Fan Encounters > Doug F.

In 2006, I took a day trip from Birmingham, AL to St. Louis, MO with one mission, get Tommy Glavine's autograph on a baseball. I didn't care about the Mets-Cardinals game nor much for their new stadium, because I knew this could be one of my last chances to get my all time favorite player's autographs. While he was throwing with his catcher the day after his start, I waited patiently until they were finished. He disappeared underneath me but I could tell he was still there based on the other fans behavior. At the time, I was 35 years old, but I decided to embarrass myself if necessary to get what I had come for.

I announced that I had flown into town and then begin yelling out exactly why he became my baseball hero. It involved an ugly game in June 1991 against the Phillies where the other team kept beaming Otis Nixon. Glavine, in the top of the 5th inning, did not hit my childhood hero Dale Murphy, but did throw four inside pitches that Murphy did have to back up to avoid and without any fanfare, Glavine walked off the field without even looking at the umpire who ejected him. Protected his teammate and didn't beam an Atlanta icon and gave up a probable win with a 4-0 lead. You have to remember in June 1991, Atlanta was a .500 ballteam and wins weren't coming to Braves pitchers so easily due to lack of run support.

After yelling out this story, a smiling Tom Glavine peeked up at me and playfully asked, "You remember all of that?" I'm not sure if this encounter did not send up any red flags in his head, me being in my mid-thirties and holding on to such a miniscule piece of his career that impacted me so profoundly, but before the day was over I'm sure he didn't feel stalked. I held up the ball, dropped it and a pen to him and he signed my baseball.

About twenty minutes later, I walked over to the Mets dugout where he was signing some other balls and he noticed I was taking pictures of him. He gave me a wry grin and said, "Hey Birmingham, let's get a picture together." So I made it up to him, put my arm around him and we got two photos of the two of us. He suggested us take a second just to be safe.

Could the man have shown more class or been more gracious to me, a grown man and not a child? I do not see how. Total class, "The Glavinator".

To view a photo from the meeting, click HERE.