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Baseball fever

It’s February, which means that pitchers and catchers will soon report to spring training.

I have two housefuls of guests – another eight people shoved in here – so this will be a brief post.

The Fates conspire to tease me with baseball coincidences. First, in our never-ending organization of papers and boxes and shelves, Elvi presented me with a baseball in a baggie. It’s an official American League baseball stamped with Gene A. Budig’s signature. More curiously, it’s been signed in ballpoint, with a signature I could not read or recognize:

(I could not scan the ball. I didn’t even try. But the above is the same signature. I added the number, which is on my ball. Bow before my l33t Photoshop skillz.)

The Budig stamp dates the ball to 1994-1999, but I was stymied. I couldn’t read more than a letter or two. One of my houseguests took a look and said the first name was Roger.

Yup. It’s a Roger Clemens. He wore #21 on the Red Sox (till 1996) and the Blue Jays (1997 and 1998) so I can’t determine the year. Oddly, I have no recollection of getting this ball signed or from someone as a gift. Or even of stealing it.

It reminds me of another treasure I found. I was back in Montreal with my dad, 1989. We had furniture that we’d had since I was a baby, which been through two moves. I was looking through an end table drawer and at the back I found a Reggie Jackson rookie card from 1969 in perfect condition. There were no other cards in that drawer.

I can only imagine that I was a screaming three-year-old, and my mother bought me a pack of baseball cards to play with. Somehow that one pack contained a Reggie Jackson rookie card, and somehow that one card survived, somehow in near mint condition.

At the time, the heyday of baseball card speculation, I appraised the card as worth $400-$800. I gave it to my card-collecting little brother as a Bar Mitzvah present.

The second baseball coincidence of the last few days is a clip from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, which you can view here. “Some say a waste of time, others say an incredible waste of time.” Funny stuff. Love that banjo.

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