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Hangin' with The Yankees

In January of 1997, a 20-year reunion of the great 1977-1978 New York Yankees World Championship teams took place in Atlantic City. During the reunion, players signed baseballs, bats and other memorabilia of that unforgettable era.

I had a number of theme balls in my collection and wanted to get them signed by many of the players, including Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent and Ron Guidry. I packed my bags with about forty theme balls and flew from L.A. to Philadelphia, but the snow and sleet were so intense that all of the buses to the two-day event were canceled.

Members of the '78 Yankees congratulate Bucky Dent after his
memorable homer against the Red Sox on October 2, 1978.

When a cabbie finally stopped to pick me up, the guy in the backseat said: "If you're going to Atlantic City, we can share this cab." I threw my bags into the trunk and got in, only to realize that there wasn't only a guy in the backseat, but also one in the frontseat: Cliff Johnson and Brian Doyle, both prominent members of the 1977-1978 Yankees team! Doyle was the 1977 World Series MVP.

During the long cab ride, the three of us reminisced about Reggie, Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner. They told me great inside stories about what it was like to be a Yankee during those winning years, for instance, that Reggie Jackson, the star of the team, could be your best friend or your worst enemy at the drop of a dime. It was clear that they enjoyed hearing a fan's perspective about such things as what it was like to witness Bucky Dent's stunning home run against Boston during the October 2, 1978 playoff game.

The next day, during the autograph session, Johnson and Doyle introduced me to the rest of the Yankees team, all whom were enthusiastic about signing my theme balls.

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