Signed baseball collection recognized by Guinness Book Of World Records

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A Pinellas County man's collection of signed baseballs has gained status in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Dennis Schrader's lifelong love affair with baseball resulted in a collection of almost 5,000 signed baseballs.

"One of my favorites is Ty Cobb; probably the greatest hitter of all times," Schrader told FOX 13 News. "Of course, Jackie Robinson. He broke the color barrier in 1947."

At 72, he's a walking encyclopedia of baseball knowledge. 

According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, Schrader has the largest private collection of autographed baseballs in the world. The exact total is 4,999.

"I started when I was nine years old, at Al Lang Field, helping the Yankees' batboy," Schrader remembered. "Mickey Mantle gave me my first ball in 1956."

Not all the signed balls are by baseball players. 

Elvis and Priscilla Presley, John Travolta, basketball coaches, governors, rock stars, movie stars, and even presidents' signatures cover the baseballs in his collection, on display at the St. Petersburg History Museum.

"I'm waiting for somebody I don't have, very famous, to come here to the museum and sign the 5,000th ball. We will have a party," he said.

"This collection is somewhere around $2.5 million. It's quite an insurance premium for the museum here," Schrader joked.

He hopes his lifelong love affair with baseballs and signatures will continue for years to come.

"I spent my life collecting baseballs, going to memorabilia shows, on the internet talking to other collectors, buying, selling, and trading."