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This guy gets world leaders to sign baseballs by hanging out at the UN

This guy gets world leaders to sign baseballs by hanging out at the UN

by VICE News
Sep 28 2017, 7:04am

Randy Kaplan is a Long Island real estate lobbyist by day, but on the side he’s a dedicated autograph hunter whenever the UN General Assembly is in town. He’s already acquired 350 signatures from current and former heads of state such as Nelson Mandela and Pope Francis — all on baseballs.

Kaplan’s been collecting autographs since he was a teenager — rock’n rollers, celebrities, athletes, etc. But his signed baseball collection didn’t get off the ground until he saw former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara at a Houston Astro’s game in 1993. He managed to nab an autograph on a scorecard, but quickly realized he “committed a major error” by not having H.W. sign a baseball. Fast forward to 1996, when he convinced sitting president Bill Clinton to sign one, and boom, The Kaplan Collection was born. (He later managed to get Bush Sr. to sign a ball).

Kaplan calls his hobby “diplomacy through baseball,” and we witnessed him cajole, call out, and shake hands with anyone he thought might be a passing diplomat, searching for that sweet spot to gain access to whichever world leader might be lurking in the wings. This involved a lot of waiting, a lot of staking out, and a lot of explaining the WTF notion of signing a baseball to people who have probably never seen one up close. But to Kaplan, it’s all in a day’s work, and all about getting the next score.

VICE News join Kaplan during the UN General Assembly as he meets the Norwegian Prime Minister for the latest ball-o-graph.

This segment originally aired Sept. 21, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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