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Long-time Yankees Fan Eric Goldfisher Selected Winner For Poignant Tribute To Father, Highlighting Dad's Extra Efforts To Bring Him Closer To His Boyhood Heroes

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (June 15, 2003) - -, a Web site dedicated in memory of a loving father and home of Joe Connor's useful ballpark guides, today announced winners of its 3rd annual Father's Day Contest. Designed to pay tribute to Dad's, fans submitted their most memorable father-son/father-daughter baseball memory, with the top three submissions winning an assortment of great baseball-related prizes including Connor's useful ballpark guides. Connor is a freelance Major League Baseball writer covering the San Diego Padres who has visited every major league ballpark and spring training facility.

Long-time New York Yankees fan Eric Goldfisher, 21, of Brooklyn, New York, was selected the winner for his poignant tribute to his father, Norman, highlighting his Dad's extra efforts to bring him closer to his boyhood heroes. Second place was awarded to Martin Bogrow for his Dad’s unselfish decision to let his son experience only the best at the 1971 All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium. Third place was awarded to Dan Holden who paid tribute to his Dad’s good will, zest for life and legendary story telling abilities.

In his entry, Goldfisher explained how his Dad went out of his way to secure an autograph of his favorite Yankee growing up, "Donny Baseball," Yankees Captain Don Mattingly.

Norman Goldfisher and his son, Eric, would troop out to Yankee Stadium and camp by a fence to secure favorite Yankee player autographs for years. Norman Goldfisher would carry a tremendous briefcase with all the items his son would try to get signed. But Mattingly eluded the pair, including at a Yankee "Fan Fest."

"We went all three days, waking up at 5:30 in the morning to be one of the first in line. Mattingly never showed either of the days; I was devastated," Eric wrote. "My Dad knowing how much I looked forward to getting his autograph made dozens of calls, without me knowing, to Yankee affiliates and people in the organization trying to do whatever he could."

"Finally, during Spring Training, someone got his message over to Mattingly and Mattingly instantly sent not only me but my little sister (who could care less) a personally signed picture with our names on it! In the envelope was a note saying, ‘Sorry I couldn't meet you at Fan Fest, but I'll see you next year, and thank your Dad.’"

"I was in shock and almost started to cry. I thought it was because I had a note and a signed picture from Mattingly," Eric continued. "But it was because of the effort my father put in to make me happy. This effort he showed for coming with me early to the games; going to these Fan Fests; and still to this day, going to countless games, playoffs, opening days and events; makes me understand that it was never a burden for him because he truly enjoyed spending this time with me."

"I can write about my first game or the two no-hitters I’ve seen with him or even all the playoff games we saw together, but I'd rather write about the time where my father was the hero rather then the baseball player at the game," Eric finalized.

As a result of being named first place winner, Goldfisher will receive a wealth of free prizes, including a great planner that helps fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters, realize even more ballpark dreams together. "A Fan's Guide To The Ultimate Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded," penned by Connor, is an easy-to-use electronic guide that helps fans plan a ballpark trip to any major league ballpark, providing helpful information as easy as the fingertips, including Web site links to schedules, seating maps and parking, as well as travel information such as maps, airlines, rental cars, hotels, attractions and more.

A sample of other complimentary gifts awarded include "Baseball Songs Sports Heroes," a CD from King of the Road Music, with songs including "Fenway," "God's not a Mets Fan," and "The Mystery of the World," among others; a walkman perfect to take along to the ballgame for radio listening; and many other goodies including autographed posters and baseball gloves and books.

Second place winner Bogrow’s story was thanks to his Dad, Morris, for his unselfish decision to let his son experience only the best at the 1971 All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium.

"I was 13 years old, and I was the biggest baseball fan that you could imagine," said Bogrow, a Detroit native who now lives in Weston, Florida. "My family came from simple means. I asked my father to take me to the All-Star Game. My Dad decided to buy tickets."

"The game was exciting, and more than anything I could imagine. I was so excited with every pitch; my Dad was just smiling, eating his peanuts as he saw my joy," Bogrow continued. "Reggie Jackson came up to bat, and the fans were on the edge of their seats. He fouled off a fastball, and then...CRACK!!!! It was a thunderous sound that I heard all the way in right field...I watched the ball sail upwards, towards my direction...The ball kept on rising and rising. In a moment, the ball disappeared over my head, and could not be seen. Then another "crashing" sound…"

With the wind blowing out at one of baseball’s most historic ballparks, six Future Hall of Famers - Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Roberto Clemente and Jackson - were to homer on this night to account for every run scored by both teams. Jackson's slam, however, was truly in a class by itself.

"The ball had struck the light tower, which was way above Tiger Stadium," Martin recounted. "The ball would have cleared the stadium if it wasn’t for hitting the light tower. WHAT A MAGNIFICANT HOME RUN! (later I realized that homer went down in history, as one of the most memorable moments in baseball history, and I witnessed it)."

Indeed. Jackson’s monster shot off Dock Ellis officially landed 520 feet from home plate - but it could have landed much further!

"My father passed away in the year 2000, following a decline with Alzheimer’s; His goodness will remain in my memory, including this event," Martin concluded.

Third place winner Holden’s story is about his Dad’s legendary story telling abilities and zest for life. The late Danny Holden had a 16-year career in the minor leagues, beginning with the storied Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1944 and ending with the Eugene Emeralds in 1960, an Oregon class "B" ball club.

"He and I spent hours talking about his childhood in Vancouver, British Columbia; his family; his various baseball teams; his adventures on the road; quirky off-season jobs; and his Irish heritage," said the younger Holden, who lives in Wilsonville, Oregon. "He never told me about his disappointment at not making the big leagues, but I knew it was there. That didn't matter to me. I was his biggest fan."

", this incredibly unique and well-received contest, and the ability to learn about and share these experiences with fellow baseball fans would not have been possible without my Dad's unselfish contributions to my life," said Connor. "This weekend is always very emotional for me like it is for many sons and daughters whose Dad's made such a significant impact on their growth years through the great game of baseball. I would like to thank our generous vendors for donating the free prizes, the media for helping promote the event, and, most importantly, the many fans who participated in this very unique chance to give props to their Dad."


Joseph Patrick Connor III, Joe's Dad, was born in Connecticut. He served in the U.S. Air Force and later became a successful sales executive with WFSB-TV in Hartford, Conn., where he raised Joe and his other son, Chris, with his wife, Joan. From sun up to sun down, Joe's Dad lived each and every day to the fullest. Whether it was taking his wife out to dinner, watching his sons' athletics or just cruising over to Block Island on his boat - Joe's Dad was one guy who didn't stand still very often!

Joe's Dad was also an avid sports fan, so much so he had season tickets to the Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes) of the National Hockey League. Of course that took a lot of dedication, you see, because the Whalers - um, Failures - lost A LOT more games than they won! Joe's Dad's love of sports extended beyond the hockey rink, where he also coached both his sons in the local youth program in suburban West Hartford. During his "hey day," Joe's Dad was one of the most feared slow-pitch softball pitchers in the fruited plain! His stuff was no nasty that he helped the Peter Pan Cafe to multiple championship victories over the rival, Beacon Cafe in the sweaty Hartford summers! Little Joe was the BatBoy on those teams and it was then that his father became his "guiding light to baseball."

When the Peter Pan Cafe wasn't playing, Joe and his Dad were either watching baseball on television together, practicing hitting or pitching in the back yard or heading up to Fenway Park to catch the Red Sox. It's these memories, and so many others, that helped shape Joe's fascination with baseball. The incredible opportunities Joe has had - to travel the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia - are because of two people: his mother, who always encourages him to reach for the stars, and his Dad, his guiding light to baseball.



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