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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Greatest Random Gift Ever

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:30 AM


I am not big on collecting sports memorabilia. I have baseball cards, of course, but those are different.

When it comes to signed balls, posters, autographs, bobbleheads, bats and the like, I've never really cared much. I stood in line once at MC Sporting Goods when I was 12 or so to get Leroy Kelley's autograph on a Browns hat. I probably stood there for at least two hours to have the Hall of Famer scribble on my hat. When I got home, I immediately stuck it in a closet and forgot about it. I have no idea what happened to it now. So, yeah, not big on the collecting.

My collection as it existed one week ago consisted of the following items: A Bernie Kosar action figure, two Cleveland Force media guides from the 80's, a bobblehead of Bernie Mac from Mr. 3000, a basketball my girlfriend gave me autographed by Larry Hughes and Anderson Varejao, and two illios by Rob Ullman.

What changed one week ago? A special delivery from Eric Peterson.

It all started on Thursday, June 3, when I got this email.

"If you know anyone that would appreciate a signed baseball from the Indians starting pitcher - 10 Cent Beer Night - 1974 please let me know. I live in Colorado and was informed that my dad started the game that ended in your memorable venue."

Hell yes!, or some variant of that phrase, was my response. And that was even before it occurred to me that Fritz Peterson was the starting pitcher for the Indians on June 4, 1974, and why I wanted that ball for another reason.

That name should ring a bell immediately for baseball fans. Fritz Peterson, of course, was half of the famous Yankee wife swap story, in addition to being the starting pitcher on Ten Cent Beer Night (and having the all-time lowest ERA at old Yankee Stadium). With those credentials, how's he not in the Hall of Fame yet?

Eric is his biological son. He only recently found out his dad had been the starting pitcher that day. With all the other stories about his dad out there, you can understand how this one might have fallen through the cracks. A friend told him, he had his dad sign a ball, and he sent that ball to me. Yes, I'm gloating. It now proudly joins the Cleveland Force media guides in my small collection of memorabilia.

A big thanks to Eric and Fritz for the wonderfully surprising gift.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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