Meeting Your Heroes
By – TheCornwellFamily
It has come to my attention in the sporting world that the players of today are a total different breed then the players of yesterday. I have had the pleasure of going to several major sporting parks for games (baseball and football) in my 47 years. For the past 15 years I have seen the decline of interaction between the fan and the player.
Close to my house in Iowa is the Bob Feller Museum. He tends to bring in 5-6 HOF players a year to sign autos for a fee that goes to the upkeep of the museum. Six years ago one of the players was my childhood favorite, Billy Williams, so off to the museum my sons and I went.
It was 5 dollars a signature and my boys , 14 and 9 at the time, brought a glove and ball to have autographed by him and Bob Feller. My sons happened to be the only kids in the room with a mass of collectors that were bringing in cases of balls to be signed so I’m sure they could resale later. When we got to the front of the line, Mr. Feller and Mr. Williams got huge smiles on their face and began an animated conversation with my boys about playing baseball, asking them what positions they played and then they actually got up and Bob Feller showed them how to grip the ball for a better fastball.
Billy Williams took my sons glove and showed them the best way to catch a fly ball and how to come in on a grounder. This whole thing took over half an hour and in the meantime the people behind us were just made to wait. When the lesson was done they both refused the money for the autos and we went our way. To make a long story short, after that visit I came away realizing that maybe it wasn’t the players that had really changed but the fans. Now instead of being awed by the presence of our hero , we tend to look at an autograph as a money investment and not a memory that will last a lifetime. So, in our family abode is a cabinet of baseballs and pictures that are signed by the heroes of my son’s and my youth that are memories never to be sold and only remembered. So, when you see that player out and about, be a fan and not an investment broker and memories are worth a lot more than anything else.