Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Witte MLBPA Ring’

Lost MLBPA Ring: Rest of Story

December 29, 2011

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.