As many of you know, Beckett Media recently gave away 15 copies of the first certified autographed card of "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, a Donruss Americana promo card from Panini.
But what you might not know (we didn't) is that one of the winners was Tim Robertson of Caruthersville, Mo., an independent wrestler also known as "Tank."
Robertson, a 29-year-old father of two, died last week from an apparent allergic reaction. Here's what his wife, Helen, wrote in an e-mail to Beckett on Tuesday:
"I would like to say thank you for letting my husband be one of the 15 winners of the Ric Flair trading cards. Ric Flair was and always will be my husband's favorite wrestler of all time. I'm sorry for having to tell you this, but my husband passed away on Friday, May 15.
"When you sent the message that Tim won, he got so excited that he cried. He has never won anything in his life. He won something of his favorite thing, wrestling, and his No. 1 favorite wrestler Ric Flair. The only thing he was not able to do is meet him in person or watch him in a live wrestling event. You did let him win one out of 15 in the world. That meant a lot to him. Again, I thank you so much from my husband and me."
Tank wrote briefly about what Flair meant to him with his entry, which was one of the randomly selected winners:
"Mr. Olds. I am a huge Ric Flair fan and growing up watching wrestling with my dad, so was he. He passed away 16 years ago and left me a ton of Ric Flair merchandise, and I have done nothing but add to it. It would be a great honor if I could win one of these cards for my collection. It the only thing I don't have so far, is an authentic autograph of the man himself, and I have never gotten to meet him."
Robertson didn't mention his profession, one that probably did leave a few bumps and bruises as it always does. He also didn't mention who he had met working independents - guys you might have seen on television like Jerry "The King" Lawler, Rikishi, Kamala, Percy Pringle and "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant among others.
But it's obvious that wrestling touched him, and obviously his hero Flair did, too - as tears brought on by a trading card should attest - and that means he probably did the same for some fans here and there even if he wasn't seen on television.
"Thank you for wanting to publish my husband's story," Helen Robertson said in a follow-up message. "I do think it's a good idea to inspire other people. You do not know how many people were inspired by my husband."