When an 11-year-old Yankees fan lost his binder full of autographed cards, sympathetic collectors from across the country helped him rebuild his collection. Elyjah Blankenberg was so excited to go to the Yankees-Orioles spring game in March where he planned to have some of his baseball cards autographed by his favorite players, including Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu.
At the urging of his parents, Elyjah overcame his shyness to get LeMahieu’s autograph, but as they left the stadium, he noticed he’d somehow dropped his binder full of cards. They scoured the stadium and parking lot, but couldn’t find Elyjah’s collection, so when they got home, his mom, Colleen Spencer, posted a plea on social media hoping someone might have picked it up. No one found the binder, but the story did catch the eye of local news, and after the story aired, people from across the country sent Elyjah cherished items from their personal collections to help him rebuild his.
Over the next few weeks, he received hundreds of packages with collectibles from collectors who’d found out about his lost binder. He got autographed cards, baseballs, magazines, and more, each one with a letter saying how much the item meant to the giver and how pleased they were to be passing along the special item. And Elyjah sent a thank you note to each and every one of the senders. To Elyjah though, two of the items stood out most: one was a ball autographed by the entire 1968 Yankees team that came from a man who’d been viciously attacked by a shark as a boy in 1968 and received the ball while recovering, and the other was a DJ LeMahieu card and a signed ball, that reads "To Elyjah, DJ LeMahieu #26."