|Michael "Sammy" Samuelson|
When Michael "Sammy" Samuelson went into hospice care in mid-December, the move also meant involuntary retirement from heckling the Twins. At the time, I asked him to guess the number of games where he had been in the stands, lobbing his signature long, creative, elaborate taunts at the players. He started counting.
"I've had season tickets since 1988, and that was about 40 games per year, but there were also games at other stadiums," he tallied. In 1997, when the Twins were threatening to contract, he upped his attendance. "I must have gone to 70 games a year for the past 15 years," he continued. "Gosh, I would say a couple thousand."
Sammy racked up those numbers in spite of three kidney transplants throughout his life, skin cancer, leukemia, and an arm amputation. On Monday morning, his long-deteriorating health finally won out over the Twins institution and the team's biggest -- or at least most vocal -- fan. He was 57.
"Now that I'm dying, I wonder if I should have done something else, seen
the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Europe," Sammy reflected in December. "But what I love
about baseball is the friendships you make."See Also: Best Heckler 2012: Michael "Sammy" SamuelsonMore »