Those famous words were, "Say it ain't so, Joe."

George Hartford was the most fanatic sports enthusiast I have ever known. His natural charm and salesman's personality brought him from his home town of Chicago to the highest rungs of the TV executive ladder in Washington, DC.  Here, he pursued his first love, sports, in a big way; negotioning TV contracts with the major league Washington Senators, Redskins, and Bullets (now known as the Wizzards).

I first met him during that time in 1961, so wasn't aware of his young years growing up in Chicago,
Eddie LeBaron (Left) George Marshal (Midddle) George (Right)
until a few years later when Linda and I had George and one of his oldest friends over to the house for dinner.

The friend confirmed that George's tenacious personality was evident at a very young age. He mentioned that he still has a mental picture of the 11 year old George hanging around Comisky Park with baseball glove and bat in hand.

Now, about that bat. George said that the reason he carried that bat around, was so he could get autographs.  His goal, for 2 seasons, was to get every one of the Chicago players to autograph it. 

$179,000 Photo

They did.

You may have read about the price that one old picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson recently went for: 


You can guess what George's bat would sell for.

It might even be worth more than George's Honus Wagner card, which last time I checked sold for  2.8 million dollars
Honus Wagner Card

Then, there was the day young George graduated and returned home from college and was greeted warmly by his long widowed Mom and his newly painted and neat old room.

And his massive collection of Baseball memorabilia?

You guessed it, his Mom had thrown it away.

"Say it ain't so, Mom."