Hank

My favorite baseball player as a kid was Hank Sauer – left fielder for the (then) hapless Chicago Cubs.  I tried – desperately – to get his autograph.   My dad would take me to Wrigley Field and I’d gallop down the steps to troll for autographs.  I remember one day Hank was walking a few feet away.  I screamed at him “Hank!  Hank!  Mister Sauer!”  He looked at me like I was a 9 year old lunatic.  And walked on. . . . . 

Some years ago, I had an article published which talked about Hank and how I was never able to get his autograph.  Someone read the article and sent me a note that Hank was living in Milbrea, California.   The address was included.  Sooooo, I sent him a letter – including a copy of the article. And I mentioned that I was his biggest 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 (a few signed), original baseball cards and. . . .  a priceless handwritten sentiment – “To Scott – my best Chicago fan.”   

Hank passed away in August 2001.  But I will always relish the fact that I “hit the high note” in my autograph collecting career.  It wasn’t a George Washington letter.  Or Henry VIII.  I got Hank Sauer. . . .