Fan Encounters > Gmwnj1

I've been a Braves fan since I was 8. That's over 40 years and although I've never lived in either Milwaukee or Atlanta, I've managed to keep on top of being a close fan. Over the years I've had the pleasure of meeting many of the players, mostly in and around the ball park and as the visiting team in NY and Philly, most of them are fairly cordial. One of the best, and my all time favorite is Tommy Glavine. I first met Tom back in 1989, had the chance to chat with him for a few minutes before a ball game and just say hello. As the years have worn on, I get to talk with him every season as he comes to NY and Philly. Each time I meet him, I feel how much he is a throwback to the ballplayers of my youth. The kind that played the game and would have done so for free. The kind you could identify with, you know, not the biggest and strongest, but the kind who played the game with so much heart that they beat you with their sheer will to win. They were undaunted and you could do nothing but respect them. They respected the game and they respected the fans. Tom is that kind of man and ballplayer.

The experience I remember most was Tom signing some autographs for a bunch of us in Philly. As he wound down and prepared to go back to the dugout before the start of the game, he noticed one little boy, no more than 5, sorta holding back a few tears because he wasn't successful at getting in between the crowd of people getting Toms attention. Suddenly, Tom stopped and picked up a baseball, and I noticed him signing the ball. Without a second thought he walked right over to boy and handed him the baseball. I happened to be standing only a few feet from the two of them and witnessed the event. As the boy, wide eyed squealed with delight, he ran up the stairs holding the ball for dear life. At that moment my eye caught Tom's...I just smiled and so did he as he turned around to head on to the dugout. A tear came to my eye, as I searched for the little boy who I could see @ 35 rows above me showing his now prized possession to what appeared to be his Mom and Dad. I thought to myself, that's something that he'll always remember and so will I. What does it cost to make a moment like that. . .only to understand where the game has come from and where its going, and to understand how important it is to understand that even if you make millions. . . Thank you Tom, not only for you heart, skill and determination....but for being someone that a 5 year old as well as a 49 year old can look up to.