Thursday, July 12, 2012

RBI (91) 100 Years of Fenway and a Red Sox Hall of Famer...

There's no witty tie in for this one, just a few facts.

Fact I just went to Boston for vacation.

Fact my streak of consecutive games with an autograph is over. I went to the night game of the Red Sox-Yankee Saturday double header and didn't get anything. I didn't try any pre or post game graphing and inside I only saw Robinson Cano sign 3 autographs while walking into the dugout.

Fact the next night I decided to treat myself on said vacation to one more game during Fenway Park's 100th Anniversary. I went to a ticket reseller since I knew I didn't have enough cash on hand to get a ticket on the street and was informed of another fact.

Fact the only tickets available were in a suite.

Fact I sat in a suite in Fenway Park.

Fact I have a new streak going.

Story time.

I was informed that the only tickets that were still available were in a suite that the company bought and was selling off. I decided I didn't care and HAD to get into the game to watch the greatest rivalry in sports in the greatest baseball park in the greatest city. Life in the suite. Awesome. Worth every penny.

I however was called during the game and stepped outside to watch the game on the flat screen through the window and take the call. While on the call I saw what? Just a crowd of people asking for an autograph on the floor below me. I immediately turned and sprinted down a pretty good distance to get to the ramp and then down. I caught my target of attention right as he was saying goodnight to a staff member and was walking toward his luxury suite.

"Mr. Tiant, can you sign my ticket please."

Louis Tiant in all his mustached glory turned around, shook his head, and said "Man you kids crazy man" as he reached his hand out toward me. He pulled out his own sharpie and autographed my ticket before putting his sharpie away. Why is this important? Because he handed the ticket back to me with one hand while I said thank you, and as he nodded with his other hand gave me a grandfatherly pat on the cheek "There you go, get out of here."

El Tiante. In Fenway Park. One on One.

For those not versed in El Tiante he is a Cuban born player who played from 1964-1982 for the Indians, Twins, Red Sox, Yankees, Pirates, and Angels. He was a 3 time All-Star, '75 Babe Ruth Award winner, and 1972 AL Comeback Player of the Year. His career line stands at 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA and 2,416 Strikeouts. He was the starter for Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, arguably the greatest game ever played.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997 and Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. He has not made it into Cooperstown and it will be up to the Veterans Committee if he gets to take that plunge. Regardless I have a Louis Tiant autograph in my collection on commemorative Fenway Park ticket stock from a Yankees vs Red Sox game. Awesome.

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