Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chico and the Dog

A few years ago, I was selling off some baseball memorabilia on eBay. One of the items was a photo of shortstop Chico Fernandez with the Phillies.

Chico's wife, Lynne, contacted me to inquire about any other photos that I may have had. I dug up a 1958 wire photo of Robin Roberts celebrating his 200th win with the Phillies. Standing next to Roberts was Chico and first baseman Ed Bouchee. I emailed the image to them. Chico and Lynne loved the joyous look on Chico's face in the photo.

I made high quality copy of the photo (nicer than the original) and mailed it to Chico. They asked me if they could repay me in some way. I asked them if they had any small personal item belonging to Chico during his Phillies stint (1957-1959).

A few weeks later I received an autographed photo and letter. But this was unlike any signed baseball photo I had ever seen. In the Photo, Chico was holding a small terrier named Mochito. Mochito had been rescued from the streets of Havana, Cuba and adopted by the Fernandez family. Unable to take the dog stateside when baseball season started, Chico instead carried this photo.

I will let Lynne Fernandez complete the story:

He carried the original small photo with him in his pocket and then put it up in his locker Philadelphia in the ballpark. The guys razzed him about it because they had pictures of gals! Chico didn't care. He was homesick a lot and loved coming back to the locker room after the game to find Mochito "waiting" for him just as he did at home. He also said he used to touch the dog's head in the photo just before each game and say , "Bring me luck Papa!" then he would run out and play.

When I asked for some little personal item, I had no idea what gem I would soon receive.

Notes: Mochito means "the severed one", which probably also denotes "lost" or "abandoned"

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