The Autograph Guy

To Mr. Chris Woodward,

I will never be able to thank you enough for the time you spent here in Toronto as a a shortstop for the Blue Jays. A lot of people in this city probably don’t remember you, but you left a lasting impression on me as a teenager growing up who was in love with the game of baseball.

Admittedly, you were never a superstar shortstop, but I’m not here to criticize you or anything. You taught me that you can make it to the major leagues with hard work and persistence, and even though you may not be the best player in the world, you were still a major leaguer for a long time and that’s something that nobody can take away from you. I think that I use this mentality in a lot of areas in life whenever I am attempting to reach a goal; I want to aim to be the best and I will work hard at it. Maybe I will never be the best, but I would like to be among the best, playing with the best on a daily basis and trying to make a lasting impression on everyone.

I have two standout memories from your time in Toronto. The first thing that every Blue Jays fan will remember about you is that you were the guy that was always signing autographs for the fans and when I say always, I mean ALWAYS. Every single game I went to as a teenager, there you were on the third base line signing autographs for everyone who wanted one. As a young kid, it’s awe-inspiring when you get to see a baseball player up close and personal, but it hits you even more when you hand them a baseball and they actually speak to you and sign it for you. I don’t think there was ever an occassion where you turned down an opportunity to make someone’s day by signing a ticket or a baseball or a program and I appreciate the kindness in your heart to take the time out to do that every single game.

The second memory I will always have of you is the three homerun game against the Mariners. I remember specifically wanting to go to that game to see Ichiro play, but it will always be Chris Woodward that stole the show that night. Sitting with my cousin, I distinctly remember you coming up for your third plate appearance and him nudging me saying ‘if he hits a third homerun I will buy your dinner’. Naturally, it was out of the question that Chris Woodward would hit a third, but lo and behold, you cranked one right over the outfield fence. I’ll never forget the hot dog and fries he bought me that night and the look on our faces when we realized you had accomplished such a rare feat. Thank you, truly, for that lasting memory.

You were never the best, but you were a good baseball player and more importantly, a wonderful human being. I thank you for everything you did here in Toronto, and it puts a smile on my face whenever I see you coaching in a broadcast on a late night Dodgers game. May your time in baseball be long and may you continue to sign as many autographs as humanly possible.

Yours Truly,

Zan Rathore

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