Friday, July 22, 2011

Baseball Reliquary

Never heard of it? Neither had we until Kevin read an article about their upcoming Shrine of the Eternals Induction Ceremony in the newspaper. It was to be held at the Pasadena Central Library this past Sunday afternoon. This year's inductees were Maury Wills, Pete Gray, and the San Diego Chicken. Cool! Apparently they conduct this event every year, but Kevin and I didn't know that.(Huh - how did we miss that one?)

As it turns out, Sunday was the day we were picking up the boys to visit with us for a few days, so the Induction Ceremony was the perfect activity for us! The event started at 2:00 p.m., and the library opened at 1:00 p.m. We were there when the doors opened so that we could check out the baseball exhibit also on display within the library. About 1:30 we meandered over to the auditorium where the ceremony was going to be held - good thing we did! It's a small auditorium so seats were in short supply. We managed to find four seats in the back of the auditorium and sat down to people watch. Before long, Maury Wills appeared in the crowd. What a genuinely nice man. He had his entire family with him and they were all seated in the front of the auditorium. Shortly there was a small crowd of people around him asking for autographs. We weren't certain if he would stay after the even to sign autographs, so we decided that Kevin and the boys should get in line now. I'm so glad they did! Mr. Wills was very personable and happily signed autographs for everyone who asked. He asked both of the boys if they played ball and commented on how tall they were. He gave Drew a 'what-for' for wearing a Marlins cap instead of a Dodger cap =) When Kevin approached, he asked if he'd sign a baseball for an umpire; Maury gave him the once over and said 'Yeah, what the heck.' ;o)

The ceremony itself was very nice. Over and above the Inductees and their awards, there were two other awards presents; one named the "Hilda" award and one the "Tony Salin Memorial" award. The "Hilda" award is named in honor of Hilda Chester; a lifelong Brooklyn Dodger fan. The award this year was presented to Chris Erskine - a columnist for the LA Times. The "Tony Salin Memorial" award is given in honor of Tony Salin, an author, humorist and Reliquarian who passed away several years ago at just 49 years of age. This year's award was presented to Paul Dickson - a prolific author of all things baseball. Both recipients were honored by their awards and very humorous in their acceptance speeches.

At the end of the ceremony, we stood in line to get the Chicken's autograph. Kevin has such fond memories of the Chicken from when he was growing up in El Paso. Apparently the Chicken traveled to different minor league ballparks as well, and Kevin remembered him from spending so much time at the El Paso Diablos stadium. In fact, a couple of weeks ago when we were straightening the shelves in the mancave, we ran across an El Paso Diablos baseball. It was just sitting on the shelf and we moved it to it's new home - a plastic baseball case. When Kevin found out the Chicken would be at the Induction Ceremony, he decided to bring the Diablos ball and have the Chicken autograph that instead of just a regular baseball. When it was finally our turn to meet the Chicken, Kevin pulled out the Diablos baseball and asked him to sign it, the Chicken was thrilled! He asked Kevin about the baseball and Kevin explained that he grew up in El Paso and had attended many of the Diablos games. His dad worked as a statistician and he knew the former owner of the team. Both Kevin and the Chicken chatted about those days and the Chicken happily signed the Diablos baseball. FUN!The four of us had a great afternoon. What a fun - FREE - event! You can bet that we'll be looking forward to attending next year's Shrine of the Eternals Induction Ceremony next year!

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