Finding common ground with the rich and famous

February 24, 2005|by ANDY MASON

I'm experiencing one of those once-in-a-lifetime happenings today.

I turned 33.

It officially has now been 12 years since my birthday was something to joyously embrace. If I could remember more about Feb. 24, 1993, I'd tell you about it (maybe).

Sure, I'm still a kid to many, but now I'm old enough to know better. If I played pro ball, getting a contract extension wouldn't be easy at this age.

Twenty years ago, I barely knew the difference between being 33 and 53. I just knew both were old.

All 33 was to me back then was the number worn by my favorite athlete - Baltimore Orioles slugger Eddie Murray.


Coincidentally enough, Murray and I share the same birthday. He turned 49 today.

I learned this from a birthday gift I received about 20 years ago. It was a baseball calendar that listed the birthdays of all current and former major leaguers, among other notable MLB dates. Learning that Murray and I both were born on Feb. 24 was like a grand enlightenment. We would be bonded forever by the calendar.

Back then, I probably would have given anything to play baseball the way Murray did, or even just to get his autograph on a baseball card.

I was an avid baseball card collector as a boy. I loved the Orioles, but I might have loved my cards of the O's players even more. Somewhere in a trunk in my parents' attic are rookie cards of Murray, Cal Ripken Jr. and other notable Birds.

Of course, I would have traded them all for a 1910 Honus Wagner, the most treasured card in all the land. I read that one recently sold for more than $100,000 at an auction.

If Honus Wagner were alive today, he'd be 108. He was born Feb. 24, 1897.

My favorite tennis player, without a doubt, is Andre Agassi, and not just because we have the same hair style. Actually, I have more in common with two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, who was born Feb. 24, 1981.

It's no wonder Hewitt sports Nike athletic gear. Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight was born Feb. 24, 1938.

This is such a monumental day that I'm going to wrap up this column and go celebrate. If I want to add a little music to the party, I'll play some Beatles, which would only be fitting. George Harrison was born Feb. 24, 1943.

The earth will have to keep moving for another day like this to happen again.

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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