Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jay Johnstone – Now how did I get that?

As a kid I watched Jay Johnstone play for my Phillies. While he may not have a Hall of Fame career I bet he’s remembered by fans on every team he played on. I remember him because he was funny and a character; just what every kid wants from a ball player.  It seemed the game of baseball was still a game for him.
One of my favorite memories of Jay Johnstone is only slightly baseball related.  It has to do with a commercial. He was doing ads for a local pool company in either Jersey or Pennsylvania.  If memory serves me right they were quirky and silly. Not Crazy Eddy silly but something a kid enjoyed.
In 1978 the Phillies traded Jay Johnstone to the Yankees.  I’m watching the Phils game and between innings a pool commercial comes on. There’s Jay Johnstone in a Yankees uniform and the first thing he said: Ha, Thought you got rid of me didn’t you?
How can you not like that?
As I’ve been collecting autographs, I have a special spot for the Phillies I watched growing up. And once I moved to Texas, it’s hard to get those players.  The few signatures I have mostly come from my mom and dad.
A few weeks ago I visited my parents for a weekend. As I carry the suitcase up to my room,  my eyes immediately notice the baseball on the dresser.   It’s sitting there innocently; not causing any trouble; minding its own business.   It’s not quite loitering but the radar pings and you need to be cautious.
What’s this baseball doing here?  It’s out of place.  My dad doesn’t toss the ball around anymore.  And it’s an official ball not some Kmart knock off. That’s a sweet ball for this neighborhood.  So while it might be profiling, I walk over to the ball. Slide up slow and non-aggressively.  It’s important to be cautions at times like this.  No sense rushing in and getting hurt.  I look around quick to see if anyone’s watching.  I pick up the ball. I see some ink. My eyes dart around the room greedily as I know I have a find. The signature is clear and easy to read.
With a big smile, I shout down stairs (it’s a very ‘Howard and his mom’ on Big Bang Theory moment), ‘So where the Johnstone autograph come from?’  No response but I hear some laughter.
I take the ball down with me and mom and dad are smiling. Dad tells me they don’t know where it came from. They thought maybe I sent it to them when I sent them some extra baseballs incase an opportunity comes up.
I’m pretty sure I’d remember getting this one.  So I don’t think I’d have forgotten getitg ity. And then to think I would send them an autographed ball by accident?  Mom and Dad are fairly certain they never met the guy either. Since we are all getting old, who knows whose memory is at fault?
So it’s a mystery. 
But the ball is in my grubby little hands now and I’m not letting go.

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