The day started off poorly. I overslept and was running late on an overcast Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington. My breakfast sandwich was cold as I pulled away from the drive-thru window at the local fast food joint. No time to turn around, I needed to get to the baseball card show quickly! Edgar Martinez, legendary Seattle Mariners Designated Hitter, was scheduled to appear just a couple of hours from now. I had forty dollars in my wallet and was looking forward purchasing an autograph ticket, getting in line, meeting my hero, and having 'Gar sign my 2001 All-Star commemorative baseball. With a black sharpie pen in one coat pocket and a plastic "ball cube" in the other, I was ready to encapsulate my signed baseball and place it on the fireplace mantle that very afternoon upon returning home, where I intended to display my new treasured keepsake.
Words can't convey my disappointment in getting into the show only to discover that all tickets for the autograph session with Edgar, were completely sold out. Could this day get any worse?
Heading back to the car, feeling defeated as I made my way through the parking lot, imagine my surprise to see Edgar Martinez himself walking towards me. We made eye contact, smiled and each other, and I managed steel up the nerve and extend my hand and say "Hello!". The class act that he is, Edgar immediately shook my hand and returned my greeting. We talked briefly, I asked for an autograph, and he didn't hesitate in signing. It's a memory that I'll never forget.
Edgar is eligible to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. If he gets in, he'll be the first designated hitter to gain entry. If I had a vote, he'd already be there. I say that not because of the small kindness he extended my way thirteen years ago when he autographed my baseball, but because he is the best ever at his position and throughout his career has carried himself with dignity, grace, kindness, and humility, both on and off the field.
He'll get in. Sometimes things just work out.