On January 26, 2013, I attended the 25th and final Joe Dimaggio Legends Game. Yes, I said final. This game benefits the Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hospital, and Ft. Lauderdale Stadium is in need of renovation. It was built in 1962, and is the former spring training home of the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles. Take a look:
The stadium had a fence instead of a padded wall going down the lines. Parts of the scoreboard don’t work. Half of the seats are faded, and there are zip-ties on some of them. I heard that the stadium, along with the football stadium next door, will be torn down, and the replacement will be a water park. Some of the bleachers were rusting as well.
My step-father, who I consider to be my father, took me to this game. We arrived an hour early, and the parking lot was already half-full. We got in line just in time though, because it was stretched across the parking lot when we entered the stadium. When we got to the field, we saw the only two Red Sox players released on the roster online (there was another player there, and I don’t remember his name. His number was 44): Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd and Bill “Spaceman” Lee. I had hopes of getting both of their autographs:
Lee walked over, and I called out his name. He ignored me. Boyd walked into the dugout. I called his name. He ignored me. Then, I noticed signing on the 3rd base side, and I ran over there. There was a big crowd, and my Dad kept telling me to give him the ball, and that he would get the autograph. I kept telling him that I could do it myself- in 2012, I managed 10.5 autographs per game! He didn’t really remember that. Here is the one autograph that I let my Dad help me get:
It is a Tommy Davis autograph. I tested the pens on a glossier baseball, so they worked fine. But they wouldn’t write on these. I ended up getting 5 autographs with the pen, and some others on sharpie. We got to sit down the 3rd base line. Here is the view of the scoreboard:
The view of the press box:
That little boy in the Yankees cap was probably angry that a Red Sox fan was a few seats down. I was decked out in Red Sox apparel.
Here was my problem with the game: It was a charity game, not a MLB or MiLB game. So there were no stats, no line-ups, and It really annoyed me. Plus, I DID NOT know what inning it was!!! The cool thing was that Boyd drove in Lee (Yes, I know that I am focusing on the Red Sox players- what do you expect? I’m a die-hard fan). I was sitting on the National League side, and I wanted Spaceman and Oil Can autographs. When they announced the bottom of the 9th, I ran over to the American League side. Let’s get to the best part- the autographs. Here are the other ones in pen:
This autograph is Bruce Aven. He played for the Marlins and the Indians. Here is him wearing an Indians jersey with a Marlins cap:
The guys in the background are Anthony Telford (the black uniform) and someone named “Batman”- he was an older one, but he wasn’t Adam West. I don’t know who the guy in the gray t-shirt is. Here is another one:
I don’t remember the top one, but he was number 28 for the Detroit Tigers. The one on the bottom was Bert Campaneris. He was wearing one of the old yellow A’s uniforms, and on the back, it said “Campy” (at least that is what I remember) with the number 19. Here is my second favorite:
This one is Jeff Conine. This one is my second favorite because I got this:
This is a better Jeff Conine autograph that I got on another baseball (in sharpie). I decided I would get the best Marlins players in history on this ball, and I decided to start with Juan Pierre. Anyways, here are some more:
This is pretty legible- Al Weis. He was wearing a Mets uniform. Another one:
This one is Steve Whitaker, who was wearing a Yankees uniform. He signed for a lot of people before he got to me, even though I was right there. I guess that’s because I was wearing Red Sox stuff. Here is another one:
On the top is Jackie Hernandez, who was wearing a Pirates uniform. He had trouble getting the ball to me- I was a little higher up than he was. On the bottom is “SID”- I don’t remember what his full name was. The PA announcer said that if anyone had sunscreen they should take it out to Left Field, where he was playing. He was badly sunburned. Sid was not a baseball player. Here is the last one (which I regret getting)-
Remember the “Batman” I was talking about? I thought he would sign his real name, but instead, he signed “Batman”. That made me a little disappointed.
The two Hall of Famers didn’t sign. Andre Dawson didn’t show up, although I believe he was in the American League dugout. Batman brought a photo into the dugout for a fan, and the autograph looked like Dawson’s. Orlando Cepeda said he would sign for me when he came back from a room that he walked into. The staff member nearby reminded him, and I guess he didn’t hear. The second time he came around, he walked past me.
The two Red Sox players didn’t sign for me. Bill Lee, who I saw 3-5 times, either didn’t hear me or completely ignored me. That made me regret not bringing a copy of one of his books- I’ll bet he didn’t see one at the game. Dennis Boyd ignored me the first time, and the second time I asked, he walked up to me and another fan. He only signed one autograph, because he had to get ready for the game.
Autographs: 9/10- my goal was 10, but I got 9. If you count, I got 11, but I am only counting the baseball autographs.
Baseballs- 0/0- I didn’t expect to get any baseballs, because this is a charity game.
The good thing that came out of Batman was the wristband that he was giving out. Not related to baseball, but it was free. Here is the other one:
The other one is the ticket stub. Yes, I consider these souvenirs.
The final score was:
American League Players- 6
National League Players- 4
This was a great game, and it would have been even better if the scoreboard worked and the stadium was in better condition.
Thanks for reading!