I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, “pervert” and “repeat offender” among the most common. But the one that really stings is “pack rat.” So what if I’ve got old high school newspapers and empty Franken Berry boxes stacked up in my closets like cordwood? Some day, they might be worth something!

Still, this weekend, I tried to bring my place in line with local fire codes by cleaning up some of the detritus I’ve been clinging to, sorting it all by the stuff I can’t live without (printouts of that e-mail I got from Amalie Benjamin, etc.) and the stuff that I could gracefully part with (goodbye, Nada Surf press kits!).

That’s when I found ’em: a box of my Dad’s old Baseball Registers–those Old Testament-sized tomes full of team-by-team stats that the Sporting News used to publish back in the day (and may well still, for all I know).

My dad bought them when he was in his late teens and early twenties and held on to them when he married my mom, presumably to pass them along some day to me and my siblings although he may have been simply fortifying himself for any Whitey Ford trivia questions he anticipated in his future. Whatever the case, I remember growing up with these digests bulging from the book shelves. And I remember Dad sitting me down and showing me the Red Sox entries and talking about players he grew up watching. And how back in the day, when tickets weren’t as elusive as the Lost Ark, he could walk right over to Fenway after classes at Northeastern and catch a game. When Dad passed away in 2006, my mother gave them all to me.

So yesterday, I picked up a volume and started thumbing through it. And I found this:

It’s something I scrawled in the back of one of Dad’s books. Judging from the penmanship, I’d say I was probably about seven or eight (or maybe nineteen, if you asked any of my college professors) when I wrote it. And I can almost remember shuffling up to Dad and sheepishly admitting my crime.

So what did Dad do when he discovered that I’ve mussed up these books he’d been carrying with him for the last twenty years or so of his life? Get mad, toss a fit or threaten to sell me to gypsies? Nah. He just corrected my misspelling of “Yastrzemski.” And I haven’t forgotten how to spell it since.

Good guy, my old man. So I guess I’ll be hanging on to these books for the rest of my life as well.