As a kid, part of the fun of going to a Sox game — besides watching Uncle Pete get drunk and try to punch out clergymen — was getting in early enough for batting practice. Because that’s when the autographs happen. Or attempts at procuring autographs, anyway.
I was hardly what you’d call an autograph hound, but I did manage to secure a few special John Hancocks back in the day. In no particular order, the most memorable include:
1) Dennis Eckersley: I handed the Eck my pen and my Sox yearbook. He started to sign, then realized my pen was out of ink. He continued to scratch his name into the page, exaggerating his movements to accentuate the fact that, yeah, my pen was dry and I’d pretty much f–ked up my golden moment. Thanks, Eck.
2) Wade Boggs: The Chicken Man was but a rookie called up to replace a gimpy Carney Lansford when I got his sig. I’ve already picked out the retirement home on the Cape I’ll be buying once I cash in this sucker.
3) Luis Aponte: Didn’t actually get the autograph, but had this marvelous exchange as I spied Luis near the Sox parking lot:
Me: Hey, Luis Aponte!
Luis: No Englais.
Me: Can you please sign my yearbook?
Luis: No Englais [starts walking away].
Me: [holding out pen] Can you just sign right here?
Luis: [shifts to slight sprint.]
Me: You f–kin’ tool.
4) Reid Nichols: One of my sisters briefly broke from her Dwight Evans obsession [ask her about how she somehow connected with Dewey’s hair dresser to obtain a handful of his locks] to latch onto Reid Nichols, an early ’80s utility guy. She wrote him a letter and within days, a response arrived, along with a signed black and white photo. This locked me on to a new strategy: go after the lesser-known utility guys.
5) Jack Brohamer: Two weeks later, the aforementioned strategy pays off!
Okay, those are mine. Yours?