Tom Dreesen is one of the most under-rated comedians of all-time. He and I have stayed in touch after I interviewed him for Autograph Magazine, and I feel blessed to have heard so many great stories from him over the years.
(I recommend his interesting book Tim & Tom, or catching his life performances)
Anyway, he was on David Letterman last week and they talked a lot about autographs.
Letterman held up the program to a play he’s working on and was commenting on it. He told Dreesen “This is perfect, it lists all the dates on the back. And lots of room for autographs at the meet-and-greet.”
Both those guys are big baseball fans, and they started talking baseball. And of course, Dreesen was Frank Sinatra’s opening act for 15 years.
Letterman said he heard a story in the late 70s, that before a game, Jerry Reuss was in the office with Tommy Lasorda. Dreesen interrupts that story to tell another story about Tommy Lasorda signing a bunch of baseballs in the locker room. Frank Sinatra is with Rick Sutcliff and Lasorda, and Lasorda introduces him to Reuss. He looks up and sticks his hand out saying to Sinatra “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
Letterman laughed and explained that wasn’t the story he was referring to.
He continued, saying “Tommy was signing baseballs. He signed a ball for Sinatra that said ‘To Frank, God Bless you, Tommy Lasorda.”
When Lasorda was filling out the line-up card, the ball was taken and put in the umpires bag of balls. Somehow in the later innings, the ball was put into play. Jerry Reuss liked to goof around and do stuff like this.
The ball ended up being fouled into the stands, and the guy that caught the ball in the was named Frank.
Dressen doubts the story is true, but it was entertaining nonetheless.