Sunday, March 25, 2012

Farewell to a friend

Dooger Friedle (bottom right) at WSUC with
other college radio station members, 1990.
My good friend, Doug Friedle, recently left this world much too soon. Doug -- or Dooger as he was known to friends -- was a real character. Cantankerous, funny, ornery, opinionated, and passionate all fit him well.

Doug loved his country, family, the Yankees, and music and not necessarily in that order.

I first met Doug at the college radio station where we formed a friendship that would last for the next 25 years. Doug LOVED being on the radio and would fill in any shift when another DJ was a no-show. He was super reliable that way.

I actually have to thank -- or blame -- Doug for getting me started in autograph collecting. A year or two after college in the early 90s, Doug and I were hanging out and he mentioned that former Yankee Stan Bahnsen was at a nearby card shop signing autographs. He asked if I wanted to check it out. I did, and the rest is history. I haven't stopped collecting since.

Throughout the 90s, Doug and I went to a bunch of card shows in the metro New York area getting autographs from many old timers as well as contemporary players. It was always a fun day out followed by a nice lunch and chatting about college days. At his wake, Doug's family left out some of his personal mementos including a binder of signed photos. Doug often asked for the photo to be personalized to him. It was bittersweet flipping through all those photos signed to him... and knowing we were together when most of them were obtained.

It's funny how one person can affect the course of another's life in the most unexpected ways. Here I am now, a dedicated collector and professional autograph authenticator, and it all started from an off-the-cuff suggestion to go see Stan Bahnsen twenty years ago.

Thanks, Dooger. You will always be missed.

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