Monday, May 25, 2009

Friendly Encounters

This is another in a series of meetings of my friends and celebs.

I came across Dennis Rima while trying to locate some former athletes for interviews. He is the founder and leader of AutographDC (autograph Dealers and Collectors) an autograph site on Yahoo. The site allows all to share autograph information.
I found Rima right around the sad time when Mark Fidrych tragically died. Rima had met Fidrych and I asked him to share that experience on Johngy's Beat.
Rima was very cooperative and related his story:
It was a warm Saturday, morning in May of 2001, when I awoke early and ate a quick breakfast as. I knew the day would be filled with excitement, as I would be working the autograph table, with Detroit Tigers icon, Mark 'The Bird Fidrych', The 1976 American League Rookie Of The year.
When I arrived at the show the photos and baseballs had already been laid out for Mark's signing and the line was a mile long. It was 1976 all over again and the fans wanted to meet their hero. I looked at my watch and it was 10 am.......... A few hours later, Mark showed up and already had his famous smile in place and he walked around and shook everyone's hand. I sat down next to him at the table and he was very friendly to each and every fan that came up to him. He gladly posed for pictures and even gave a few of the ladies a hug. Mark only had one rule and that was that his signature had to be free and we promoters couldn't charge for it. Marks baseball career ended short and sadly also did his life with an accident at his home in April of 2009. Not only will he be missed, but more importantly, he will always be remembered.
Dennis Rima and Mark Fidrych May 2001.

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