Little Gestures Like This Are Why Pat Hughes Is a National Flippin’ Treasure

Wednesday, May 6 was the 22nd anniversary of the Kerry Wood 20-strikeout game, which had me feeling nostalgic and spurred me to find ways to spend some of my stimulus money. Most of the direct deposit we just received is going to end up in the pockets of local businesses, but I’m also working on stepping up my basement game with decor that includes brick wallpaper and faux ivy. I’m also adding some new prints and posters, which brought me to Baseball Voices.

Operated by Pat Hughes, the site offers “commemorative audio tributes to baseball’s greatest voices” produced, written, and narrated by the legendary Cubs play-by-play man. What drew me in this case, however, was the personalized official print of Pat’s scorecard from the Kid K game. I’d wanted one in the past but never got around to it, so now I had my excuse.

Also available are personalized prints from Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS and Game 7 of the World Series, so I scooped up the latter. The prints themselves are only $20, but you can also get them matted and framed for $200 if you like. I opted for the less expensive option because I picked up some clear floating frames on Amazon that I figured would look cool while also helping to conceal the cord from my Old Style Light (yes, Light) sign.

So I fill out the form and include my inscription requests, one of which I worded incorrectly by typing “The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.” That’s important for later. I got an email confirming the order, then continued on with my day. I got a call that evening as I was sitting by our little fire pit and enjoying a beer, but I let it go to voicemail because it was a number I didn’t recognize and I figured it was a telemarketer.

A subsequent alert led me to check the transcript of the message, which I assumed would be pitching me Medicare (they think I’m the elder David Altman, who’s about to turn 65) and telling me to press 9 to be placed on the do not call list. Nope, it was none other than Vergil Patrick Hughes himself thanking me for my order and asking to confirm the personalization of the autographs.

What’s more, he asked if I’d like for him to throw in the Game 6 NLCS scorecard as well and said to call him back because he was hoping to drop them all in the mail the next morning. Bear in mind that I’m just reading this at first, so I figured it was a customer service rep or something. Then I put the phone to my ear and, yep, it was the same voice I’ve heard describe thousands of pairs of trousers.

Naturally, I called back immediately and was greeted by, “Hello, is this Evan?” I responded in the affirmative and Pat confirmed the order, asked again if he could send me the additional scorecard on the house (of course!), and verified the inscriptions. He then asked if I’d like to have the verbatim quote of “The Chicago Cubs win the World Series,” which I of course did.

Look, I’m not telling you that if you order a print or two you’ll end up getting a phone call from Pat Hughes offering you more free stuff. You might, though, since it’s not like I’m someone he’d otherwise know from Adam. And while I understand that he and pretty much everyone else whose livelihood revolves around sports has more free time on his hands right now, I’m still blown away that he’d take the time to make a personal call to confirm an order that didn’t even top $40.

I had considered not sharing this story publicly because I was a little worried that people would go to the site and buy stuff with the expectation that it’d spur a phone call. But maybe Pat does this with every order right now. Besides, part of the proceeds from each sale go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, so driving a few sales could have a positive impact. Most of all, I just wanted to provide you with further evidence that Pat is a really good guy and not just someone who puts on a front as part of his job.

Now if only I’d taken the time to ask him to be a guest on “The Rant.” Maybe I’ll have to order some more prints and forget to include the proper info in the notes.

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