This afternoon we took a break from watching football and did some work in our yard. Our neighbor, John, was out raking leaves and when he stopped to say hi to our dog, Bernie, we started talking over the fence.
John is a die-hard Cleveland fan and he comes by it naturally. His dad was also a Cleveland fan and passed down a few true gems to John including souvenirs from when the Indians won the 1948 World Series. He calls his collection his shrine and I offered to give him a few candles to light when the games begin on Tuesday night.
We have a sports room that is full of our favorite memorabilia. Dozens of bobbleheads line the ledge around the room along with glasses, photos, and a Jose Mesa and Kenny Lofton Wheaties box. Pictures, pennants and team shop items fill the walls.
Don’s all-time favorite item is an autographed Joe Thomas jersey. We met Thomas last spring at a Gander Mountain grand opening. Joe is an outdoorsman and the nine-time Pro-Bowler was out fishing when he was drafted into the NFL! The signing was a perfect setting for him to sit and chat with his fans while signing autographs and taking photos. He was easy to talk to and made us feel comfortable, even though we were both a little star struck.
It is impossible for me to choose a favorite piece of memorabilia! I have so many favorites and they all bring back wonderful memories. My “Slider Sal” has a button that when pushed is my daughters saying happy birthday and they love me. Christmas gifts from the team shop include pictures and ornaments – how can someone choose their favorite item?
I would have to say that one of my favorites is an authentic autographed Carlos Carrasco jersey that I won at the Indians fan appreciation game last year. Don was paying attention to the jumbotron and saw my seat number listed as a prize winner, so we say it is “ours”. Carrasco was pitching that day which made it even more special.
My Dad also has a favorite game souvenir. A few years ago, several of us went to see the Indians play Detroit. About halfway through the game, Don’s son – who was just a little guy then – was restless and bored and wanted to walk around. I volunteered to walk around the stadium with him and we ended up in a really long line in the team shop.
When we finally got back to our seats, my Dad was so happy and excited. One of the Tigers players threw a ball up into our section, it bounced off of MY seat, and my Dad was able to grab it before the lady in front of him got a hold of it. He loves that ball. It is in a labeled plastic case and is usually in his safe. When we go to Arkansas it is on proud display where everyone can see it, and when they come to Ohio the ball comes too. That ball could have been mine…and maybe it would have been my favorite memorabilia!