Friend Scores Last Signature On 70s Baseball

By: Sarah Plake, JB Bauersfeld Email
By: Sarah Plake, JB Bauersfeld Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- When the annual Kansas City Royals caravan rolled into Topeka Thursday afternoon, it brough three current players, plus a Royals icon.

Hall of Famer Willie Wilson was exactly who one Topeka woman lined up to see.

For Laurie McCollum, meeting Willie Wilson was not only exciting for her personally, it was also a huge gesture for her friend, Sandy Tibbits.

The baseball, with various players' signatures on it, was kind of random for Laurie.

Her friend Sandy's mother gave the ball to Sandy years ago, telling her it would help her out one day. For 30 years, Sandy didn't even know what team the ball belonged to or whose signatures were written on it.

Sandy gave the ball to Laurie to hold on to.

Little did they know, the ball's origin is a lot closer to home than they thought.

Laurie and her husband looked up the names and found out the signatures were from the 1977 Royals team, when they were on their way to the play-offs. The entire team signed it, except for one, Willie Wilson.

Laurie said the day after they discovered the ball's background, she found out Willie Wilson was going to be in Topeka Thursday.

"When I found out he was going to be here it's like, the ball has to be complete," Laurie told 13 News. "It's just, it's amazing you know, he's the only one that didn't sign it, and it's like, wow."

She did get his signature and will give the ball back to Sandy.

But it's more than a gift.

Sandy's son has terminal cancer. With only nine months to live and no health insurance, Sandy and Laurie plan to auction the ball off, every penny going toward Sandy's son.

"To just meet him and have him sign this it's awesome," Laurie said.

Sandy and Laurie are looking into authenticating the ball and finding out where they can sell it.

Now they have the whole team, plus the two coaches.


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