I became a fan of the game of baseball in 1983, when I first tuned in to the Chicago Cubs broadcasts on WGN-TV in suburban Chicago during the hot summers of my very early teen years. That is how I explain my devotion to the permanent, lovable losers on the North Side.
But my interest actually was sparked a year earlier, when my Dad turned on the 1982 World Series between his hometown Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals. That was when I first saw Ozzie Smith. Ozzie was just fun to watch. There's not much more to it than that. He also turned out to be a very nice, well-spoken man. I was very happy that the first $1 million player turned out to be one of the classiest...
Meeting Ozzie (Cooperstown 2005)
I, along with my 3-year old son, had the opportunity to meet Ozzie Smith in Cooperstown, New York when he was at a signing event during HOF Induction Weekend in July of 2005. Ozzie was absolutely wonderful, -very nice, patient, gracious, and everything you would hope for when you meet a childhood idol. He was very appreciative when I introduced him to my son as the reason I started to follow baseball. He talked to my son as he signed, and this is one of my favorite pictures, taken by my friend Jim. I think you'll agree it has a certain "Norman Rockwell-ian" quality about it. This was one of those experiences that bridge the different periods in your life...a very interesting and valuable combination of my childhood, and fatherhood.
The items that Ozzie signed during that visit in 2005 are pictured below: