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  • #31
    My first autograph was one my Dad got me, Mickey Mantle signed a baseball when he met him in a restaurant in Dallas in the late 1960s. The first ones I got on my own were at a 1969 Kentucky Colonels-Washington Capitals ABA game. For the Colonels, Louis Dampier, Darrel Carrier, George Tinsley, Sam Smith. For the Caps, Rick Barry. Barry lives here in the Springs, neighbor to one of my medical partners who says she occasionally sees him in yellow Lycra tights, not looking so dignified for a guy in his seventies. We continued to get autographs after the occasional Colonels game the next few years. Artis Gilmore, at 7’2”, joined them after leaving Jacksonville. The first time my best friend and I went for his autograph, my friend said to me “whatever you do, don’t say ‘How’s the weather up there?’….they hate it when you say that!” Well, when I got to the front of the crowd, looking up from my 4’8” stance, what rolls out of my mouth but “How’s the weather up there?” I was mortified.

    First track autographs were Jim Ryun and Madeline Manning, I was a camper at the Jim Ryun Running Camp at Oberlin College August 1977. They signed a book for everyone. Missed a chance for John Walker’s. He and Rod Dixon ran in the Mason-Dixon Games February 1980, my senior year in HS. One of the head guys in the MDAC, Lou Schneider, was co-founder/owner of the first running store in Louisville, Jogger Runner Racer. The day before the meet, they took Walker and Dixon to the store. I knew the two guys who worked there, wish I had known Walker would be there, I’d have gotten my Montreal 1500 final poster signed. They said while he was there, he got a bit mellow and, looking around the store, simply said, “You know, I really like being in a running store.”

    Might have been MD Games 1979, Ray Flynn beat Liquori in the mile. After the meet, we spied the two of them doing a warm-down on the lower level concourse. My friends went charging after them, I tried to dissuade them from interrupting their warm-down. They asked Liquori for his autograph. He got a pretty irritated look on his face, maybe because they interrupted, but probably because Flynn had won the mile and they asked for Liquori’s but not Flynn’s.

    I never chased track autographs but my two kids did at two OT, two editions of Pre, and a London DL. Gatlin, Bromell, Merritt, Reese, Lowe, Crouser, Shorter, Moses, Eaton, Duplantis, Kovacs, Farah and probably others. It was fun saying, “Hey, see that guy over by the water? That’s Frank Shorter. Marathon gold and silver in '72 and '76. Go ask him.” Etc. I was there for several of them. At the athletes bus stop at the south end of Hayward after Pre, Gatlin was very standoffish but I remember Kovacs, as he was signing, looked at my kids age 15 and 13, and so very sincerely said, “Hey, thanks for coming out today!”


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    • #32
      My autograph story's not a particularly happy one. In 1968 I was 10 and Reggie Jackson was having an outstanding rookie season. Prior to my first yearly A's game (back then my Dad would take me & my younger brother to one A's game and one Giants game a year) Reggie was chatting with some old woman (probably about 45-50!) in the stands next to the dugout. I stood a respectful 15-20 feet up the stairs waiting for him to finish, then asked for an autograph. He dismissively blew me off and I hated Reggie for the rest of his career. And I've never asked another athlete for an autograph.

      That said, I do have three: sometime along the way my brother gave me a baseball signed by the 1988 All-Star MVP - A's catcher Terry Steinbach, and as an adult I was at Dell-sponsored boondoggle in a luxo box at an A's game where Dell paid Rollie Fingers & Goose Gossage to glad-hand us customers - we all walked away with a baseball signed by both.

      So to answer the OP's question - Terry Steinbach.

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      • #33
        bad hammy Too bad about Reggie. Guess he was always mercurial. You caught him on a "douche" day.
        You there, on the motorbike! Sell me one of your melons!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by DrJay View Post
          ..... The first time my best friend and I went for his autograph, my friend said to me “whatever you do, don’t say ‘How’s the weather up there?’….they hate it when you say that!” Well, when I got to the front of the crowd, looking up from my 4’8” stance, what rolls out of my mouth but “How’s the weather up there?” I was mortified.

          ...”
          Perhaps apocryphal, but I always like the story of the guy who supposedly asked Wilt that and his response was to spit on top of the guy's head and say, "It's raining"

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          • #35
            My older brother ran the quarter (about 50 flat his usual ) for Duke in 1960, and at the Penn Relays after running a mile relay, some kid asked for his autograph walking out of Franklin Field. The kid looked at it afterwards, with a disappointed look on his face. My bro had red hair, just like a famous sprinter from Duke, by then in Med school, but running an invitational 100 that day. Guess who the kid thought my bro was ? !

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            • #36
              Probably told this before: Jesse Owens was the speaker at my high school’s athletic banquet and I got his autograph. No idea where it is. My neighbor was a school reporter and interviewed him. She got a nice autograph for my older brother who ran track. He still has that since it was a long paragraph of inspiration plus autograph.
              Also got autographs after Millrose games at a nearby eatery. I approached a table with Amy Acuff, Chaunte Lowe, Jenny Adams, and a couple pole vaulters. They were very friendly.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by dukehjsteve View Post
                My older brother ran the quarter (about 50 flat his usual ) for Duke in 1960, and at the Penn Relays after running a mile relay, some kid asked for his autograph walking out of Franklin Field. The kid looked at it afterwards, with a disappointed look on his face. My bro had red hair, just like a famous sprinter from Duke, by then in Med school, but running an invitational 100 that day. Guess who the kid thought my bro was ? !
                The Great "I Am"

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                • #38
                  The problem with autographs is you often have no idea of whose they are, unless you make a note or attach it to a photograph. Some are just scribbles.

                  I do recall a funny story in Gotzis 2016. I was there with Flumpy and @mump , journalising 😁. One of them was convinced that the dark haired, willowy, 6ft+ woman giving out awards was former heptathlete Rita Ináncsi. He proceeded to ask for her autograph, which she politely gave with a smile. It turned out it was of course someone completely different, a Dr whose company were one of the sponsors. (who we childishly called Dr Oetker thereafter).

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                  • #39
                    Stan Musial was my childhood idol, and after a 1957 Dodgers-Cardinals game at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, I waited outside by the Cardinal's bus, hoping to get Stan's autograph. He was mobbed by a crowd of kids including me. He signed for none of us, but at least I got to touch him on his left wrist. How many of you ever got to touch Stan Musial on his left wrist ? Sadly, also my last trip to Ebbets Field, as the Dodgers skipped town to LA after that 1957 season along with their Polo Grounds counterparts, the Giants.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by dukehjsteve View Post
                      Stan Musial was my childhood idol, and after a 1957 Dodgers-Cardinals game at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, I waited outside by the Cardinal's bus, hoping to get Stan's autograph. He was mobbed by a crowd of kids including me. He signed for none of us, but at least I got to touch him on his left wrist. How many of you ever got to touch Stan Musial on his left wrist ? Sadly, also my last trip to Ebbets Field, as the Dodgers skipped town to LA after that 1957 season along with their Polo Grounds counterparts, the Giants.
                      Same feeling about THE legend Edwin Moses when I was 14... The simple fact to touch his shoulder as he was among the crowd in the stadium was like touching God. There was a sort of unreal mystic aura around this unique personality.
                      Last edited by 79; 01-10-2022, 04:51 PM.

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                      • #41
                        My one and only autograph was Billy Mills. He came to our HS my freshman year and gave a talk. I don't remember a word. Afterwards he was signing autographs. I didn't have any paper and he was mobbed, so I just went back to class. I couldn't stop thinking about getting his autograph, so I tore a blank page out of the back of my textbook and left class to go back to the auditorium. He was alone with the track coach and I got his autograph. He asked the coach if I was on the track team and he said yes. I was a 330yIH and had no idea what Mills' event was. Just that he was the best at one point in time, winning a Gold medal. I threw it away in my 20's when 'decluttering'.

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                        • #42
                          I had two in my life. The first was at Modesto, where I’d gone to see the mile competition, which had even been written up on the cover of Sports Illustrated, as a clash between Herb Elliot and Dyrol Burleson. I was watching Elliot warming up when I was approached by another athlete, who asked whether I’d help him to pin in his competition number. Of course, I helped, and learned that his name was Jim Beatty, and I asked him to sign the latest issue of T&F News. Strangely, that issue, with his autograph, was mailed to him just a few months ago!
                          My second and last autograph was also at Modesto, this time from Peter Snell! I had with me a photo of Snell that I’d purchased from T&F News that depicted Snell in the Rome 800m final, probably about 120 m from the finish, and Snell was very gracious in signing it just minutes before running a mile against Beatty and a great field, in which he exploded into a fantastic sprint over the last 200 m.
                          Another encounter with a famous person ( no autograph) came when my plane landed at SFO, and I was walking up the ramp to the terminal, and I saw a familiar face, and for a moment, thought it belonged to someone I knew, and I was trying to remember his name and say hello. It was Joe DiMaggio, and he got a laugh because he read the story in my face!

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                          • #43
                            Kimani, J Torres, Ritzenhein, & Slattery signed my program after the 5000m at 2002 NCAA outdoors. Not sure which of them signed first, so we'll call it a tie.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Atticus View Post

                              others (would have really liked) - Bob Seagren, Skeets, TSmith&JCarlos, Moses (the hurdler, not the tablets dude), R
                              You'd really rather have Moses the hurdler than Moses the tablets dude?

                              That sort of boggles.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by tandfman View Post

                                You'd really rather have Moses the hurdler than Moses the tablets dude?

                                That sort of boggles.
                                Well, if it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity then I'm there . . .

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