Even in the off season, Duane Eaton recalls the boys of summer.
Duane Eaton, CAE, has spent a lifetime following America's pastime. And when he has to be at work rather than the ballpark, his own personal hall of fame keeps him connected to the game he loves.
"Growing up in the Baltimore area, I was an avid Orioles and Colts fan," says Eaton, senior vice president of the Produce Marketing Association, headquartered in Newark, Delaware. "My first baseball game was an Oriole- Yankee game in 1959, when I was 10." A relative bought young Duane a special memento of that game, an autograph-stamped ball—one of four Orioles baseballs with special meaning to Eaton that he displays on a shelf in his office.
The 1959 ball sits at the back of the display case. The one in the front "was signed by one of my childhood heroes, Brooks Robinson, in the Baltimore Convention Bureau booth at an ASAE Annual Meeting," says Eaton. The other two balls mark highlights of Camden Yards history: one from the 1993 All-Star Game and the other from opening day of the 2007 season.
On the shelf above are replicas of Camden Yards and the Orioles' previous home, Memorial Stadium. "I've been fortunate to have attended many games at each park," Eaton says. "The difference between then and now is that you can no longer take the streetcar to the ballpark. And general admission tickets are no longer 25 cents."
But the fresh air, hot dogs, and seventh-inning stretch: still priceless.
Julie Shoop is VP/editor-in-chief of Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]enter.org
Photo credit: Duane Eaton
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