Throughout history, athletes have had a tremendous social impact on the lives of spectators during the period in which they lived. However, with the passage of time, the risk of losing the powerful inspirational influence of certain iconic sports heroes and the lessons they can teach us seems to increase every day. I discovered this fact one night during a childhood dream. Since that moment, I have dedicated my life to preserving the memories and achievements of the world’s greatest athletes…Welcome to my epic seventy-year journey of Sports Immortals.
It all began in 1943 after I was injured in a gasoline explosion. I was bedridden for over a year and my parents bought me baseball cards to entertain me during my long days of recovery. My first card was a 1933 Goudy card of Babe Ruth. Maybe it was a medicinal hallucination or just a dream, but I remember Babe Ruth visiting me at my bedside and telling me never to give up. He told me one day I could be a Major Leaguer like him or build a shrine for sports greats so the public can always remember them long after they are gone. After overcoming my injuries, I set two goals for my life; one to be a professional baseball player, the other to build a museum to honor sports legends.
I became an outstanding baseball player, but ultimately injured my arm playing for Duquesne University. However, I never lost sight of the other goal and realized that I would need to obtain actual mementos from athletes if I were going to represent them in museum one day. My collection started with cards, but quickly grew to include programs, tickets, photos, letters and even vintage game used gear from the most famous names in sports. When I was old enough to drive, I began to visit athletes or their relatives telling them about my ambition of creating the premier museum on sports in the world and how I would be honored to have them be represented in my collection.
From Mrs. Jim Thorpe to Mrs. Babe Ruth, from Red Grange to Franco Harris, and from Jack Dempsey to Muhammad Ali, I have literally traveled over one million miles to curate over one million mementos for the Sports Immortals Collection.