With a crumpled wad of dollar bills in her purse and a spankin' new baseball in her left hand, 21-year-old Jessie Siegfreid approached the main entrance of the Overland Park ( Kans.) International Trade Center at 10 a.m. a month ago with one goal in mind: to meet Mike Sweeney. Siegfreid, a senior history major at Mid-America Nazarene University in nearby Olathe, Kans., isn't an autograph collector, a groupie or a celebrity stalker. Heck, until that morning she wouldn't have known Mike Sweeney, the Kansas City Royals' first baseman, from Shirley Feeney, the Milwaukee brewery diva. "My parents gave me the $7 entrance fee and sent me here," said Siegfreid. "They said Mike's nice and Christian and wholesome and single?'
So, along with 528 others at the Tri-Star Collectors Show, the blonde Siegfreid, who wore form-fitting blue jeans and an aqua halter top and had an infectiously perky giggle, waited for hours on a line that stretched around the cavernous convention center. Finally, at 1:03 p.m., she tiptoed toward Sweeney's table, handed him the baseball and grinned.
Sweeney: "How ya doin'?"
Siegfreid: "I hear you're a churchgoer."
Sweeney: "Yeah, that's one of my favorite pastimes."
Siegfreid: "Me too. Where do you go?"
Sweeney: "Church of the Nativity in Leawood, Kans."
Siegfreid: "Oh, O.K."
Later, after she took a deep breath and floated away on cloud nine, Siegfreid approached a writer who was shadowing Sweeney. "If you get a chance," she said, "could you give Mike my phone number?"