Autographed Ball a Lifelong Keepsake

An 88-year-old Florida man’s brushes with greatness date back to the Babe.

Jack Smith was a paperboy when Babe Ruth was wrapping up his Yankee career. He was also a big baseball fan.

Living in Florida, spring training was one of Smith’s favorite times of year. By age 13 he’d summoned up enough courage to get a baseball signed by some of the big names who were preparing for a new season.

While he didn’t take his friends’ dare–stealing Ruth’s glove–he did get the Babe’s steel-tip signature. But Smith wasn’t done with the ball. He had several other future Hall of Famers sign it too as he passed into adulthood.

Some of the autographs are faded, but as he gets ready to witness yet another Grapefruit League season, the 88 year-old and his family have fond memories.

So do the other autograph seekers in Florida, according to this story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.