Lost MLBPA Ring: Rest of Story

9-Year Old Drew Maxwell holds the MLBPA ring of his late grandfather Jerry Witte on 12/28/11. Drew came along after his granddad died. Now he has another reminder of the man that Jerry Witte was.

Most of you have read the column I wrote last week as “A 2011 Baseball Christmas Story.” (See the link below if you have not.)


Today’s news is simply the rest of the story.

Yesterday I met Dr. Zita Witte Maxwell and her family at the Westheimer Road address in Houston of The Gold Rush, the Rodriguez family gold buying business that recently came across late St. Louis Browns and Houston Buffs first baseman Jerry Witte’s Major League Baseball Players Alumni ring and pulled it out of the meltdown path it quickly found itself.

None of us really knew about the ring nor when it had vanished, nor how it had come to be sold bt parties unknown to the Rodriguez family, but we were all happy that it had fallen into the hands of people who cared enough about family and the ring’s small place in history to find us and make sure that it at least would have its chance for survival.

Robert Rodriguez found me through Google, connecting me to Jerry Witte through my past role as his co-author on “A Kid From St. Louis.” That connection led straightaway to the Witte family and the reclamation meeting we held yesterday at the business office of the Rodriguez family. Dr. Zita Witte and her husband, Dr. John Maxwell, had made a special trip up from Lake Jackson yesterday, along with their two children, Mary Elizabeth, age 11, and Andrew, age 9. All the Maxwells had to do was pay The Gold Rush the meltdown value of the ring to get it back.

Back Row: Thomas Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Zita and John Maxwell, Dominic Rodriguez; Front Row: Mary Elizabeth and Andrew Maxwell (holding the ring).

Zita and I both independently brought copies of “A Kid From St. Louis” for the Rodriquez Brothers. Robert Rodriguez shares full credit with his three brothers, two of the brothers, Dominic and Thomas, were present for the business of the ring return, and all three of the guys showed their honest concern and joy over the ring’s return to family care. A fourth brother, Vincent, who is the twin of Thomas, was home recovering from an emergency appendectomy performed shortly before Christmas.

During our time together, we talked about everything under the sun for close to an hour and made all kinds of connection commitments to stay in touch beyond this date of our certain business. For my side, I have that commitment covered easiest. The Rodriguez Brothers are now members of my daily blog column notification list.

I have to tell you – these fellows are a beautiful example of what makes this country great. Family Values simply ooze from almost everything they each say and apparently do. These young men came to Houston from their South Texas hometown of Weslaco and have set up a diverse course of businesses that deal with everything from gold market buying to AFLAC insurance. Their parents are also now here in nearby Tomball running a produce business called “Fresh Pickings.” If you have any gold to sell, or you need any insurance or produce, check out the Rodriguez family at the Gold Rush in the 12000 block of Westheimer.

“As Andrew and Mary Elizabeth both admire the ring, I even got into a photo with Zita and Robert. ” – Bill McCurdy

How the ring got separated from Jerry Witte in the first place remains a mystery we may never solve beyond speculation, Even though neither Zita nor I could remember it, an alert Robert Rodriguez found a photo on the Internet (one that I took, no less) that shows Jerry Witte wearing a ring on his right hand in a photo I took of him with Jeff Bagwell at the downtown ballpark in August 2001.

I did some cropping to see if we could get a better look at the ring up close. Unfortunately, the photo with Bagwell was a low resolution shot in the first place and a closer look got blurry fast. You could tell in the close-up that the ring was turned sideways on the finger. The front of the ring was unavailable for observation, but the shape of the ring’s side says that it indeed was the ring that the Witte family reclaimed yesterday.

Now that the ring has come home, it belongs to the ages of Wittes to come. That’s the good news as we hurdle toward the new year.


9 Responses to “Lost MLBPA Ring: Rest of Story”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    A very nice story all around. Thanks to the Rodriguezes and thanks for sharing.

  2. Sam Says:

    Outstanding, a special thank you to the Rodriguez family and especially to their mom and dad for raising these young men with such fine values. Definitely a feel good story. Bill, thank you for bringing the story full circle.

  3. Patrick Lopez Says:

    Perfect story for this week, thank you for posting.

  4. Ed Szymczak Says:

    Thanks Bill for a great story and also Thanks for your help in making it happen.
    I recall listening to the Buff games on the radio and certainly the names of Jerry Witte, Solly Hemus (sp ?), Lou Mahan, etc
    Thanks again for helping us recall a ‘great past’……….Ed

  5. Anthony Cavender Says:

    A wonderful story for this time of year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Everyone.

  6. Dee Rodriguez Says:

    Please be advised that a Fundraiser for Thomas Rodriguez will be held in Southern California at Kishi Restaurant in Upland CA
    on October 6-7. Our family has attended this restaurant for 20 years and this is there ACT OF KINDNESS. The owners are Japanese and suffered many losses of there people in the recent Tsunami.

    We have had a tremendous amount of request for reservations for the event. Press will be present and we hope to pass on the ACT OF KINDNESS! We have the Muslim, Christian as well as the Catholic Community supporting the fundraiser. We could have never imagined such support!!! We have Attorneys, Private Investigators, Hispanic Artist, Local Radio, Television supporting THE ACT of KINDNESS. Please come join us for a Japanese Lunch or Dinner on the 6th or 7th of October. We have had donations from as far away as Mexico City Mx and Egypt. Amazing!!!!!! Reservations can be made at 702-431-0354. See you there. You are so loved Thomas, people you have never met will be passing along your ACT OF KINDNESS. I still believe…………………… in Kindness. You were ment for this movement!~ 🙂

  7. In Memory of Thomas Rodriguez « The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    […]  http://bill37mccurdy.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/lost-mlbpa-ring-rest-of-story/ […]

  8. Dee Rodriguez Says:

    Please be advised that A. S. Legal Services out of Riverside CA will be providing 20 free Divorce Petitions at this event for a donation to this fundraiser.
    Reserve early 951682-8204

  9. Dee Rodriguez Says:

    Employees of Bal Seal Engineering Inc. out of Foothill Ranch CA ( (The Big OC) are taking up a collection and joining the dinner as well.

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