A very special gift

Several times in this blog, I’ve mentioned the fact that my favorite ballplayer is — or, rather, was — Mike Mussina, newly retired pitcher for the Yankees (and earlier, the Orioles). Years ago, I had a web site dedicated to him, along with a discussion board. The web site itself is long gone (didn’t have time to keep the stats and photo gallery sections up to date), but the discussion board is still around. (We celebrated our 10th anniversary last month.) Mike himself knew about the web site and knows about my discussion board. Over the years, my board has hosted auctions to help raise money for his foundation, listed upcoming Mussina fan club events, and given his fans a place to hang out and talk about him in particular and the teams he played for in general.

As a member of Mike’s fan club since I first found out about it in 1997, I’ve attended 11 of his fan appreciation dinners over the years. The dinner that took place this past January was the final fan club dinner, since Mike has retired, and he did something at that dinner that absolutely blew me away.

To thank me for all of my efforts with my web site, discussion board, the fan club, and a video tribute I created for him, he presented me with one of his game issued gloves. He also gave my friend Doris a game issued glove to thank her for her own efforts in helping out with the fan club and the fan club dinners, as well as the gifts she’s given him over the years. The gloves were not game used, but they were the kind of gloves he used in games. Needless to say, Doris and I were completely shocked, amazed, touched, and thrilled beyond belief! We couldn’t believe he would do something like that for us, especially in front of the 200+ dinner attendees. My friend Linda got a photograph of the glove presentation:

thegift.jpg(I’m the short one in the middle.)

I was truly proud of myself for not (a) crying, (b) fainting, or (c) falling on my face as I walked back to my table with the glove in my hand!

A close-up look at the glove:

glove1small.jpgI already have quite a few other items autographed by Mike, so I really didn’t need another autograph. But, of course, I had to have him sign that glove.

glove2small.jpgI do wish I’d asked him to sign the edge of the webbing, or somewhere closer to where his name is stitched. But hey, I’m still pretty thrilled with this souvenir!

A lot of people view Mike Mussina as cold, aloof, and overly serious. The media defintely portrayed him that way. He was very serious and intense about his work. But those of us who got to know Mike through his fan club events (luncheons, dinners and meet & greets) know what a charming, friendly, kind, funny, and generous guy he really is. Mike wasn’t someone who spent a lot of time signing autographs before or after games, but he got close to his fans via his fan club luncheons and dinners (an annual event) and his two yearly meet & greets at Yankee Stadium and Oriole Park. When he played for Baltimore, he also took part in their annual FanFest event. Mike was definitely one of the good guys, who genuinely cared about his fans. The very special gift he gave to me (and to my friend) is certainly proof of that.

I will always treasure that glove.

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10 comments

  1. Jane Heller

    Wow! How fantastic that he gave you the glove (not that you didn’t deserve it after all the hard work you did on his behalf). I would have fainted for sure if he walked up and handed the glove to me in front of all those people. So exciting and so great that you have the photo as a keepsake.

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  2. flairforthedramatic

    I’ve always liked Moose. Can’t tell you how disappointed I was when he announced his retirement. [A little tear is going down my cheek right now, hehe] Kind of envious of you right now lol. šŸ˜‰
    p.s. Yankees and Nationals?.. weird mix, but cool =)
    – V [ http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com ]

  3. diamonddiva

    Jane, he actually didn’t walk up to us to give us the gloves. We had made a presentation to him, in honor of his retirement and his first 20-win season. When we were done, we turned to go back to ur seats, but he stopped us to say that he had something for us. I’d have been shocked enough if he had come over to our table to give us the gloves, but the fact that he did it they way he did was amazing and special…and slightly embarrassing!
    Sue, I do have the glove on the shelf where I want to display it, but unfortunately it’s still in a clear plastic bag because I haven’t yet bought a display case for it.
    Jenn, I’m totally surprised that I didn’t pass out!
    V, having followed Moose for most of his career, I, too, was very disappointed when he retired. But I understood why he did so, and he seems very happy with his decision.
    Elizabeth, I’m proud of me too for not doing any of those things. I’m also happy that I went to the bathroom before I went to the dinner…otherwise there could have been a very embarrassing situation………

  4. Abby aperfectgame.mlblogs.com

    Thanks for sharing your “warm” Mussina story. He’s one of my favs too. He stopped to take a pic with me on Sept. 21, 2008. I was one of those lucky fans that got some time on the field before the game. It was kind of him.

  5. diamonddiva

    You’re welcome, A Yankee Rose…and lucky you! That must have been quite a special night! I wonder if Mike felt any irony in the fact that the last game at Yankee Stadium — his final time at Yankee Stadium as a player — was against the Orioles. Hmmmm…….

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