As we walked, his handler dropped back and it was just him and me. I tried to put a few words together to thank him for what he'd given me as a kid. But, as you can imagine, my words were sloppy and stuttered. I was about as articulate as I might have been as a 10-year-old. I bet he gets that a lot.
But he put an arm around my shoulder and talked about how much he'd enjoyed playing, how much he loved the game and the fans.
The greatest part was that he actually meant it. He seemed humbled by my offer of thanks, somewhat reluctant to accept any sort of "hero" status (I didn't use that word), and fully comprehending the impact he'd had on me (and by extension, many, many others -- again, I'm sure he gets this a lot).
The next day, when he was signing autographs in the concourse, I got in the already-long line just as his signing time began, and I was still about 15 people back when his allotted time ended. But the line behind me stretched off into the distance. And so Harmon just plain kept on signing.
I got my picture signed, and a bunch of people who had been behind me in the line also got their stuff signed.
Even after however many hours (years) he'd been doing it, he was cheerful and gracious.
One of the perks of working on this site is that I get to talk to a lot of people about behind-the-scenes baseball stuff. I can tell you that the admiration for Harmon is genuine and widespread. He is considered one of the all-time great players, one of the all-time great ambassadors for the game, and one of the all-time great teammates and team leaders. He's someone who recognizes that fame was a byproduct of doing what he loved, and that it came with responsibility.
He's lived up to that responsibility many times over.
I have much more from this amazing weekend coming, of course. But if you ever wonder about the name of this site, it's also another name for my favorite player.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Here's the field of posts which will support the third base side of the grandstand. Some walls have started to appear about where the Northstar riders will enter the park.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
Franchise history before Minnesota. (Click to enlarge.)
Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.
Here's another look at the Oliva gate.
Mussina's first pitch. (Playing 3rd: Not A-Rod)
From the best seat in the house (Section 8, Row A), the right field corner is blocked. (No one may care. Fine with me. People should know.)
Very interesting detail starting to appear here.
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.
This guy at the Puckett atrium chef stand caught me taking the picture and said I should stop back later because he was "just getting started." I still don't know what he meant.
That is pretty close... (Grandstand)
The rendering which excited a fan base! (Inset is an enlargement of the pictured neon sculpture.)
Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies
This is the Metropolitan Club as viewed from the future Ballpark Authority office space.
The first passengers are about to arrive, but the switch is set for the wrong track (those guys walked all the way out to correct it)
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
Lots of speakers, but in some places, no sound.
Fencing is going up all along the plaza
The media had some beautiful foliage to use as a background.
Inside the Metropolitan Club. Classic photo of a youthful Bob Casey at far right. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Freight trains run in very close proximity (Jerry Bell was standing at my left elbow when I took this picture)
If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)
The equivalent spot on the model.
Suite level view
Two signs visible from beyond the confines of the ballpark.
The plaza as seen from the B ramp.
The canopy as viewed through the outfield stands. The lighting approach, despite what you may have heard, is actually very traditional.
A Hrbek tribute wall marks the end of the Carew side of the club