Around Jefferson: Metairie baseball fan gets long-desired autograph _lowres

Photo provided by Gallagher family -- Ryan Gallagher, of Metairie, center, gets an autograph from Scott Radinsky, left, a one-time relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Radinsky recently signed a baseball card for Gallagher, a lifelong fan, at Zephyr Field in Metairie. At right is Gallagher's father, Bill Gallagher. Radinsky is now the pitching coach for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Metairie resident Ryan Gallagher and the members of his family are what he calls “die-hard, lifelong Chicago White Sox fans.”

“My father’s uncle worked in the front office in player personnel for the Sox in the 1970s, and my family has followed the team ever since,” said Gallagher, an assistant principal at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans. “As avid sports fans, my brothers and I would periodically check out a book from the library called ‘The Baseball Autograph Collector’s Handbook.’ The book listed the home addresses of many Major League baseball players. We would write to many players such as Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, asking for autographs with no response.

“And 24 years ago, when I was 9, I decided to write Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Scott Radinsky for an autograph. He was one of my favorite players, but he wasn’t too famous, so I thought the chances of getting a response from him were good.”

Gallagher, who also serves as Brother Martin’s cross country coach, said he included with the handwritten letter one of Radinsky’s Topps rookie baseball trading cards he had collected.

“I had two (Radinsky cards) in my possession, and so I mailed one of them with the letter,” he added. “But I never heard back from Radinsky.”

That all changed this summer when Gallagher’s father, Bill Gallagher Jr., learned that Radinsky, who is now the pitching coach for the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers, was scheduled to be in town for a game against the New Orleans Zephyrs.

“Leo Lowder, who also works with me at Brother Martin, is a member of the grounds crew for the Zephyrs,” Gallagher explained. “We told Leo the story, and he went straight to Radinsky with the information. Radinsky apparently got a kick out of the story and said he wanted to meet before a game. So on Aug. 11, my dad and I went to the ballpark early to meet Radinsky.

“I had my remaining Topps rookie baseball trading card with me. When we met, I retold him (Radinsky) the story. He signed my card, and we took a couple of pictures together. It was a really neat experience.”

Jefferson Chamber honored

The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce is the state’s leading Chamber of Commerce of 2015, according to the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Chamber President Todd Murphy accepted the award last month at LACCE’s fall conference, hosted by the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce in Sulphur. The organization was honored for its outstanding achievements in the large chamber division, which encompasses chambers with budgeted dues revenue exceeding $200,000 per year.

To be considered for the award, a chamber must display growth and progress in three areas vital to an organization’s success: community, organizational and professional development.

In a news release, the Jefferson Chamber was noted for “its strength of voice in policy-making, commitment to businesses in Jefferson, impact of regional partnerships, beautification efforts, community development projects and an array of business networking opportunities for members.”

“Some of the year’s accomplishments include developing the landscape and fountains beautification project on Veterans Memorial Boulevard; advocating for pro-business and education reform legislation; launching the Prosper Jefferson business seminar series, in partnership with the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission; and hosting the most attended and highest-grossing event in the history of the Chamber,” Murphy said.

For information about the Jefferson Chamber, go to www.jeffersonchamber.org.

Free concert

The Southern Tradition Quartet will present a musical variety concert called “The Oldies” at 4 p.m. Sept. 12 at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, 6017 Camphor St., Metairie.

In addition to the Southern Tradition Quartet, the concert will feature Maggie Probst, John Lacey, Amelia Jacquat, Kirk Hanson, the Mardi Gras Barbershop Chorus, the Jubilee Band and Stevie, Queta and Steve Cavalier.

The event is free and open to the public.

Garden club to meet

The first meeting of the 2015-16 year of Colonial Garden Club begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Harahan home of club President Susan Hardeman.

Hardeman will welcome members, preside at the meeting and present the program for the year. Yearbooks will be distributed by Vice Presidents Sandy Anzelmo, Michel Boudreaux and Melinda Jackson.

Co-hostesses for the luncheon, which follows the meeting, are Daphne Gambino, Kelly Kuchler, Ann Lucas and Peggy Martin.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at ejbarkoff@gmail.com.