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Famous folks must like coming to our county

August 22, 2004|by TONY MULIERI

First Willie Mays, then President Bush.

In a span of eight days, two famous Americans graced the pages of The Herald-Mail newspapers after visits to the area.

The Mays visit gave Hagerstown an opportunity for redemption after the way the Hall of Famer was treated when he made his minor league debut here in 1950 as a young ballplayer.

The Bush visit to Hedgesville, W.Va., was a stop on the campaign trail for the president.

It's not the first time famous people have been here and I'm sure it won't be the last.

In the 27 years I have worked at The Herald-Mail, there have been quite a few star sightings. Here's what I remember:

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Other presidents have visited.

· Bill Clinton played golf at a few courses in the area, including Black Rock, while he was in office.

· Jimmy Carter went fishing in the area.

· The first President Bush attended a baseball game at Municipal Stadium and brought Chicago Bears great Walter Payton with him.

The stadium has been the site for a couple of star sightings.

· Just this summer, actor Kevin Dobson was here to catch his son's minor league game.

· Who can forget the night Orioles great Jim Palmer pitched in a game at Municipal Stadium on a rehabilitation assignment?

· Retired Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller visited the stadium one night and let the media, including me, take a few swats at his pitches.

And there have been others from the political arena.

· Vice President Dick Cheney spoke to the Chamber.

· Vice President Al Gore popped in one Saturday to watch his son play a football game at St. James School.

Hollywood has made its mark here, too.

· Bob Hope and Jay Leno - two big stars - performed at The Maryland Theatre on separate occasions. Of course, there have been others who have performed at the historic theater, but those are the two who stick out in my mind.

· Jessica Lange and Ed Harris were at tiny Winter Street School to shoot a scene from the movie "Sweet Dreams," a story about country singer Patsy Cline.

· Nicolas Cage and Shirley MacLaine were at The Maryland Theatre to do a scene from the movie "Guarding Tess."

· Robert Duvall and Jeff Daniels starred in "Gods and Generals," which was shot here and at other sites in the Tri-State area. Television mogul Ted Turner made a cameo appearance on the set as well.

There have been other star sightings, too.

· Singer Art Garfunkel was found strolling along Leitersburg Pike after spending a night in Waynesboro, Pa.

· The Beach Boys performed at the old Fairgrounds.

· Soap opera stars have visited from time to time.

And, of course, there have been countless stars from the world of sports who have visited here at one time or another.

If you can remember more star sightings than the ones I've mentioned, I'd like to hear about them. In fact, if anyone has had their photo taken with any of the people mentioned above or anyone else famous who has visited the area, I'd like to run those photos in the paper.

Just drop them by The Herald-Mail office at 100 Summit Ave., or mail them to The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741 or e-mail them to tonym@herald-mail.com.

Tony Mulieri is managing editor of The Daily Mail.

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