Simply Baseball Notebook: Collector's Corner

Collecting Andy Pettitte

"COLLECTOR'S CORNER": November 2003 

 A Pettitte Collection that's Not "Petit"


Petit: a French word meaning small.

Pettitte: the last name of a 6-foot-5, 225-pound Yankees hurler who has recorded the most postseason wins in franchise history.

"Petit" is certainly not a word that describes Andy Pettitte, or the contributions the all-star southpaw has made to his team; it also doesn't apply to Lynn Nagelsmiths collection of the veteran lefty's memorabilia.

With over 1,100 items, the devoted hobbyist has amassed what is likely the world's largest collection of Pettitte memorabilia.

"I always liked baseball, but when I watched the '96 World Series and saw Andy Pettitte pitch I became an instant fan," says the Schenectady, NY native. "From that time on, I started collecting all sorts of Pettitte items."

It was the Louisiana-born lefthander's game face that won him her adulation.

"I like the way he looks under his cap," she says. "He's so intense when he pitches."

Her collection boasts cards, balls, bobble heads, and even a beanie baby. The beanie baby was a test model that was never manufactured in bulk, making it the only one in existence. She also counts a cancelled check signed by the two-time, 20-game winner as one of her more original items.

"I won the cancelled check in an auction from a company that hired Andy to sign autographs," she explains.

The Pettitte enthusiast regularly scours the Internet -- especially eBay -- for cards of her favorite Yankee. She says that it's not as easy as it used to be to focus a collection on a specific player.

"Back in 1996 when you were known as a collector of a certain player, it was nice. People would e-mail you and ask you if you were interested in what they had. Now sellers seem to go right to eBay," she says.

Despite this new trend, few items have eluded Nagelsmith. She estimates there are only 25 to 30 Pettitte cards that she doesn't have in her collection. Among those missing are one-of-a-kind Mirror Blacks issued by Pinnacle Certified and Leaf Certified.

"There was only one made of each card," she explains. "In 1997, I was offered one and, at the time, I couldn't afford it. A few weeks later when I came up with the money, I contacted the seller and it was gone. I could kick myself."

Despite her passion for the Bronx Bombers pitcher, the veteran collector has never had the opportunity to meet him in person. She has, however, watched him pitch at Yankee Stadium and in Spring Training and hopes that one day their paths will cross.

"We (her family) live about 50 minutes from Cooperstown so we go to the Hall of Fame about five times a year," she says. "We also go to the Hall of Fame game on induction weekend. The fans stand outside and watch players go into the field. It's great. We can't wait to see Andy if the Yankees ever play in one of the exhibition games."

-Kevin Glew  

Kevin Glew is a freelance writer based in London, Ontario - he can be reached @  kevin.glew@sympatico.ca 

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