HomeTeamsRaysThe McKenney Collection of Signed Rays Baseballs

The McKenney Collection of Signed Rays Baseballs

Published on

Sports memorabilia brings fans closer to the game they love. Items can have emotional value or be connected to a specific memory. Although the baseball card, bobble head, or the autograph baseball can be marked with a price, it is the intangibles attached to the object that makes in invaluable. Jeffrey and Jennifer McKenny, of St Petersburg, are aware of the memories linked to sports memorabilia, specifically baseball memorabilia.

Jeff and his daughter Jen collect autographed baseballs of Rays players. They have been emotionally invested in this father-daughter endeavor for the last 27 years. Known as the McKenney Collection, Jeff and Jen have been collecting baseballs signed by Rays player since their inaugural season of 1998. Over 800 autographed balls have been collected.

Each ball is placed in its own UV protective case. The cubed box has a fixture inside to stabilize the ball in the desired position. Once the ball is secured in the box it is labeled with the player’s name, date, and ballpark. After the season is over, Jeff builds his own display case. Each season has its own display case. He also has a special case for autographed all-star game baseballs. In an interview, Jeff admitted that he is missing the autographed ball of certain big-name players.

The McKenney Collection has been featured in the Tampa Bay Times, Sports Collectors Daily, and WTSP Channel 10 in Tampa Bay. Sports Illustrated published an article about the collection in their March 2014 edition. Jen has added a podcast to her love for the game as a side gig. The collection continues to grow.

I discovered the collection while it was on display at this season’s Rays Fan Fest. It was the crown jewel of the well-attended event. Fans were flooded with memories of past players once their names were read. Countless “I remember when…” stories could be overheard. Those intangibles were present bonding the game to a time, place, or a memory.

In a recent interview, Jen confirmed she has collected 24 autographed balls from this season’s team excluding Niko Goodrum. She also informed me that the assortment of baseballs included signatures of coaches. Coaches told Jen that they felt overlooked and welcomed autograph requests.

The signed baseballs from the McKenney Collection were done without inside help. The McKenney family did not have personal connections with anyone in the Rays front office. In an article written in 2021, Jen told stpetecatalyst.com that she had a routine throughout her childhood was to arrive at game two hours early. She continued and said batting practice is the perfect time to get autographs. Autographs were obtained with pure determination and persistence.

It is a wonderful collection of baseballs. The Tampa/St Petersburg community is lucky to have such a unique attraction. The McKenney family have shared their passion at the annual fan fest prior to the start of each new season. I look forward to seeing the new additions next spring.

Long time Rays fan, Jeff, has produced a YouTube video telling his on the specifics surrounding his hobby.

Latest articles

Guardians Designate Ramon Laureano For Assignment

The Guardians have designated outfielder Ramon Laureano for assignment, tweets Zack Meisel of The...

Watch: Mariners stun Yankees with improbable ninth-inning rally

How did the Yankees blow that?New York held a 4-1 lead over the Mariners...

Death, Taxes, and Exploiting Tax Loopholes

This content is for Premium and Super-Premium members only. Visit the site and log...

Joey Ortiz Is Succeeding Strangely

This article isn’t really about Joey Ortiz. Or, well, it is, but it’s also...

More like this

Watch: Mariners stun Yankees with improbable ninth-inning rally

How did the Yankees blow that?New York held a 4-1 lead over the Mariners...

Death, Taxes, and Exploiting Tax Loopholes

This content is for Premium and Super-Premium members only. Visit the site and log...

Joey Ortiz Is Succeeding Strangely

This article isn’t really about Joey Ortiz. Or, well, it is, but it’s also...