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This following is a story I wrote about one of my 1999 Major League Baseball All Star FanFest encounters. This story was published on the "OACC" website, and I'm proud to share it with you here. Although I wrote it in third-person, the person is me:

It's the Memory that Counts

Not too long ago at a big sports show, a big fan of baseball waited patiently in line to see, meet and get autographs of some of Baseball's all time greatest players. What a thrill to stand face-to-face with some of the legends of the game!! Waiting in line for 2+ hours wasn't even a question. With a souvenir hat in one hand, a silver sharpie in the other, it was nearing time for just a few seconds that would immediately become a lifetime memory.

As each of the players sitting at the table took their turn signing the hat, it was obvious that there was a problem with the paint pen. It just wasn't putting out the ink right, making for some faint, scratchy autographs. Next to last at the table was HOF'er and Baltimore Orioles Great Brooks Robinson. As he tried to sign the hat, he too had problems with the pen. As he finished he looked up and remarked, almost apologetically, how the signature did not come out so well. Without hesitation, the fan returned the gesture, saying: "It's no big deal; it's the memory that counts!". With that, a big smile appeared on Brook's face. With no other words being exchanged, the look on the faces of both the fan and the Baseball Hero were enough; sincere gratitude as well as a true appreciation for the moment on both parts.

Last in line was HOF'er and 500HR member Harmon Killebrew. He too remarked that his signature didn't come out so well. But before he had a chance to say anything else, Brooks Robinson leaned towards him and said "it's the memory that counts" with the same appreciation and admiration with which he had heard it said to him a few moments earlier. Upon returning the hat, Harmon held out his hand for a firm handshake.

The moment was complete. Over 2 hours of waiting resulted in but maybe only a few minutes of moving along a table and meeting some of our National Pastime's Greats. And while the the line was long, the standing tiring, and the autographs a little sloppy, it was all PERFECT because "it's the memory that counts"!! :)

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