Monday, March 21, 2011
Time: 22 Days
Address: c/o Minnesota Twins Spring Training
Item Sent: 8x10 photo
Item Received: 8x10 photo, signed in blue Sharpie.
October 6, 2010 was the greatest day of my life. At 6:27 AM, my wife Maria and I became parents to Charlotte Lorraine Cote.
I am sure every parent has their own story of becoming a parent for the first time, and I would hope that those stories all share a singular, overriding emotion: love.
Instant, all-consuming, and complete. Like no other kind of love I have ever felt before. From the second Charlotte arrived and was laid upon her momma's chest for the first time, our lives have never been the same. It is the defining experience of my life.
So what does this have to do with Michael Cuddyer?
Well, that night the Twins hosted the Yankees at Target Field for game one of the American League Division Series. Anyone reading this is probably aware that my list of priorities goes: family, friends, Twins baseball. I actually had tickets to the game, but obviously didn't make it. After about twelve hours of parenthood, an exhausted Maria crashed in her hospital bed. I held my baby girl in the rocking chair and watched my very first Twins game with her in my arms.
In the bottom of the second inning, facing Yankees ace CC Sabathia, with Jim Thome on base, Michael Cuddyer crushed a two-run homer to left field. It gave the Twins an early lead, which they would ultimately concede. Most importantly, it was the first Twins home run of Charlotte's life.
I found this image of that exact swing and printed an 8" x 10" photo. I wrote a letter to Cuddy explaining the significance of the photo and of that day, asking if he could sign it for Charlotte. (I secretly hoped he would personalize it to her, but I'm certainly not upset that he did not.) Three weeks later, we received this in the mail. Mr. Cuddyer's always-classy signature in blue Sharpie, popping off the white from his uniform, looks perfect.
This is not the 300th-something addition to my Twins autograph collection. This is the first item in Charlotte's collection. To us, it is more priceless than the Kent Hrbek game used 1987 World Series game six ball, and more priceless than the signed Kirby Puckett minor league card. It is the most special piece of Twins memorabilia in this house.
Thank you, Mr. Cuddyer.