As a young boy growing up in the Boston area I was a big fan of Carl Yastrzemski. Who didn’t love Yaz though? I ate sandwiches on Big Yaz Bread. Everyone did. One evening my father and uncles took me into an autograph signing event where Yaz was the main attraction. In my Sox hat and #8 jersey I stood in line for probably an hour, overcome with anticipation and excitement. As we queued through the long line and got close to the signing table we were each handed an 8×10 glossy color photo of the champ. It was beautiful. Perfect for sporting the million dollar autograph that was momentarily to come. We clutched our photos in sweaty nervous hands as we slowly inched our way closer and closer to the moment when we would stand before the legend himself.
Finally I was up at the end of the long table where we then shuffled along down toward the other end where Yaz sat in his chair and signed the photos as they came before him, one after the other. As I got closer I watched him sign each one, “Yaz”, “Yaz” (nice big script!), “Yaz”, Yaz”, (wicked cool!), then the kid in front of me, “Yaz”, and then there I was right in front of the man. He looked right at me and said hello (I’ll never forget it) and I nervously handed him the glossy photo. He pulled it in front of him, and at the moment his pen was about to touch the photo paper, someone in the back yelled something at him. Yaz looked up and responded verbally to the unseen speaker. There was an exchange of words, I don’t remember at all what it was about. My eyes were glued to his pen and my photo. Things became confused. He began writing but he was still engaged in the verbal exchange. He was signing the photo without even looking at it or giving it a thought. The pen jerked and moved on the paper. Still without looking he shoved it over toward me and then grabbed for the next kid’s photo. Unknown hands shuffled me away from the table.
While snaking my way back out from the crowd I flipped the photo around and looked at it. It didn’t say “Yaz” like the others. I didn’t know what it said. I stared at it. It looked like it read “miy”. The best you could discern was it said “miy”, and that was the best you could say. There was no way you could get Yaz out of that. I was stunned. Shocked. I couldn’t believe it.
When I got home I put it in an old frame and hung it in my room. Many times I stared at it up on the wall there. “miy”. The thing always bothered me. I showed my friends my autographed photo of Carl. “That’s his autograph?”, they would say. “It looks like it says mig!”. Eventually I relegated this framed FUBAR to a less conspicuous location.
Tonight I was rummaging around, found it in an old box, and I hung it up on the wall above my work bench. The frame is even older looking now and the corner of the glass is chipped. But the photo is in reasonably good shape. The autograph has since faded on one end. It now looks like it says “mn”. I am fonder of it now than I was back in those days.