My favorite baseball player as a kid was Hank Sauer – right fielder for the hapless Chicago Cubs. I tried – desperately – to get his autograph when my dad would take me to Wrigley Field but the most I ever got was eye contact. I was screaming at him “Hank! Hank! Mister Sauer!” He looked me in the eye like I was a 9 year old lunatic.
A few years ago, I wrote an article talking about Hank and how I never was able to get his autograph. Someone read the article and sent me a note that Hank was living in Southern California. The address was included. Sooooo, I sent him a letter – including a copy of the article and talking about how I was his best fan in the world. A few weeks later, I arrived at my office one morning and there was a package on my desk. In the corner was a return address sticker shaped like a baseball. Between the stitching, it said “Hank Sauer.” My eyes filled with tears and I opened the package. Inside was a large album full of original pictures of Hank, original baseball cards and. . . . several autographs – “To Scott – my best Chicago fan.”
Hank passed away 10 years ago this month. But I will always relish the fact that I “hit the high note” in my autograph collecting career. I got Hank Sauer.