On Monday, April 30, I had the chance to get an in-person autograph from Red Sox catching prospect and 2011 Jewish Major Leaguer Ryan Lavarnway before the Columbus Clippers game against the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Lavarnway was the game's starting catcher. I waited with several autograph seekers next to the exit to the PawSox dugout. As Lavarnway took the field for warm-ups, we asked if Lavarnway would sign, and he responded "I've got to go to work, boys."
After a brief, but intense set of catching drills, Lavarnway joined us along the railing.
Lavarnway autographed my 2012 Topps Gold Futures card (GF-22) with a nice signature, adding his number (36) after his name.
When a a fellow 'grapher asked Lavarnway to sign his 2011 Upper Upper Deck World of Sports card, the catcher said: "What is that? I've never seen that one before. That is really ugly!"
Lavarnway appreciated being offered and accepted a duplicate of his 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions mini cards, given to him by another collector.
On the whole, Lavarnway was a courteous signer. He was, though, a one-and-done man, providing a single autograph to each of us. That said, Lavarnway did take time to chat briefly with everyone, and he spoke caringly to a young boy who asked for Lavarnway's signature on a baseball.
Beckett shows a more than 160 Lavarnway cards, including:
- Minor league team issues from the 2008 Lowell Spinners, 2009 Greenville Drive, 2010 Salem Red Sox and 2011 Portland Sea Dogs sets.
- 2008 Razor autographed and memorabilia cards, including single issue “Letterman” cards containing autographed uniform letters.
- 2008, 2010 and 2011 Topps Pro Debut cards, including limited edition color and printing plate varieties, and an autographed edition.
- 2010 and 2011 Bowman Sterling Prospects, including one-of-one printing plate variations.
- And, 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin and 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen cards, which pay design homage to early 1900s baseball card styles.
eBay listings include Lavarnway's cards, autographed bats, balls and photos, tickets from the games in which he collected his first Major League hit and home run, replica jerseys and a game-used minor league jersey. As always with eBay, buyer beware!
Has anyone else had an in-person experience with Ryan Lavarnway? Does he sign multiples after games? Share your story with JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers by commenting below.