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  #1  
Old 04-27-2021, 07:47 PM
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Default Share a time you met a famous athlete...

...and played it cool like you didn’t know who they were or didn’t make a scene.


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  #2  
Old 04-27-2021, 08:13 PM
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Walking around the Coliseum...especially in those terrible years...you’d bump into former Isles all the time. Gillies, I was like a school girl, but I was like 15 or 16 at the time. The others, cool as a cucumber.

In the mid 90s, I was in an empty bar in midtown. I was in my 20s. I went downstairs and who is playing pool? John Tonelli. We were both trashed so we went to the pay phone and called my dad at 2am. I ran into him a year ago and told him we did that and he thought it was funny as heck.

Ran into Daryl Strawberry at the Coliseum about 10 years ago. He was promoting a car wash product or something. I walked by him and gave him a head nod. So, at the Coliseum, we had the best seats in the arena (to see a game). Maybe the best seats in the NHL. Section 205 - Row K - Seats 13 and 14 on the aisle. Who do they usher in next to us? Daryl Strawberry. He sat next to dad for a period and they Kibitzed a bit. Very friendly guy.
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2021, 08:17 PM
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I was in a crowd that Arnold Palmer waved at once.
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Old 04-28-2021, 12:02 PM
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I've really only met a couple big names, and played softaball with a sort of star from another sport

Bob Feller was pitching a home run derby in the minor league park near where I lived in Jr High. Dad took me to see him. H was still pretty fast.
After, he came up in the stands with a stack of 8 1/2x11 picture/stat sheets that he signed. Being shy I was pretty much the last kid in line. which meant that when he asked about baseball, I got to sit with him a while. Other kids came for more autographs, which mostly ended up as paper planes being thrown all over. I asked if that bothered him, and he just said kids usually did that stuff and as long as they had fun he was happy.
Then the 2nd game started, and he explained the pitchers strategy etc, for maybe 2 innings before he had to go talk with the boring grownups.

It was years later that I realized just how cool that was.

Brooks Robinson I met at a Sports Illustrated hospitality suite when I was 13. He asked if I wasn't a little young for the hospitality suite and thought it was cool that dad had brought me there, we talked baseball for a couple minuets, and when one of the semi drunk adults complained about holding up the line he gut up and loudly said "hey! I'm talking to a kid about baseball, you can wait"
So I didn't make the big deal, but he sort of did. He had backup from the two football players SI also had there.
(cool setup, three sports figures, they gave you a special picture sheet with all three, and you could get their autographs and talk to them for a bit.
From what dad said about the other times, after the initial rush they circulated around the room. (except for one of the football guys one year who basically sat in a recliner drinking and being grumpy. )

The one I played softball with was a gold medal winner in womens hockey. I never really thought of it as a big deal she was a teammate, and a fantastic player even outside her best sport. One of those players that makes everyone better just being there.
The things that just don't sink in as being sort of a big deal until much later...
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Old 04-28-2021, 01:13 PM
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Downplayed, ok.

In the 1990s in Las Vegas my wife and I were staying at the Venetian. We went to have breakfast in the spa and sat at the counter. A man sat down next to my wife and they started chatting. He then introduced himself: "Kenny Smith, Houston Rockets." I shook his hand and said my name and "Lakers Fan." He thought it was hilarious.
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2021, 01:35 PM
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I played black jack at a table in Atlantic City with James Worthy once. He sat in for about 15 minutes, pissed everyone off, and left.

How did he piss everyone off? He kept hitting bust cards while everyone told him not to.
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Old 04-28-2021, 01:58 PM
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I met '80s WWF star the Honky Tonk Man while we were in line to board a plane. He seemed kind of sad, in his holey track suit and weathered duffle bag.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2021, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
I played black jack at a table in Atlantic City with James Worthy once. He sat in for about 15 minutes, pissed everyone off, and left.

How did he piss everyone off? He kept hitting bust cards while everyone told him not to.
I played poker with Damon Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers once at a casino in Lake Charles.

Everyone loved him. It was just a regular table (not high stakes), but he kept buying in for $1000 at a time, over and over again. He would chase stupid stuff. One hand, we were heads up and he was chasing something stupid (I can't remember, but probably like an inside straight or something) and I had him beat from the flop. So, I bet hard on the flop, turn and river and he ended up rivering me. I swear I think that was the only hand he won that night, but it cost me a lot.
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Old 04-28-2021, 02:09 PM
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I played poker with Damon Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers once at a casino in Lake Charles.

Everyone loved him. It was just a regular table (not high stakes), but he kept buying in for $1000 at a time, over and over again. He would chase stupid stuff. One hand, we were heads up and he was chasing something stupid (I can't remember, but probably like an inside straight or something) and I had him beat from the flop. So, I bet hard on the flop, turn and river and he ended up rivering me. I swear I think that was the only hand he won that night, but it cost me a lot.

Haha nice. It was weird "competing" with an athlete but like you I was at a low stakes table. I don't know what Worthy did the rest of the night but I think the whole table was glad he did it elsewhere.
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Old 04-28-2021, 02:23 PM
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Haha nice. It was weird "competing" with an athlete but like you I was at a low stakes table. I don't know what Worthy did the rest of the night but I think the whole table was glad he did it elsewhere.
I play a little blackjack too (but mostly poker) and there is nothing more frustrating that someone who doesn't know how to play and keeps taking the dealer's bust card.
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Old 04-28-2021, 02:40 PM
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Late 80's, my wife and I were attending a business conference in Hawaii. We were staying at the same hotel as most of the players in that weekend's Pro-Bowl. Saw many players coming and going from the hotel, but kept it to a nod or head-shake.

One day, we were sitting at a table in the outside bar area with some friends. My wife noticed several people coming over to the table next to ours and asking to take a picture with the person sitting there. My wife asked me why they were doing that. I explained, that was Walter Payton and he was a record-breaking football player. My wife, not being shy, started a conversation across tables, telling him how nice it was that he was so friendly with all the people coming up to him and how it couldn't be easy being constantly interrupted. He thanked her and they had a brief conversation. One part I remembered, was he told her that he had a choice in these situations - he could sit in his room and stare at the walls or he could go outside and make some fans happy. He chose to make some fans happy. Just a truly nice guy who passed too soon.
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Old 04-28-2021, 03:12 PM
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Back in the late 1970s, I was with my parents (I was around 15-16 years old) at a shopping mall department store in San Diego County. I looked over at, IIRC a jewelry counter, and saw Rollie Fingers standing there, maybe 15-20 feet away.

Also, at either the 2013 or 2015 National in Chicago; I was at Gibson's Steakhouse, and Mike Eruzione and a couple of his 1980 Olympic teammates came in and sat at the table right next to me.

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  #13  
Old 04-28-2021, 03:23 PM
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Piggybacking off Steve- I think that National was 2014 Chicago. I took my son to Gibson's Steakhouse after the show and we sat 20 feet away from Bobby Hull! I had to explain how cool the "Golden Jet" is, and how revered he is in Chicago. My son asked if we should get an autograph and I said "Nah, just let him eat". Our waiter said we just missed Phil Esposito too. Trent King
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Old 04-28-2021, 03:38 PM
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I shook hands with Phil Rizzuto as he was walking through a banquet hall before an autograph show.
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  #15  
Old 04-28-2021, 06:54 PM
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I met Bobby Murcer at an Arcade Game in Seaside Heights NJ , He asked me if I had change for dollar and I said yes, Bobby Murcer autographed his dollar bill this was during the baseball strike in 1981 we were side by side at a shooting gallery . We talked for about 15 minutes

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Old 04-28-2021, 08:23 PM
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Orioles fan fest the one year, met Chris Tillman as he was coming out of the bathroom lol. Didn't realize it at first. Got an autograph.
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  #17  
Old 04-29-2021, 04:09 AM
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When I was a kid in the late 60's I used to deliver newspapers to former Red Sox pitcher Bill Spanswick. He was most famous for being on Tony Conigliaro's rookie card.
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2021, 08:56 AM
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I took my young daughter to the movies in Century City to see a Cosby film.
We happened to end up sitting in front of Magic Johnson. He recognized me before I recognized him.. My daughter was never convinced that it was him.

I’ve always felt glad that we were sitting in front of him, rather than behind him.
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:19 AM
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One of my track coaches in high school was a former Olympic sprinter (for Jamaica in 1992).

Not professional, but I used to work with a guy who tackled Antonio Brown in college; he was the kicker, Brown was the punt returner. We used to joke about that tackle was what made him start going crazy.

The judge that my mom used to clerk had paid his way through law school by playing minor league baseball in the Tigers organization. He never made the majors, but was a very well-respected judge.
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:15 AM
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Mid-80's, bought Freddie Solomon a drink when he was sitting at a near-by table in a San Francisco restaurant. As we were leaving, we passed his table, he stood up to thank us and we spoke for a few minutes. I patted his arm as we left, and it felt like I was hitting a brick wall. The man was solid muscle. And also, a down-to-earth guy. Also, passed too soon.
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:52 AM
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When I was young my dad would tell me that when he a young science student at the University of Minnesota he got to meet legendary Danish physics Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr, which for a science student is the equivalent of meeting a movie star of the President. My dad said that the Danish Bohr's accent was so thick he had no clue what Bohr was saying.

When my dad later had Alzheimer's, I told him about the incident and he could no longer remember it. He said "Is that true?," and I said, "Sure, you used to tell me about it often." He thought for a second then said "That's a pretty good story."
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Old 04-29-2021, 04:08 PM
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Bobby Murcer's dollar bill from Seaside NJ
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:22 PM
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In 2016, Mike Tyson attended the IBF convention in Beijing. I write for an English-language daily in China and had interviewed Iron Mike several times before. When I arrived at his hotel, there was a phalanx of security guards trying to keep a couple of thousand screaming fans at bay, but Tyson's people had left word that I was coming so after showing my credentials I was escorted to his suite. Mike was tired from the long flight and really in no mood to talk much, but invited me to accompany him and his entourage on a short hike on the Great Wall the next morning. I thanked him, but said I couldn't make it because I'd scheduled a sparring session for a young female boxer that I was training. "She can spar anytime," he said. "Bring her along."
At 10 the next morning, me and my fighter -- a 105-lb southpaw with a 3-0 pro record --boarded the bus with Tyson and his 14-man posse for the 90-minute ride to the Great Wall. Mike couldn't have been nicer, taking the time to ask my fighter about her goals and encouraging her to keep training hard. Our "hike" on the Wall was cut short because of the thousands of fans who showed up hoping to catch a glimpse of "The baddest man on the planet", but once again the security detail did a great job and we were able to spend about half an hour at the site. When we returned to the hotel, Mike invited me, my fighter and her father up to his suite, where he posed for photos with them and autographed two pairs of gloves.
My fighter retired in 2019 with a record of 8-2-2 (4 KOs), but to this day she says meeting Iron Mike is the greatest thing that ever happened to her ...
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:08 PM
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A few years ago I won a tour of Yankee Stadium for 4 with some unidentified "Yankee World Series Great". Had low expectations at to who it would be and it turned out to be Dwight Gooden. He was clearly out of shape and looked a little the worse for wear, but have to say he was a pleasure to be around. Posed for endless photos, took questions for like 45 minutes, and was just great with everyone, particularly the kids on the tour. I came out of it with some enhanced sympathy for his situation. He looked like he was still battling addiction and no doubt did it for the money, but he showed up and my take was that he was happy to be cherished for a day and treated like royalty. I asked him who the toughest batter he had to deal with in the majors and his answer was Chili Davis.

I've told this story on the main board but one Fathers Day I met Tom Seaver at Shea Stadium (prob last season at Shea) where he was signing balls on fathers day in the Mets clubhouse store behind home plate. Few people were online for a $99 autographed ball. Me and my son got to the front of the line and as he was signing it (never looked at us) I wished him a happy fathers day. He just looked up dismissively and glared at me and sarcastically said "thanks Dad..." and rolled the ball back to us across the table. Never acknowledged my son. The whole experience was a bit surreal. The only think I though of was that maybe he had just lost a child and was pissed off I mentioned fathers day. Not the case and I still can't figure out what that was all about. I realize he suffered from dementia later in life but I don't think that was what this was about.

Me and some coworkers met Keith Hernandez a Manhattan bar one night maybe a decade ago. He was very cool. He recommended a bottle of wine and we all had a glass. The whole time he kept calling over the bartender (young enough to be his son) basically commented on every hot female who came in and out of the bar. And even commented on a few who were there the night before. Was about what I'd expect from Keith.

Last edited by Snapolit1; 04-29-2021 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:17 AM
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Took a piss with Evel Knievel, no we didn't shake hands...
Don Larsen drank me under the table at a bar one night, yes we did shake hands...
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Old 05-03-2021, 07:45 AM
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1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm at 25. Didn't make a scene, just fed him some carrots and a gave him scratch on the forehead. Very approachable and down to earth...
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:19 AM
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1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm at 25. Didn't make a scene, just fed him some carrots and a gave him scratch on the forehead. Very approachable and down to earth...
But very long-faced.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:32 AM
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That was my favorite story.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:53 AM
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But very long-faced.
Speaking of Sarah Jessica Parker, I ran into Mathew Broederick at a bakery in the East Village about 10 years ago. Nonchalant acknowledgment on my end and he politely smiled back.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:20 AM
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1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm at 25. Didn't make a scene, just fed him some carrots and a gave him scratch on the forehead. Very approachable and down to earth...
But did you get his "hoofagraph?"
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
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Speaking of Sarah Jessica Parker, I ran into Mathew Broederick at a bakery in the East Village about 10 years ago. Nonchalant acknowledgment on my end and he politely smiled back.
OK, you made me laugh with that one, kudos to you!
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:48 PM
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Freshman in college, three of us bump into Herbie Hancock in a Radio Shack in Toledo.

I know, lamest story on here, but 30 years later I can't figure out: "What the heck was Herbie Hancock doing in a Radio Shack in Toledo??"
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Old 05-03-2021, 03:50 PM
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Maybe ten years ago I was crossing paths with a very tall woman walking in the Golden Corral in Jonesboro Georgia, as she got near I recognized that it was Lisa Leslie and she could tell that I knew who she was and looked very apprehensive that I would say something so I just looked away at that point. A few years after that I was at a KFC with a buffet in Smyrna Georgia that is now next door to the new Braves stadium, I was getting food from the buffet when Lex Luger in a wheelchair and another man got behind me. I'm pretty sure that Luger realized that I knew who he was but I don't think he cared, I wanted to say something congratulatory to him about Miss Elizabeth but I was afraid it would be awkward or taken the wrong way so I kept my mouth shut. They got rid of the buffet when the Braves began playing next door.
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Old 05-03-2021, 04:16 PM
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In 1966, the Braves' first season in Atlanta, my cousin, Whitlow Wyatt, the Braves' Pitching Coach, helped my fat young butt climb down into the Braves' dugout...where he presented me with an autographed team ball.

A few years later, I attended his daughter's wedding...that's me on the left:

1972 with WHITLOW WYATT.jpg
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Old 05-03-2021, 06:38 PM
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Peter Gammons spoke to my SABR chapter a few years back. Most guest speakers would show up maybe 15 min before they'd start speaking to us (usually shortly after lunch). Not Peter. He got there a few minutes after I did...about 15 min before the meeting started at like 9:30 or 10 AM. He stayed the whole day.

Just before the meeting, I walked over to get an autograph and tell him I enjoyed his writing...we ended up chatting for 10 min or so while the meeting got started. Very down to earth and you could tell he just loved baseball.

My SABR chapter is a hoot...twice a year at their meetings, I can say two things I can not usually say:

1. I'm the worst person in a crowded room at baseball trivia.

2. I'm the youngest person in the room. I'm in my mid-40's, but this groups has far more people over 70 than under. It's a fun group because you'll have someone talk about watching Bob Feller pitch in person, then reach into his wallet and pull out a well loved Feller card he's had since he was a kid.

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Old 05-03-2021, 08:45 PM
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At Richfield, MN high school around 1975, I was in the weight room at the leg press machine. After doing a bunch of reps, I was leaning forward, with my head resting on the support bar, waiting a minute before my next set. I heard this voice behind and above me say, "You trying to push it with your head?"

I slowly began to turn around as I said, "No, you dumbsh**" when I suddenly stopped.

Standing behind me, laughing, was Viking defensive end Bob Lurtsema.

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Old 05-04-2021, 05:46 PM
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JollyElm JollyElm is online now
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I've got two entertaining ones...

Mid 80's sitting in the Burger King in Huntington, NY, when the largest arm I have ever seen in my life reaches over me and grabs my friend's NY Giants wallet off of the table (he's a complete Giants nut). I immediately react, jump up and turn around to confront the thief, and who do I see? Mark frickin' Gastineau standing there with a huge grin on his face chuckling. He flips the wallet back on the table and says, "Ha! It's probably empty anyway." (For those of you out of the loop, he was a huge part of the New York Jets team, and there's an immense rivalry between Jets and Giants fans in the NY area.) My friend, thin as a rail, but a complete wise ass says, "Nope, it's loaded...from betting on Big Blue." It was one of the coolest moments ever, because he was teeming with gleeful personality. His wife was standing there smiling like crazy, and he had his baby daughter in his arms. Very, very cool.

Mid 90's, we're leaving the Islanders game and my friend points out that frickin' Carol Alt was sitting on the aisle a few rows up from us (we were stuck on the steps waiting for the lines of people to move). I say, "Hold on a moment." And just walk right up to her and say, "Hi, Ms. Alt. Big fan. My friends call me Elms. I'd love to take you out to grab a cup of coffee." She smiles warmly and replies, "That is so-ooo sweet." (In other words, she never actually answered my question.) We chat for a moment or two, and I leave being the only person I know who has ever asked out a super model.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:55 PM
mark evans mark evans is offline
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I recall two chance meetings with sports greats but can't claim to have been very cool.

In 1973, I interviewed for an associate position with an Atlanta law firm. At the day of my interview, the firm arranged for its client Hank Aaron to be at the office. We shook hands and I expressed my appreciation for his career. Hank struck me as a pretty serious fellow, at least in that setting. His new wife, however, I believe a tv personality, was vivacious and friendly. Epilogue: I didn't get the job.

I had two jobs in the federal government in the 90s that required me to attend congressional hearings. At one such hearing one of the witnesses preparing to testify was Jim Brown. I walked up to him, he was seated, and shook his hand and told him that I thought he was the greatest football player I had ever seen. He asked my name. He was quite serious, maybe because his attention was focused on his upcoming testimony which, if memory serves, was about his efforts to combat juvenile delinquency.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:56 PM
epike3 epike3 is offline
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Default Lanny McDonald

Lanny McDonald, Salt Lake City bar between Olympic hockey games. A fun guy to chat with about hockey, he was there to be a fan like everyone else.

What a great tournament, you could go to three games a day!!
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