Mark Clark: My ‘Man Cave’ is filled with priceless memories

Mark Clark: My ‘Man Cave’ is filled with priceless memories

I have written about my “Man Cave” in the past, and I am writing more about it in today’s column. It is nothing special. In fact, it is more of a junk room than a “Man Cave.” There is no television or comfortable couch – or even a comfortable chair – in the room. There is a lot of memories there.

I am a collector. My wife would say that I am a hoarder. Her logic is that if it has not been used or even looked at in the last six months, it is trash. I once had golf clubs. Anyone who ever saw me try to play golf knows I had no business having any items that are associated with the sport. So, when my wife decided to have a yard sale early on in our marriage and I had to leave to go to work on that day, she sold my clubs, bag, and golf balls for $25. I had not used them in quite a while when she decided to do this. Somebody got a real deal that morning and I got nothing – not even the money she made off the sale.

Even worse than doing that, my wife sold something that really broke my heart – an old, portable typewriter. I had owned the typewriter for well over 10 years before we got married. You ask why I mention this item? It is because of the history of the typewriter. The small portable typewriter came with the original case and had been used by me and its original owner – Paul Cox, the former Sports Editor and later Publisher of the Opelika-Auburn News – to record many sporting events in our lifetimes. The most important event the typewriter was used to record was the perfect game tossed by New York Yankee pitcher Don Larsen in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. No, I did not cover that game. It occurred the year before I was even born. Paul Cox used the typewriter to write his story about the game. 

Paul Cox asked me one day if I wanted to buy it and offered to sell it to me for $10. I purchased the typewriter and then used it the rest of the year when he sent me to Alabama games. That typewriter held a special place in my heart. It had a great history behind it and I purchased it from a man I looked upon as a mentor. My wife was able to sell this piece of history for an amazing $5.

I probably could tell you of some other items my wife sold because of her logic, but I will not. It is better to let bygones be bygones. It saves a lot of ill feelings I might still have, and it saves me from having my wife sell more of my “good stuff.” “Good stuff” was a phrase my father used when my mother complained about his collection of items amassed over the years.

I would certainly have a heart attack should my wife stumble across my Joe DiMaggio autograph or 1940s DiMaggio button and decide to sell them at her next yard sale. If that happens, please do me a favor and send me straight to Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa.

There are a lot of interesting items in my “Man Cave.” It is filled with tons of baseball memorabilia. I have thousands of baseball cards. I have action figures of several Hall of Fame baseball players. I have autographs on photos, cards and baseballs. 

I have close to 100 cameras – many of which I have used to shoot sports over the years. Some of them I have just collected because I like them. My father helped feed this addiction. If he saw a camera he thought I would want, he bought it for me. I even have a complete film developing and photo printing kit with original chemicals in the original box from the 1950s.

In addition of all those items, I have lots of sports photos and sports books, including a raggedy Ball Four autographed by the author Jim Bouton. I have a 1972 University of Alabama annual – one with a lot of photos of Johnny Musso. I have a lot of old Central High annuals that I have used over the years to research the school’s football history. I have, I think it is from 1932, a Central annual that was mimeographed because the school did not have one printed that year because of the depression. Instead of photos of the seniors – which were the only students in the annual that year – there are cartoon drawings to represent the members of that class. Can you imagine how I would feel if my wife sold that at a yard sale or just tossed it in the trash?

If you walked in the room, you might think a tornado had hit it at some point in time. Believe me, no tornado was involved in the interior design of the room. My wife keeps threatening me about what will happen if I do not straighten it up. Heck, I am just glad she says “straighten up” instead of “clean up” the room. I have begged off taking any action on the room’s state because of my recovery from foot surgery. I have been worried with my foot for almost two years. It is getting better and at some point, I will have to tackle what my wife views as a mess. If I do not, I might not be able to find my Kansas City Royals memorabilia again – ever.


Mark Clark is a local sports writer for The Citizen of East Alabama.