Play Ball With Ozzie Smith And My Pro12TC

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Play Ball With Ozzie Smith And My Pro12TC

Postby DT » July 25th, 2008, 3:43 pm

Today I participated in the annual Play Ball with Ozzie Smith fundraiser event at Doubleday field in Cooperstown. Let's just say it exceeded my expectations..... by far! Ozzie was a childhood hero of mine and after meeting him today, I can say he's an even bigger hero of mine. Hall of Famers George Brett and Eddie Murray also participated and they were great as well. If you ever get a chance to participate in this event, you won't regret it! It's a great event for a great cause and your donation is even tax deductible.

I brought my Rawlings Pro12TC (same glove that Ozzie used when he played in the majors). A glove I was preparing to be my next gamer that I had almost fully broken in. Before we turned double-plays with the Hall of Famers, we gathered in small groups to talk with each of the players. Right away I noticed Ozzie eying my glove. "Looks like you have a pretty nice glove there" as he reached for it. I handed it to him and asked why he didn't have his PRO12TC with him (he had a black b-hive glove, not sure of the make).

He didn't answer (he seemed rather pre-occupied with my glove, almost like he was reminicing about his glove).... Then he put my glove on his hand!! I said "I gotta get a picture of Ozzie Smith with his hand in MY glove!" With no hesitation he graciously posed for a picture.
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I told him that I was superstitious and never let anyone put their hand in my glove. But in this case, I was happy to make an exception and I hoped it would give me some extra "mojo" when I used it.

While on the topic of superstition, I asked about the story that Bob Clevenhagen me- about how he put one of the Gold Glove patched on Ozzie's glove one year after he won a Gold Glove. Then in spring training after Ozzie had booted a few ground balls, he made Bob immediately remove the patch.

Ozzie laughed and said it happened exactly that way, "I couldn't catch anything with that glove" he said. I told him Bob didn't want me to bring up the part about where he booted the ball (sorry Bob), but Ozzie wasn't offended and had a good laugh remembering that story.

I also asked why he chose the PRO12TC, when most short-stops don't use anything longer than an 11.5" glove. He said it was because he just felt comfortable with that glove. He also believed the extra length gave him an edge, but that the pocket was still shallow enough that he could get the ball out quickly.

We asked many more questions and Ozzie answered them all. He was as warm, gracious and funny a person as I've ever met. In my line of work, I meet a lot of famous people and I typically don't get nervous when I meet them. But Ozzie was a childhood hero of mine, and I admit I had some butterflies when I started asking him questions. But he put me right at ease and I felt like I was just chatting with an old friend.

Then it was time to turn double-plays. It worked in two rounds. Round One: the participant would play short-stop, George Brett played 2nd and Eddie Murray played first. In Round Two: Ozzie played Short, the participant played 2nd and Eddie Murray was still at first. In each round the ball was hit to the participant who had one chance to turn the double-play.

When it came time for me to turn my double-play at Short, I fielded the ball cleanly, but I was unhappy with my footwork on my throw to George Brett. It was a good throw and we were able to turn the double-play, but I felt I could have done better.

Then it was time for me to fulfill a boyhood dream - turn a double-play at 2nd with Ozzie at short. The ball was hit to my left. I ranged over and it took a bit of a hop which I fielded cleanly, made a nice jump pivot to face 2nd (whew) and threw a perfect strike to Ozzie's chest. Ozzie took a picture-perfect turn at 2nd and made a perfect throw to Eddie Murray who was whooping it up on that play. George Brett yelled "very nice!" And Ozzie shouted "It must be the glove!"

I'm sure I had a big goofy grin on my face. It really felt good to be able to live a dream and turn a double play with Ozzie Smith.

At the end of the event, as you made your way out of Doubleday Field, the participant would file past a table with Ozzie, Brett and Murray. Each of them signed a baseball (provided by the HOF) for each participant. As I was getting my baseball signed by the Wizard, I said "Thanks again for giving my glove some mojo." He asked to see my glove again. I thought he was going to put his hand in it again for some extra mojo. But lo and behold he signed it!!

I was shocked because we were told (many times) in no uncertain terms that the players would not sign anything but one baseball for each participant. In fact the guy in front of me tried to get them to sign an extra baseball, but the HOF employees (very nicely) told him that wouldn't be possible.

I wasn't looking for the autograph, but I got one anyway. Then the guy behind me says "Now you have to buy a new gamer!!"

What do you all think? I will never sell this glove for any price. But I'm wondering, should I buy a new gamer and keep this glove on a trophy shelf? Or should I keep playing ball with this glove as it has some really good mojo now. Is there anyway to protect the autograph so it doesn't fade away?


Here is more info on the Play Ball with Ozzie Smith event. If you attend the event next year, be sure to say "hi" to me. I'll be the one there wearing the Rawlings PRO12TC and a goofy grin :)
http://web.baseballhalloffame.org/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080725&content_id=8358&vkey=hof_news


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Last edited by DT on December 4th, 2008, 10:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby vintagebrett » July 25th, 2008, 3:53 pm

Wow! Cool story. Sounds like a lot of fun. Would have loved to meet George Brett - he is my favorite player of all time (and allegedly where my first name comes from).
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Postby DT » July 25th, 2008, 4:00 pm

vintagebrett wrote:Wow! Cool story. Sounds like a lot of fun. Would have loved to meet George Brett - he is my favorite player of all time (and allegedly where my first name comes from).


George Brett is Hil. Lar. I. Ous. with a capital HILARIOUS. He had us all laughing so hard. Really nice guy and down to earth too.

Only problem was I was so nervous about meeting Ozzie, I couldn't think of any good questions to ask Brett.

All I could come up with was "What do you think about them tearing down Yankee stadium". Which he then regaled us with a bunch of Yankee Stadium tales. No matter the question, he had a funny story to go with it.

Here's a pic of Brett:
Image
Last edited by DT on July 25th, 2008, 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rmiller » July 25th, 2008, 4:04 pm

I would definitely get a new gamer if I were you! Congrats dude- that is awesome!
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Postby awarsoca » July 25th, 2008, 4:23 pm

new gamer, that one is truly priceless
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Postby Cusser » July 25th, 2008, 4:52 pm

Yeah, noticed at the All-Star softball game this year that Ozzie did NOT use a Trapeze model.

My Ozzie story: in mid-1980s, Saturday game of the week did a pre-game, and Ozzie was talking about how he needed his Trapeze glove fixed, and contacted Rawlings, and Rawlings cut him new patterns from the old, and made him some brand new gloves. Since my TG-12 was in need of repair, I wrote to him and asked for the contact name at Rawlings who could facilitate a repair (likely I was probably hoping Ozzie would just send me one of the new gloves). Anyway, I never did hear back from Ozzie. But apparently Rawlings started making those Trapeze gloves again, maybe revived because of Ozzie (someone here probably knows exactly when and why Rawlings revived them, all I know is that they were NOT in their 1977 catalog).
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Postby mudman » July 25th, 2008, 8:59 pm

What a neat story. I think I would put that one on the shelf also.
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Postby RedSoxFan81 » July 25th, 2008, 9:44 pm

Straight to the shelf ! Yeah, I definitely think you should give it a nice place on the shelf or some kind of display case etc. Like the other post said, it's truly priceless not just because of the autograph, but because of the whole experience. Congrats, I've always wanted to do something like that.
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Postby dapert » July 25th, 2008, 10:25 pm

If you ever use that glove again we will all hunt you down. Straight to the trophy case with it. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. In fact shell out $200 for a new gamer. That glove is priceless. Not only is it signed but he wore it. Too bad you couldn't have gotten him to use it for some grounders.

My hero growing up was Ryne Sandberg and if I was in that spot with him I'd have the glove sealed in a plexi case never to be touched by human hands again.

You lucky dog. What an awesome story.
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Postby WMD_172 » July 25th, 2008, 10:46 pm

since you put it on your shelf, do all white, round objects in your house get sucked into the pocket of it? Or does it simply smell like excellance?
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Dude!

Postby Cowboy7130 » July 26th, 2008, 12:32 am

:shock: On the shelf! :shock: No question! :shock:

Wow, wow, wow ...
Yes, I still have my first glove.
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Postby Yorick » July 26th, 2008, 1:52 am

Awesome stuff!
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Postby A. Freund » July 26th, 2008, 5:27 am

I'd have to retire it as well.

Ozzie Smith and George Brett are my top 2 favorite (modern day) players. I would have loved to been in your shoes that day!
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Postby DT » July 26th, 2008, 1:38 pm

Thanks for the advice guys - I've officially retired my Ozzie Smith autographed PRO12TC. I haven't put it on a shelf yet, as I still like putting my hand in it and remembering how cool Ozzie was, but I'm no longer practicing with it or actively breaking it in anymore.

And my new PRO12TC is on it's way from Don Morton's as we speak!!
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Postby rmiller » July 26th, 2008, 5:29 pm

I congratulate you on your decision! I have of a couple of questions:

Why only one shot to turn the DP? Was that a time thing or something? And did they really stick to it- did anyone not turn it, but get a second chance?

How great and ironic it is that you got to hang out with George Brett almost 25 years, to the day, of the pine tar incident, as Goose Gossage is being inducted! Wow!

On a side note, how funny, and ironic that Gaylord Perry tried to make off with the bat before it could get sent to the league. What a classic moment! Here’s a story and a clip of the incident in its entirety:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd ... p&c_id=mlb
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