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A Memorable SoxFest

by Sox Fan Michael Penny of the WSI message board

I went to Soxfest with one goal, to get Harold Baines' autograph. something I have not been able to get my hands on for almost 20 years. my wife and i got up fairly early Saturday morning to get in line for the Big Hurt and Harold. we were disappointed to find out they had already reached their 550 limit. we settled for Jose Valentin instead. later that night while attending the Beatles party we were thrilled that Jose Valentin, Todd Ritchie, Aaron Rowand, Kelly Wunsch and others sat at a table right next to us. the 2 obnoxious ladies kept the kids from getting autographs one that should not have been wearing leather pants!!!

Kelly Wunch's wife was soooo nice. she introduced herself to a couple with a baby and swapped baby stories as she held one of their twins....but still no harold. 20 minutes passed and my wife excitedly said "get up, it's Harold." thankfully the ladies did not interfere and Harold willingly signed although had a look on his face as if he'd rather be somewhere else. he signed my ball. goal accomplished. i went back to the table and grabbed my mini bat and he signed it. I went back to the table and got a card, he singed it. my wife even got into the action. the next morning we lined up to get another two. my goal was accomplished 7 times....when we got up there the guy in front of us said, "Harold, I enjoyed watching you all those years. you are a true professional, a class act. Harold showed a rare smile and said "you should tell that to my wife." here are my other highlights...

At the party I saw big Herm Schnieder standing in the back.  I grabbed my ticket stub and sharpie and asked for his signature. Herm grabbed the ticket stub from me and said with a straight face, "anywhere in particular?"  I thought to myself, "Herm, it's just a friggin' ticket stub.  "I think I made his day. my wife who was sitting at the table said he was smiling as I left.

Getting another mini bat singed by the great Minnie Minoso who took the time to write a perfect autograph by writing it over a piece of paper. it looks sweet. later that night we was walking around drinking beer chatting with the fans. my wife said he looked like one of Fred Sanford's buddies. later that night he posed for a pic with me.

I bought an old Hawk Harrelson card and I went up to him and said, "Look at that handsome young face!" He laughed and said, "Man, I tell ya." as if to say, damn that was a long time ago.

Telling Harold during my 5th autograph in the back of the Beatles party about my first game ever. I said, "I saw Luzinski put one on the roof off of oil can, you hit one to right, and kittle squeezed home hill, it was beautiful. he grudgingly smiled and said, oh, really. he could have cared less, but I was talking to HAROLD BAINES.

Watching Harold drinking his bottled water during the party as his younger peers, Valentin, Rowand, Ritchie, Borchard and Wunsch chugged their beers

This was my first SoxFest with many more memories not mentioned.  It was awesome.

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