LOOKING FOR AN early Christmas gift for the sports fan who has everything?
How about a copy of every Sports Illustrated ever published. Better yet, how about every SI ever printed with 94 percent of them signed by the person on the covers?
There's just one hitch - it'll cost you.
Scott Smith, of Pompton Plains, N.J., has put his massive collection up for auction on eBay. The opening bid is $1,999,999. (We guess $2 million would've seemed a tad too much.)
According to his Web site, www.sikingcollection.com, Smith received his first SI from his grandmother in 1973 when he was 9 years old. He purchased all the issues before that - going back to the first one in 1954 - and has been on a mission to get as many as he can signed by the athlete/swimsuit model/sports personality on the covers.
There are numerous Philly athletes among the cover shots, including Jimmy Rollins, who was on the front of the Oct. 8, 2007, issue.
Hopefully, Rollins will be on the cover again very soon - as a part of a team photo of the two-time defending world champion Phillies.
Jim Albright has a sports collection, too - baseballs signed by every Cy Young Award winner since the inception of the award in 1956.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Albright, a retired businessman from Dallas who has a daughter with special needs, started his quest in order to raise money for Special Olympics.
Albright, with the help of former big-league manager Bobby Bragan, completed the collection after he got a ball signed by John Denny, who won the National League's Cy Young as a member of the Phillies in 1983.
Albright hopes someone will shell out $500,000 or more for the collection. And, he promises to try to keep it updated with signed baseballs from future winners.
"Pray that CC Sabathia ['07] or Cliff Lee ['08] win this year," Albright told the Dallas Morning News. "We've already got theirs."
- Tom Mahon