Last week's article on Rich Buhrke and his collection of 876 major league baseballs set us to wondering what sort of memorabilia our own staff has been squirreling away over the years. The survey we conducted didn't turn up 876 of anything, but there was some pretty good stuff. For example:
A long-haired Chihuahua bred by Emperor Haile Selassie, which became a gift to Virginia Kraft.
Handful of Woodbine racetrack, given to Demmie Stathoplos after Secretariat ran his last race on it.
Australian Ralph Doubell's running shirt, "in which he may or may not have won the gold medal in the 800 meters in the 1968 Olympics"—Anita Verschoth.
Silk scarf given by Enzo Ferrari to Kenneth Rudeen for his wife Anne.
Cartridge cases from bullets, fired by Hurricane Jackson and Ernest Hemingway, that just missed Coles Phinizy.
"About a ton" of bricks from the old Yankee Stadium, forced upon Ray Kennedy, a Yankee-hater.
Tennis ball signed by Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, a letter from a dog and a photograph of himself dressed as a lobster—Curry Kirkpatrick.
The forearms of one of Don Drysdale's undershirts, and second base from the Polo Grounds—Robert Creamer.
Jack Nicklaus' U.S Open sun visor (1967) and the stick Bobby Orr used when he became the first defenseman to score 30 goals—Mark Mulvoy.
One roller-derby suit and a Harlem Globetrotter uniform, which look snappy on Frank Deford.
One Japanese sumo wrestling schedule, handsomely framed and hung in Jerry Cooke's bathroom—upside down, as he was finally informed.
Two broken Stan Musial bats and one straw University of Texas Longhorn, circa 1963, the latter a gift from new writer Dan Jenkins—Roy Terrell.
Scrapbooks, compiled by her mother, on all Red Sox games from 1940-43 plus an autographed picture of Joe Cronin—Melissa Ludtke.
Hockey puck, given away on Hockey Puck Night, by the Cincinnati Royals—Peter Carry.
A bunch of 1964 World Series tickets. Phillies World Series tickets—William Leggett.
Two T shirts, one from the 1972 Olympics, saying, ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOULD, and the other, FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE original, with the fuzzy red letters—Gilbert Rogin.
Finally, there are the lost souvenirs: Barbara La Fontaine's gold cat pin, the one Sonny Liston gave her when he bought a pin for his wife Geraldine and didn't want Barbara "to feel left out," stolen years later in New York. And the beer stain on Mike DelNagro's rug, "roughly the size of a squash racquet," the result of Ralph Kiner's dropping a can of Budweiser the night he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. "When I married Mary, she had the super throw away the rug while I was in Houston," says DelNagro. And for years Jerry Tax has recalled having had a watch that once belonged to Kid Gavilan, but when he checked out the dates he realized it could not have been Gavilan's, and can't remember whose it was. Now that's losing something.
"In a boomerang contest on Washington, D.C.'s Mall," says Jeannette Bruce, "I once won a genuine stuffed koala bear for being the only person to be hit a total of five times by descending boomerangs. When I boarded the shuttle back to New York, there was a very tight security check. The reason was that Senator Ted Kennedy was going to be on the flight. From my capacious handbag I withdrew a knife, a plane, a screwdriver and a misshapen piece of wood—a boomerang in its initial stages. The security people let me keep everything, since I suppose I looked harmless. Senator Kennedy sat next to me. He was carrying a loaf of Italian bread and a hunk of cheese."