Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Woody Williams


I met him at a Minor League spring training game at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Florida in 1997, when the Toronto Blue Jays came to play the Philadelphia Phillies.

Woody signed a 1995 Topps card #299.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/williwo02.shtml

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Larry Bird


I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.

After collecting autographs in the same spot for several years at this golf course (on a public sidewalk by the 17th hole), this particular day I was hassled by golf course employees and the police.

Larry Bird was the host of this tournament, so I went to my usual spot hoping to get some autographs. Keep in mind, I'm all by myself, there were no other autograph seekers around. After waiting for a while, employees came over to me asking me to leave. I explained that I wasn't on their property and that I'm always quiet and respectful to the golfers. Shortly after they left, a police car pulls up and the officer calls me over to him. He asks what I'm doing, and I told him that I was trying to get some autographs and that I had been doing it for years in this same spot. He asks to see my binder and he sees a baseball card of Reggie Jackson and an 8x10 photo of Larry Bird. He then seemed surprised that they were golfing there. He hands me back my binder and tells me that the employees wanted me removed, but then agrees that since I'm on public property, he can't do anything.

Minutes later, employees come back to where I'm standing as I see Reggie Jackson approaching, about to tee off at the 17th hole. Reggie and his group take their swings, then drive their carts over by me and proceed to finish the hole. I always wait for the golfers to finish the hole before approaching them. I noticed the employees stood directly in front of me when Reggie finished, as if to make a wall between him and I. I didn't let that stop me, so I called out to him, "Mr. Jackson?" As I'm walking, the employees are also moving, attempting to shield me. Reggie replies back, "yes" and I ask him for an autograph. He then tells the employees to let me through and says "sure, come on over." I thank him and explain all the troubles I went through that day. He sees my Larry Bird photo and tells me Larry had an injured back and wasn't able to play golf that day, but instead, he was spending the entire day at the 9th hole, teeing off with everyone as they came through. Reggie then offered to take me to the 9th hole, but I'd have to sit with him as he finished his day of golf first. Of course, I jumped at that opportunity.

I was fortunate to get pictures that day, too. Hank Webb, who I had met at the same course years earlier, had a camera and offered to take pictures for me. A few weeks later at a Clearwater Phillies game, I see Hank in attendance. He happened to have the developed pictures on him and gave them to me.

Larry signed an 8x10 photo.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/birdla01.html

Monday, August 29, 2016

Reggie Jackson


I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.

After collecting autographs in the same spot for several years at this golf course (on a public sidewalk by the 17th hole), this particular day I was hassled by golf course employees and the police.

Larry Bird was the host of this tournament, so I went to my usual spot hoping to get some autographs. Keep in mind, I'm all by myself, there were no other autograph seekers around. After waiting for a while, employees came over to me asking me to leave. I explained that I wasn't on their property and that I'm always quiet and respectful to the golfers. Shortly after they left, a police car pulls up and the officer calls me over to him. He asks what I'm doing, and I told him that I was trying to get some autographs and that I had been doing it for years in this same spot. He asks to see my binder and he sees a baseball card of Reggie Jackson and an 8x10 photo of Larry Bird. He then seemed surprised that they were golfing there. He hands me back my binder and tells me that the employees wanted me removed, but then agrees that since I'm on public property, he can't do anything.

Minutes later, employees come back to where I'm standing as I see Reggie approaching, about to tee off at the 17th hole. Reggie and his group take their swings, then drive their carts over by me and proceed to finish the hole. I always wait for the golfers to finish the hole before approaching them. I noticed the employees stood directly in front of me when Reggie finished, as if to make a wall between him and I. I didn't let that stop me, so I called out to him, "Mr. Jackson?" As I'm walking, the employees are also moving, attempting to shield me. Reggie replies back, "yes" and I ask him for an autograph. He then tells the employees to let me through and says "sure, come on over." I thank him and explain all the troubles I went through that day. He sees my Larry Bird photo and tells me Larry had an injured back and wasn't able to play golf that day, but instead, he was spending the entire day at the 9th hole, teeing off with everyone as they came through. Reggie then offered to take me to the 9th hole, but I'd have to sit with him as he finished his day of golf first. Of course, I jumped at that opportunity.

I was fortunate to get pictures that day, too. Hank Webb, who I had met at the same course years earlier, had a camera and offered to take pictures for me. A few weeks later at a Clearwater Phillies game, I see Hank in attendance. He happened to have the developed pictures on him and gave them to me.

I included a picture of where I stood for autographs to better visualize this story.
Photo courtesy of Google Maps
I would stand on the sidewalk between that green box and the tall pole on the right of the picture. The golfers would park their carts on the opposite side of those bushes. I would try and get them to sign right there when they finished, or catch them as they crossed the street (you can see a golf cart crossing path at the top of the picture). That road is actually the entrance to a residential neighborhood, so I never once stood on golf course property.

Reggie signed a 1984 Topps card #100.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jacksre01.shtml

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Darren Burton

I met him at Carpenter Complex, the Philadelphia Phillies spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida in 1997.

Darren signed a 1994 Classic card #48.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=burton001dar

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Derrick May

I met him at Carpenter Complex, the Philadelphia Phillies spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida in 1997.

Derrick signed a 1993 Upper Deck card #248.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mayde01.shtml

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rico Brogna

I met him at Carpenter Complex, the Philadelphia Phillies spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida in 1997.

Rico signed a 1993 Donruss card #41.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/brognri01.shtml

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Matt Beech

I met him at Carpenter Complex, the Philadelphia Phillies spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida in 1997.

Matt signed a 1995 Fleer Pro Cards card #208.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/beechma01.shtml

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Courtney Hawkins

I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.

Courtney signed a 1994 Fleer Football card #454.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HawkCo00.htm

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.

I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.
I had met his brother, Todd, several years prior at the same course.

Mel signed a 1991 Donruss card #257.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/stottme02.shtml

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dennis Eckersley

I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.

Dennis signed a 1992 Upper Deck card #331.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/eckerde01.shtml

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rick Cerone

I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.

Rick signed a 1984 Topps card #617.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/ceronri01.shtml

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Joe Pettini

I met him at a celebrity golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Florida in 1997.

Joe signed a 1984 Topps card #449.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/pettijo01.shtml

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rick Peterson

I met him at Englebert Complex in Dunedin, Florida in 1996, while he was a Toronto Blue Jays instructor during the Florida Instructional League.

Rick signed a 1988 ProCards card #1530.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=peters001eri

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Billy Hibbard

I met him during the Toronto Blue Jays Florida Instructional League at Englebert Complex in Dunedin, Florida in 1996.

Billy signed a 1995 Fleer Pro Cards card #63.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=hibbar001wil

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Billy Hatcher

I met him at a Florida Instructional League game at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in Clearwater, Florida in 1996, when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, whom he was coaching, came to play the Philadelphia Phillies.

Billy signed a 1991 Upper Deck card #114.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hatchbi01.shtml