I have three Lou Brock autographs, all gifts from my older brother, who was big into baseball collectibles in the early 1980s. When I say big, I mean he had more than 250,000 baseball cards, including a Mickey Mantlerookie card, and hundreds of autographed bats.
Gary Jo had a booth at a card show where Brock was one of the celebrities signing autographs. He got several balls signed, and gave me one because he was a nice guy, and we were, you know, brothers.
He gave me a framed autographed photo for Christmas.
But the bat he gave to me purely out of guilt. We lived two houses away from each other, and went to quite a few Cardinals games in 1982. So when he bought two tickets to each of the four home games in the World Series against the Brewers, I was sure he would take me to at least one. It got to be Game 7, and I was so sure he would invite me that I called in sick to work and waited by the phone. The call never came. My brother, my only older brother, took some guy named Dan to Game 7 of the World Series, in St. Louis, which the Cardinals won. The party in the streets lasted for hours afterward, and I wasn’t there. I was at work, where I called in not sick after all, watching the game on a small black-and-white TV that I smuggled in to the plant.
To make it up to me, Gary Jo gave me this autographed Lou Brock edition Louisville Slugger, that Brock had actually used in games. It is a beautiful piece of wood, blonde, sleek, perfect for my grip and swing. A work of art. One of my favorite possessions.
But it still doesn’t make up for Game 7.