Yard sale find leads to journey through baseball history
For Eddie Amodeo, a disabled Vietnam veteran, an ordinary trip to a local garage sale in 2007 led to an unexpected journey that would last more than a decade.
The Calverton resident and active participant in the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 said he remembers while looking through the variety of items on sale, something struck his eye.
When he took a closer look, he noticed a poster. On it was a drawing that depicted a scene of the USS Yankee Clipper and the USS Cleveland submarine. Amodeo also noticed that there was an image of Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio immortalized in the sky.
Intrigued by the poster, Amodeo bought it for $2 and while talking to the lady who ran the yard sale, she disclosed more information about the poster
“She told me it was originally her grandfather’s and she had found it after he had passed away,” Amodeo said.
Still curious about the origins of the piece, he began doing research to see if he could find out more information but hit a dead end.
Amodeo, a lifelong Yankees fan, was able to connect with a team merchandising official, who then connected him with DiMaggio’s grandchildren.
He learned that the poster was drawn by Burris Jenkins as an homage to the day DiMaggio’s famed 56-game hitting streak ended. The drawing depicts a sea battle with DiMaggio batting in the clouds with text reading ‘the 57th Game!
The two grandchildren then referred Amodeo to Morris Engelberg, Joe DiMaggio’s estate lawyer.
The Calverton resident also contacted the Baseball Hall of Fame to see if they were interested in the piece. He first provided the museum with a picture of the poster, but they requested to see the original. Amodeo took the poster to Cooperstown for a museum curator to personally examine it and then it was brought in front of the museum’s board.
Amodeo said he talked to Engelberg a few times about a licensing agreement tied to the poster. After negotiating with the estate lawyer, they eventually came to a mutual agreement on a licensing agreement.
“There was a lot of back and forth between us,” the Calverton resident said. “But I was able to get the blessing from the estate.”
Amodeo hoped to auction the prints to charities helping disabled veterans and children suffering from cancer as well as seeing if the Yankees and Indians wanted to sell his prints at their store, though he hit a roadblock.
Despite getting a licensing agreement from the DiMaggio estate, Amodeo would need a separate agreement from Major League Baseball for him to be able to sell and auction the poster.
“You can get an agreement from MLB, but you have to pay,” he said.
Amodeo has been persistent but says it is tough to get those doors open as he works
“I haven’t really made progress unfortunately.” he said. “I’m trying to get a hold of someone in the Yankees organization and see where I can go with this.”
The Vietnam veteran added he didn’t have the money to go to a lawyer when he was initially going through the process.
Despite his struggles, after more than a decade, the poster is now on display in Cooperstown.
Amodeo said he made the trip up when the American Legion had its 100th anniversary this year, but was disappointed to see the piece wasn’t on display.
“They told me that the poster is so fragile that is displayed in cycles,” he said. “I hope to see it in person one day.”
Amodeo said he is fortunate he found the poster all those years ago.
“It is something I’m proud of,” he said. “It is something that is in the history books.”