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Wrapping Up 2001
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Holiday memories

MLB.com asked some baseball personalities about their favorite holiday memories. Here's a sampling:

In 1982, we had just moved to Jacksonville and didn't have a lot of money. That Christmas, I remember that we got an Intellivision video game machine and basically played the buttons off that thing.
-- Desi Relaford, Giants

"You know, growing up where I came from, with a large family, Christmas was always very big. There would be 25 people together for dinner, with brothers, sisters and their children, so it was like Thanksgiving a second time. We shifted houses every year and for gifts we picked names out of a hat -- if we didn't do that we probably all would be broke after buying something for everyone. I don't have any specific memories from when I was very young that come to mind, but I remember that even though we didn't have much we had the closeness of the family together."
-- Davey Lopes, Brewers Manager

"I guess it would probably go back to my childhood. My brother and I always swore that we saw Santa Claus going across the sky. For some reason that always sticks in my mind."
-- Lloyd McClendon, Pirates Manager

"When I was 9 years old, we didn't have or get much. That year, my mom and dad came up with so much -- we had so many toys. We thought it was a joke. Everything we asked Santa for ended up under the tree. My mom and dad had saved up a lot of their money."
-- Torii Hunter, Twins

"I'd probably say my first glove, bat and baseball that I got when I was four. I got a Yankees helmet too, but (laughing) that doesn't mean anything now."
-- Josh Hamilton, Devil Rays

"When I was growing up, my dream was to play in the NFL. I guess I was in the sixth grade and we were living in Texas when I received an Official NFL leather Football for Christmas. My brother Mike and I ran outside to play catch with it right away. Neither one of us could hardly even hold it because our hands were so small and the ball was so big. But we spent the day imitating Danny White and all the other Cowboys players. We played all day with that football."
-- Tim Salmon, Angels

"I grew up in a small house that was very narrow. At Christmas, the tree took up most of the living room. I was 7 or 8 and I was spellbound coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. There were presents spilling out from under the tree and into other rooms. I was the only boy, the youngest in the family with five older sisters, so I got a lot of gifts. But the majority were from Santa. It was mind-boggling seeing all those good toys."
-- Bob Brenly, Diamondbacks Manager

I would say it was seeing all the kids laugh at the hospital. There was a little girl on a hospital bed during my last visit, and I jumped on the bed and started tickling her feet. Her mom told me later that it was the first time she had laughed since coming to the hospital. That's why I still say that I have the best job on the Tigers because I get to serve the best fans in the world!"
-- PAWS, Tigers mascot

"I just remember getting up really early in the morning -- about the only day all year that I'd get up early on my own -- and just ripping into the presents. Growing up in Iowa, if the weather was good, we'd head outside and throw the football around. I can remember getting three presents for Christmas when I was younger that really stand out to me. A TV -- not a big huge one, but like a 9- or 10-inch one, which was a pretty big deal when you're younger -- an electric train set and then one year I got a bike, too."
-- Jon Lieber, Cubs

"It's not from me as a child, it's watching my children. Seeing their faces, the excitement and joy that they have. That's as good as it gets."
-- Ken Williams, White Sox general manager

"Oh man, when I was 15 I received a 4-wheeler...rode all day."
-- Preston Wilson, Marlins

"For me, the best part of the holiday season is the chance for the entire family to get together. The most memorable Christmas for me was when my sister got really sick with kidney failure at Christmas time...We went up to visit her and celebrate with her in the hospital in Sands, Florida, but we waited to open presents until after she got out of the hospital a month later. She's doing great now...she just had her second baby this past September."
-- David Eckstein, Angels

"My favorite memories always involve the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) when my sons were little. The holidays are always extra-special when your children are young."
-- Paul Godfrey, Blue Jays president

"I can't think of any specific gift or any specific Christmases that I enjoyed any more than the other. Just the joy in the morning waking up and running to the Christmas tree and seeing what you had under there, what presents were for you. You can't wait to open them up and see what you've got. Just the perspective of being a kid and being an adult when Christmas comes around. When you're a kid you can't wait to get everything. Now it's nice to get people things and see the joy they get out of the presents you got them. That's something I really enjoy about Christmas."
-- Tom Davey, Padres

"I guess baseball-wise, it was when I got my first glove when I was three. I vaguely remember playing catch outside with my dad the rest of the day. I slept with that glove next to me in my bed for about a week after that."
-- Lance Berkman, Astros

"It was probably last year -- just the whole Christmas situation -- because I finally had the resources to give everybody what they wanted. You know, in the years preceding that it was pretty tough for me, as an individual, to get everything for everybody, but last year it was fun, because people say 'Oh, I want this for Christmas,' but you know it's what they want but it's not the ultimate gift for them. So between my wife and I, we actually had the opportunity to go around and for each family member that was closest to us, really spoil them rotten in terms of what we could do for them. I think that was probably the fondest memory I have of recent Christmases -- just being able to surprise people and give them a gift they might not usually get. Last year was also extra special because I had my rookie jersey, and I framed it, signed it, and wrote a little note to my mom on it and gave it to her, and you know, she has it up in her office at work."
-- Geoff Blum, Expos

"I just love remembering all the smells and sights of the holidays. Walking into the house and smelling all the food and desserts, the scent of the tree even makes you sigh with joy. And to see all the houses and neighborhoods all lit up is amazing. When I'm on the East Coast I have to have a White Christmas, that makes it the best."
-- Nelson Figueroa, Phillies

"For years when I was growing up, my dad and I had a tradition that we did every year. Because we lived in Southern California, we decided we had to jump into the swimming pool at his house every Christmas -- rain or shine. It was our own little Polar Bear Club. We stopped doing it a couple of years ago because we're both getting too old!"
-- Matt Wise, Angels

"It was the year the kids were old enough to finally know who Santa Claus was. I dressed up like Santa and went down to the front gate and rang the bell. I could hear over the monitor that they said Santa was there. It was very exciting for them."
-- John Franco, Mets

"I will never forget the time I looked in my stocking and there was a certificate for a brand new bike. I was about nine or 10 years old and, when I went to the store to pick out the bike, I got the best one I could find. It was a BMX Dirt Bike. I still have it."
-- Scott Spiezio, Angels


 

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Vote on the best plays of 2001 in the following categories:
Regular Season Play
Home Run of the Year
Catch of the Year
Throw of the Year
Defensive Infield Play
Greatest Comeback / Finish
Individual Performance
Memory of the Year
Pitching Performance
Collision of the Year
Postseason Play
Blooper of the Year
State of the Game: Where baseball stands as we begin 2002
What a Season!: MLB.com reporter Ian Browne recaps 2001
2002 Predictions: Mark your calendars for these baseball events this season.
Resolutions: New Year's resolutions from around the league
Diamond Digits: Crunching the 2001 stats
Team gifts: Holiday presents from Santa
Boys to Men: Players who showed extraordinary growth in 2001
Men to Boys: Players who had big 2000 seasons, but flopped in 2001
Gone but Not Forgotten: Tributes to the players we've lost this year
2001 Player Debuts
2001 Season Trivia: Think you know baseball? Test your knowledge
By the Numbers: Figures that stood out in 2001
2001 Retirees: Players who ended their careers
2001 A to Z: A handy reference for the season

Holiday Ornaments
Mouth-blown glass, authentic hand-painted baseball ornament with the logo of your favorite team.
World Series Video/DVD
Commemorate the 2001 World Series with the Official Video & DVD full of World Series highlights.
Warm MLB Gear
Bundle up this season with Official MLB sweatshirts and fleece.