Move over Mantle and Mays. Make room for Mandela and Gorbachev.
Randy Kaplan has spent the past two decades tracking down world leaders for their signatures on baseballs, a quirky melding of memorabilia and history that has resulted in an impressive collection of more than 200 autographs from presidents, prime ministers, two kings and the Dalai Lama.
"It's been a passion, a labor of love and an obsession," says the 50-year-old Kaplan, a lifelong collector whose day job is in government affairs for a real estate trade group.
It began almost as a fluke in 1996 when he positioned himself outside a speech and got then-President Bill Clinton to sign a ball. The...