The New York Times’ Jack Curry on a novel bit of memorabilia that captured the imagination of Al Leiter at a recent autograph signing engagement.
When a gray-haired man handed Leiter a pitching rubber that contained 56 signatures from players who had thrown a perfect game or a no-hitter, Leiter was smitten. He spotted Johnny Vander Meer™s signature, Sandy Koufax™s signature and Don Larsen™s signature, and he made his sales pitch.
œI told him I was honored to be on this thing, said Leiter, who tossed a no-hitter with the Florida Marlins in 1996. œThen I asked him if he would ever consider selling it.
The man was speechless, but his daughter was not.
œShe stepped out from behind him and said, ˜Absolutely, I™ll sell it,™ Leiter recalled. œYou could tell he didn™t want to do it. He had worked for years and years to get those signatures.
To determine the pitching rubber™s worth, Leiter asked Andrew Levy, the president of Wish You Were Here Productions, who had signed him to appear at the show. Levy made a phone call and gave an estimate of about $2,000. Leiter was prepared to write a check for $2,500. Still, the man was hesitant.
When the show ended, Leiter searched for the man. But he was gone. Apparently, the man™s departure was his answer.
œIf he™s out there and still wants to sell it, I™m interested, Leiter said. œCall Andrew Levy with Wish You Were Here in New York. I™d love to have it.
Normally, I’m against phone pranks. But Scott Kazmir, if you’re reading this, here’s your big chance for revenge.