Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hidden Treasures in Mississippi

 In Meridian, Mississippi, there lives a man who has some amazing baseball memorabilia that not a lot of people know about.  He doesn't like the attention, mainly due to the epic amount of memorabilia that he has and the fact that key items had been stolen in the past, but were recovered.  I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of this man's hospitality when he uncovered his rare items so that I could take a look at them over dinner tonight.  That man's name is Don McNair.  He is the son of former Major Leaguer, Eric McNair, whom I have written about on this blog before.  Don't worry, none of these items reside in Mr. McNair's home.  They are kept in a safe location under lock and key.

I heard about Mr. McNair from a friend and colleague that I work alongside, me being a consultant and the friend being a state regulator.  Sometimes the relationship between regulator and consultant is less than amicable, but this regulator and I have developed a great rapport over the years.  One day he overheard me discussing my blog with someone and he told me about the man in Mississippi with the amazing memorabilia.

I wrote Mr. McNair a letter a while back and got some cool items in return.  So, when I knew I would be coming this way on my vacation, I shot Mr. McNair an email and we worked it out so that we could meet up for dinner (along with the father-in-law of said regulator, and my son Chris).

Mr. McNair brought a bag of various memorabilia with him as well as a briefcase that housed a good bit more.  I plan on breaking up the meeting into several blogs so I can do some of the items justice.

The first thing I noticed when we sat down for dinner was the gold ring on Mr. McNair's finger.  I asked him if it was his dad's World Series ring, and, of course, I was correct.
So, here you have it, a 1930 World Series ring, given to the members of the World Champion Philadelphia Athletics.  You know, the A's for those of you who only know them as being from Oakland.
I got to hold the ring in my hand.  82 years old, the ring still looked epic.  Well worn in places, Mr. McNair has had it since his dad's untimely death in 1949.
Mr. McNair had an album with a bunch of items from that 1930 team, one of which being this program from the World Series.  He also had a ticket stub from that series and told me to take it home with me.  I was amazed at his generosity!  I will blog the ticket stub when I get back home to my scanner.

The 1930 Philadelphia A's are regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of baseball.  Pundits go back and forth between the '30 A's and the '27 Yankees as to which team is the greatest.  To put it into perspective, the 1930 A's went 102-52, boasted future Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, Mickey Cochrane, Lefty Grove and were managed be legendary Connie Mack.  Even Hall of Famer Eddie Collins was a coach on the team and got into 3 games.  The A's lost more than 2 games in a row only twice that season and did not lose more than two games in a row after the 14th of June.

Jimmie Foxx led the team with 37 homers followed by Simmons' 36.  Lefty Grove pitched to a record of 28-5.  Eric McNair, a rookie at 21 years old, would have 63 hits, 0 home runs and a .266 batting average over 78 games.

The A's would win the World Series after collecting their second of three pennants in a row.  Their opponent in that series, the tough St. Louis Cardinals would bow to the A's after 6 games.

I am still amazed at Mr. McNair's hospitality.  How many people can say that they were able to hold a World Series ring from 1930 in their hands?  I plan on meeting his son, Eric McNair, III tomorrow for lunch and will enjoy more baseball discussion.  Stay tuned for a look at some more of the items in Mr. McNair's collection.
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