I believe I shared this before on my blog, but I didn’t really explain what happened…so here it is:
I am a big collector of sports memorabilia and baseball cards. I was on this trading card forum (Beckett Message Boards) where I was looking to obtain some Phil Hughes cards, and this guy sent me a private message. His username was “nyyphily45” and he told me that he could hook me up with anything Phil Hughes. We exchanged messages for a while and I asked him what he had for me. He told me that he had anything from hats, jerseys, balls, cards, etc. I was interested in all of that stuff, so I asked him what he needed. He told me that he was Phil Hughes. I didn’t believe him when he first said it, but I gave him a chance. The ’04 Yankees #1 Draft Pick was hanging around on a baseball card message board? I know it’s hard to believe. He was my favorite Yankee youngster at the time, (and he still is now) so it was really cool. I mean..how often do you run into one of your favorite players on the computer? I guess I was the first to know about his identity, because he told me to keep it on the down low. You know how people are..they would attack him, and wouldn’t leave him alone. I offered him money or baseball cards in return, but he refused to accept that. He told me that he would send me some stuff for free. I was like..what do I have to lose? He told me that he would cover shipping and handling.
A couple of weeks later, I received a box from UPS. I noticed the return address had the name Phil Hughes in it. I opened it up and there they were. He sent me three brand new autographed hats, along with a bunch of signed baseball cards, and a small note on the envelope. I was amazed. I later thanked him for everything he sent me. He was very generous, and nice enough to take the time and package this stuff up and send it to me. He later revealed his identity to the message boards, and everyone went wild. Most of them didn’t believe who he was claiming to be, so he had to prove it.
He posted this picture. haha:
Later on, the administrator of this message board was notified about this. The site verified that it was him and they posted this image on the front of their site:
Phil held a contest on the site, shared previews of his upcoming baseball cards, and interacted with many of the fans. He is a very down to earth person. Hughes collects baseball cards just like everybody else. I thought it was awesome that he was willing to interact with his fans. Most pro athletes wouldn’t take the time to do that. I spoke with Phil many times through the forums and through AIM, and he took the time to answer all my questions. I asked about Spring Training, how the baseball season was going, what some of the Yankees players were like, baseball cards, etc. He was a great guy about it.
These were the three hats he sent me. All autographed on the brim. The NY Yankees hat was actually worn by him. It’s not game used though. He told me that it was issued to him from a trainer in the Yankees clubhouse when he got the call up to see what the big league club was like. He wasn’t actually called up and added to the roster, but he was invited to the stadium. I don’t know if you guys can see it, but under the brim it has the name “Hughes” written. Also, the inside white band of the hat is partially cut out. I asked him why, and he told me that he felt more comfortable wearing it that way. He has a big head. haha.
These are some of the baseball cards he sent me. As you can see, he put an inscription on one of the cards. “Kev. Great Collection. Keep it up!” and signed his name. (I showed him my collection of him)
those cards were sent to me in this envelope. He added a nice little note on the front of it:
He couldn’t have been more generous. I still have the UPS box, the original packaging, and the items he sent me. It is something I will never forget.
This was the article published in the 2008 September Issue of Beckett Baseball. The cover of the magazine can be seen on the right. I bought two copies of the magazine for myself. Maybe I can get Phil to sign the magazine one day.
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