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ESPN to tape Carpenter#039;s collection

FIREBRICK, Ky.-- John Carpenter's passion for sports and his massive collection of sports memorabilia may receive some national exposure on ESPN.

The ESPN network is working on an "Outside the Lines" show about fans and their different levels of involvement. They may include Carpenter's collection or possibly use it as a stand-alone segment on "Sportscenter," said Andy Lockett, a feature producer for ESPN.

A reporter and a producer will be visiting Carpenter's home today to film the segment. It is still undetermined when the segment will be aired, Lockett said.

"It is a great honor that ESPN has chosen to honor me," Carpenter said. "I am really looking forward to it."

Carpenter began collecting in the 1980s and has amassed a collection of 4,000 to 5,000 items. They include pictures, shirts, balls, pennants, autographs and more from professional, college and high school sports including football, baseball and basketball.

He is recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not on two seperate occasions.

"I just love it," he said. "I just wanted to collect because I love sports so much."

Having such a large collection does not make it difficult for him to pick a favorite piece.

"The homerun ball hit by Babe Ruth," he answers quickly.

The ball was from a Yankees 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on July 24, 1930. Carpenter was given the ball by his uncle.

He is excited about the opportunity and thinks the exposure could help him continue to add to his collection.

"I had a goal to be on national TV one day," he said. "I think that dream may come true."

Carpenter will have some of his collection on display this weekend at Ohio University Southern during The Festival of the Hills celebration. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune