.
Five flippin' bucks for an autograph of one of the greatest hockey players to ever play the game!
This SLU is one of the most cherished items in my collection. Back in 2001 when I sold off the majority of my collection, the guy who purchased it begged me to throw this in. I think he offered me an extra hundred bucks... but I refused.
It's one of those items that I plan on keeping until either I leave the hobby... or it's my time to leave this place.
Another Gordie Howe item in my collection that will never leave my collection is his 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee card:
This card was given to me by Chris over at Diamond Cuts and Wax Stains back in 2014. I consider it to be hockey's version of the 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson. In other words... the most beautiful hockey card ever created.
And rounding out my Gordie Howe collection is this beautiful on-card signature from the 2000 Upper Deck Kit Young Hawaii Conference set:
I never actually had the pleasure of watching you play, but your legacy will be remembered through the cards and memorabilia that I will always treasure.
Sayonara and may you forever rest in peace.