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Are you in one or those moods that make you want to knock off every hat you see? Drop stones in blind men's cups? Answer every "Good morning!" with a "Says who?"
Well, mister, you're about to open a can of feel-good.
Two weeks ago, you read here about a Hall of Famer named Pete Pihos, a great receiver who helped the Philadelphia Eagles win two NFL tides. Pete has Alzheimer's, and his poor ex-wife, Donna, who took him back so she could tend to him, was facing a $6,000 dental bill and many times that much for adult day care for him. Hurting for cash, Donna decided to part with some valuable gifts Pete had given her years before: two Pro Bowl jerseys, Pete's old leather pads, and a football signed by Night Train Lane and 24 other Hall of Famers. A man who said he was from upstate New York came to Donna's house in Winston-Salem, N.C., to buy the stuff. He looked only about 25 but called himself Dr. James Hart. He took Donna's memorabilia and left her with $30,000 in rubber checks and a phone number to nowhere.
Turns out this "Dr. Hart" hairball got around. Not long after meeting with Donna, he wrote another bad check, this one for $5,000, and made off with signed photos of 77-year-old Hall of Fame lineman Lou Creekmur, who helped the Detroit Lions to three NFL titles and suffers from the early stages of dementia. "I'd love to beat the crap out of the guy," says Creekmur. "Thank God, I didn't let him near my memorabilia."
Donna Pihos was left with nothing but her tears. Pete had no clue what was going on. The football world was beside itself. The Hall of Fame Players Association put up a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Suggested Mark Rodriguez of Florida, "Let's make him the only urinal at the World Cup!"
Money, help and expressions of support for Pihos poured in. An SI reader named Bill Jacobs, of New York, is sending $5,000 to the Hall of Famers' association. About 20 other checks are on the way. A memorabilia dealer named Hal Jarvis, of Georgia, is planning a monster one-day signing to benefit Pete. Cops from all over wrote and said, in effect, Any chance this guy did anything in my state? 'Cuz I'd love a crack at the sonofabitch!
In Richmond a collector named Jeff Whitmore was already on his way to cracking the case. Whitmore thought, This smells like the work of Shawn Stevens—a 26-year-old autograph dealer from upstate New York. You read the feedback from people who have dealt with Stevens on signingshotline.com, a sports autograph website, and it becomes clear that he is to memorabilia what Harold Hill is to marching bands.