Greg, his daughter Hope, and Yankees Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle

After the Blizzard of ’77 Yankees owner George Steinbrenner brought to Buffalo a bunch of
NY Yankees to help promote some of his friends’ businesses. I went to the Buffalo Airport
to try and meet them.

I asked at the counter about the players they told me that there were reservations but were cancelled.I knew they were coming, but where?

I called Nuchereno’s Restaurant where they were going to. Told them I was doing a story, and they said, “You’re at the wrong place. They are coming into Prior Aviation.”

I went to Prior and saw Mr. Steinbrenner in one of the rooms. He was having 2 of his private planes bring them in. I heard him say to the police to  not let anyone near the Yankees.

I was desperate and told him, ” Mr. Steinbrenner, I have my 3 year old daughter here and I had been a Yankees fan my whole life.” He told me that I could drive my car onto the runway when the limos go there.

I got to meet, Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, Willie Randolph, and Thurman Munson. They signed pictures for me and I had pictures with them holding my daughter. Got to talk to them for a while.

When they were getting into the limos, and pulled away, one of the limos stopped. Billy Martin got out. He said he was thinking maybe the picture with my daughter did not come out, and we should take another, just in case.

Wow what an experience that day. More to this story also when George Steinbrenner came back to Buffalo a few years later, to the Rock Pile.

-Gregory Szarpa



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