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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.
This is a background image extracted from one of the blueprint pages. It's essentially a schematic of the park (Terrace Level). In it you can see the shape of the various seating areas (to a certain extent).
Dancing for the cameras
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.
Not from Moose's tour, but it's an image you need to see. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Photo by Jared Wieseler
Those little oval additions are positively laughable!
Target HQ main entrance. Ballpark resemblance? (Inset.)
The official ballpark development area
I believe that the truck is parked in one of the curb cutouts which are being installed to facilitate ticket sales and traffic calming.
Grid for the ironwood louvres is in place
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
The view from my seats in Section 237 (The Trap), Row 1 (can't see much of center field without standing up...)
Discovered on the upper concourse!
An early concept for the pedestrial bridge. (Source: Ballpark Authority, RP)
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
Location for automated ticket machines
The Polo Grounds (left) and Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)
Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)