The sports memorabilia at McCafferty's restaurant in Mount Washington gets its share of oohs and aahs from diners.
But the genesis of the collections of partners Brian Davis and Don McCafferty wasn't nearly as well-received when their fathers were bringing home autographed balls and other items.
Davis' father, Dr. Henry Davis, was a dental surgeon. Among his patients were Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith.
"They would bring him this stuff. My mother would have a fit," says Davis. "They would never pay anything for the dental work."
Dr. Davis got more baseball patients -- the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians teams, among others -- and his accumulation grew.
McCafferty, son of former Colts coach Don McCafferty, began working at Colts camps when he was 11 and lived among the jerseys, balls and trophies.
"When you're around it, it means nothing to you," says the younger McCafferty. "I'm kicking myself in the behind for not taking better care of this stuff. . . . I never thought about collecting. . . . I just had this stuff around the house."
He says that though he was constantly around famous football players, it never occurred to him to ask for autographs.
McCafferty has gotten autographs -- from players and umpires -- the past five or six years, but says he is not a serious collector. Davis, on the other hand, has taken what he inherited and expanded it. His current project is collecting tobacco cards of the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox who played in the 1919 World Series -- to be displayed with a program signed by White Sox owner Charles Comiskey.
Visitors to the restaurant (not everybody eats, says McCafferty -- a few just look at the collection) see memorabilia from the time they walk in the door. The lobby is filled with it, and the walls of the dining room have color versions of the post-game cartoons the late Chuck Lankford did for The Evening Sun during the Colts' Super Bowl season of 1970-71. The cartoons were a gift to the elder McCafferty.
The collection includes the elder McCafferty's helmet and jersey from the College All-Star Game, seats from Connie Mack Stadium, autographed baseballs signed by Hall of Famers and World Series teams, balls signed by George Bush on his last day in office and Bill Clinton on his first day, autographed footballs and basketballs.
Davis says the display will change in February when the restaurant celebrates its first anniversary. Autographed hockey pucks are coming, as is a ball autographed by the 1993 world champion Toronto Blue Jays.
Reaction has generally been favorable. "I've got the oohs and the aahs to 'I can't believe this,' " says Davis, adding that some people have said they think everything is a fake. "I've [also] had people think they were for sale."
Football card collectors who save their wrappers can get a set of 13 NFL Santa cards by mailing 30 1993 wrappers from any NFL-licensed manufacturer, a 3 x 5 card with the sender's name and address and $1.50 for shipping to: 1993 Santa Promotion, Department 601, Box 7052, Osseo, Minn. 55569-7052.
Feb. 4, exhibit on Sheriff Fowble opens, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.
Feb. 6, Babe Ruth's 99th birthday party and preview of celebration of his 100th birthday, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., noon, (410) 727-1539.
Feb. 12, card show to benefit Babe Ruth Museum, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, (410) 727-1539.
CARD OF THE WEEK
Insert-card features of Pinnacle hockey will be 3,000 autographed Alexandre Daigle cards and the first card of Eric Lindros and his brother, Brett. Other random inserts are Team Pinnacle and 10 goalie masks. The 236-card first series will be issued in U.S. and Canadian versions.