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good topic today, jim. your experience with terry puhl reminds me of my own experience with rollie fingers.

i was probably about 8 years old when, before a game between the indians and a's, i was at the indians dugout trying to get an autograph (likely rick manning's). being the home club, the area around the tribe's dugout was quite crowded, so i decided to go to the a's dugout since there were only a couple of kids there. none of the players were out yet, so i just kind of hung around watching batting practice. then i saw rollie in the dugout. he noticed me and said 'how ya doin?" i was the only one there, so i excitedly said "hi, mr. fingers! can i get an autograph?" he said "sure, kid!" and took the baseball and pen i had in my outstretched hands. he signed the ball, thanked me for coming to the game and said "have a good time!"

it's amazing that such a quick exchange as that made me a lifelong rollie fingers fan. sadly, i lost the ball he signed since baseballs weren't too easy to come by when i was a kid, so we used everything we had -- even if it was a big ol' ball of duct tape or an old tennis ball. i'm pretty sure the ball i gave him to sign was a 99 cent drug store special that turned into an egg by the third time it was hit, but the memory was priceless. thanks, rollie!


Oops... forgot to add my faves (the vast majority of which are from my home teams):

MLB: Omar Vizquel (SS - Indians). H.O.F. bound. So glad I got to see him play as much as I did.

Honorable mention: Jim Thome (1B - Indians), Sandy Alomar Jr. (C - Indians), Kirby Puckett (OF - Twins), Joe Charboneau (OF - Indians)

NFL: Clay Matthews (LB - Browns). A fixture on the Browns' defense for over a decade. Dependable, consistent and tough.

Honorable mention: Bernie Kosar (QB - Browns), Felix Wright (S - Browns), Eddie ("The Assassin") Johnson (LB/ST - Browns),

NBA: tie Mark Price (G - Cavs) and Brad Daugherty (C - Cavs). Larry Nance (F - Cavcs) and Craig Ehlo (F- Cavs) are extremely close seconds. As you can probably tell, the Cavs of the late '80s are my favorite. I only wish they'd hung onto Ron Harper.

Honorable mention: LeBron James (F - Cavs), Bingo Smith (F/G - Cavs) and Michael Jordan (G - Bulls)

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