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Not Just Another Autograph

December 31, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I've never been an autograph seeker. I'd much rather shake the hand of someone famous as to get his John Hancock. Being able to tell friends and family that I met the famed... is more my style than showing someone a signature that might sell for a few dollars down the road.

I have one autographed picture that is pretty special. My best friend did business with former big leaguer Bobby Thomson. His immortal home run that had the world singing "the Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant", was one of the most famous in baseball history. My buddy had him sign a large photograph of the historic moment. It was complete with the following message: Ralph Branca asked, "Why me?" I guess I could say the same thing "Why me?" Branca, of course, is the Brooklyn Dodger pitcher that gave up the homer.

Until this Christmas, Thomson's autograph was the only one I had. Now I have one, or should I say a few more.

As a Christmas present, my daughter gave me a T-shirt. As I opened the box, I saw a white shirt with a red 21 on the front. A couple of cards with Trevor Bayne's picture and the #21 Wood Brothers car that he drives, made me suggest that I could become a Bayne fan. My daughter suggested that I turn the shirt over.

On the back were the autographs. The shirt was signed by both Glen and Leonard Wood - the famed Wood Brothers. Glen was inducted into the Nascar Hall of Fame in 2012. Leonard will follow this spring. Their names along with those of Glen's family; wife Bernece, sons Len and Eddie, daughter Kim Wood Hall and a few others from the race shop had me smiling from head to toe.

My daughter had some contacts in Lynchburg, Va. where she is the promotions director for the Lynchburg Hillcats minor league baseball team. They helped her get this very special Christmas gift for her dad. All it would take was a phone call from the Hillcats offices, she was told. The Wood Brothers, the oldest continuous race team in Nascar, and their families are very nice people. That is a fact and I'm now on cloud nine.

The view from my seat suggests that when one gets a shirt for Christmas that they won't ever wear, it would normally be a bad thing. No way! This shirt will be framed and placed alongside my other keepsake, thanks to my daughter and the entire Woods family.


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