Brek Mauer

Brek+Mauer

Student Brek Mauer poses with Yankees player Derek Jeter.

Autumn Keefer, News Editor

Fanatic. A person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, often towards a sport or team. This term embodies junior Brek Mauer, a Yankees and sports autograph fanatic.

Mauer started collecting baseball players’ autographs at a very young age with the help of her dad. During the summer, she goes autograph hunting as many as three times a week and sometimes misses school in order to obtain some of these autographs.

It all started with her dad, Brian Mauer, becoming interested in baseball when he was thirteen and avidly listening to his nearby team the Kansas City Royals on the radio. After growing up and going to a few games with his kids years later, he began to realize just how much fun they seemed to have at the games. However, the Mauers take it one step further than most families.

“We would go down to the field watch the home team take batting practice and then afterwards watch the visiting team take their batting practice,” Brian said.

That’s only part of the Mauer’s autograph devotion. Brek and her dad sometimes wait for hours at a time outside player’s hotels and at the ballpark. When waiting at the ballpark, they try to build relationships with the players.

“Friendships are formed between Brek and the players,” Brian said. “Before and after the games they would come over to talk to her. Talk to her about baseball, school, and activities.”

Brian also has a hobby of taking pictures. He takes the pictures first of the players, then burns a CD to give to them and then prints out a few copies for them to sign. He and Brek build a close relationship with the players in this way as well.

While sometimes they are successful in obtaining an autograph, other times, they come home empty-handed.

“Collecting autographs is like gambling, sometimes you’ll give all you got to get an autograph and sometimes you lose, but sometimes you get lucky,” Brek said. “It’s not an easy thing. It all falls down to being at the right place at the right time.”

Avidly collecting since before fifth grade, Brek and her dad have obtained quite the collection.

“We’ve gotten Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Willie Mays, Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Terrell Owens, Michael Irving, Reggie Jackson, and a ton others,” Brek said. “My dad has met people like George Bush, Michael Jordan, Hulk Holgan, Mickey Mantle.”

The autograph hunt has brought Brek and her dad closer, creating a virtually unbreakable father-daughter bond.

“We spend so much time together doing autographs because we normally wait for hours to get them,” Brek said. “It’s really brought us closer and we really connect.”

Her father agrees.

“Special times, special memories and a special bond is formed,” Brian said. “[We have] enough memories to last a lifetime.”

Her most memorable autograph came when Brek was in seventh grade and she went to try to find Derek Jeter, her all-time favorite player.

“I was waiting alone on a bench outside their hotel when the Yankees security guard approached me,” said Brek. “He realized how committed I was to get his autograph so the security guard told Derek and Derek Jeter came out the hotel and came straight to me and signed my picture and took a picture with me. It was the best day of my life.”