Sunday, April 17, 2011

Celtics Retired Number Autograph Collection

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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to start an autograph collection of Celtics Hall of Famers. I soon upped that to everyone whose number the Celtics had retired which added a few more players to the mix. I’ve been chasing that collection for 2-3 weeks now and have already made some good progress on it. I did start the chase with some of the autographs already in my collection. How far along do you think I am in completing this collection? Those of you following along on Twitter might have a better idea of how far along I am. For reference, I’ll list the players whose numbers are hung in the Garden rafters:

1 – Walter Brown – Founder and first owner of the Boston Celtics franchise. Not sure if there is even anything of his autographed out there to collect.

2 – Red Auerbach – This just might be the most expensive autograph in this bunch. It doesn’t look like Red every signed any trading cards. You have to go either with cut cards or authenticated photos.

3 – Dennis Johnson – Larry Bird called him the best player he ever played with. ‘Nuff said.

6 – Bill Russell – Arguably the second best player ever to lace them up. People look at his stats and say he had no offense, but they’re wrong. Russell didn’t need to score on the teams he was on. He loved starting the fast break and he did it well. Defensively, there’s been no better. Ridiculously tough to get because of the fees that Russell charges for his signature.

10 – Jojo White – Two championships including the Fianls MVP in 1976.

14 – Bob Cousy – Transformed the game both on and off the court.

15 – Tommy Heinsohn – Rookie of the Year (over Russell who didn’t play a full season), won eight titles while playing and two while coaching. He’s now the biggest homer in the world.

16 – Satch Sanders – Was just named to the Hall of Fame.

17 – John Havlicek – stole the ball

18 – Dave Cowens – Co-ROY in 1971, MVP in 1973, won two championships. Hall of Famer and one of NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.

19 – Don Nelson – He’s so well known as a coach that I often forget he played with the Celtics. Won 5 titles with the Celtics.

21 – Bill Sharman – Won four titles with the Celtics, HOF and top 50.

22 – Easy Ed Macauley – Hall of Famer who played before the Celtics started winning championships.

23 – Frank Ramsey – The first ever “Sixth Man,” a position created and mastered by the Celtics. Won seven titles with the Celtics and was elected to the HOF in 1981.

24 – Sam Jones – Won ten titles with the Celtics. Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch.”

25 – K.C. Jones – Won 8 straight titles with the Celtics and then coached them to two more.

31 – Cedric Maxwell – Won two titles with the Celtics and is now a popular radio commentator for the team.

32 – Kevin McHale – Knows how many bolts are used to put the Garden floor together.

33 – Larry Bird – also stole the ball. Bird is also a pretty tough autograph to track down.

35 – Reggie Lewis – His number is up there as a tribute because he was tragically lost way too early. I have no doubt that Reggie’s number would have made it to the rafters eventually anyway. Lewis has four straight 20+ PPG seasons under his belt, was an amazing defender and was still getting better. There’s an amazing video on YouTube of him defending Jordan and blocking him four times in one game. Man do I miss Reggie. I don’t think that Reggie has any autographed cards available.

00 – Robert Parish – The Chief. Part of the big three with Bird and McHale. Great rebounder. Could score when he had to. Played for an amazing 21 seasons.

LOSCY – Jim Loscutoff – Didn’t want his number (18) retired. The Celtics retired his nickname instead. Won seven titles with the Celtics.

This should be a fun collection to chase. I’ve got plenty of autographs of Paul Pierce who looks to be the next Celtic to have his number retired. It might be a while before the next number after that is raised to the rafters. It could be Rondo if he plays here his entire career, but that wouldn’t be for a while.


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