Their old team might be in the dumps, but that didn’t stop former Mariners Jeff Nelson and Jay Buhner from smiling as they signed autographs at a Children’s Hospital fundraising event at the Issaquah Costco last week.
Dozens turned out for signed baseballs or photographs as the two former players donated their time Friday for the hospital.
“We do a lot of work with Children’s,” Buhner said. “It’s wonderful to have a place like this in our backyard. Seattle is pretty fortunate.”
Both of the players frequent the Costco and know several of the employees, including Wayne Ramos, one of the store’s managers, who asked them to come.
“They are very giving when it comes to the community,” Ramos said. “They are great guys.”
The first batch of baseballs went quickly, and Costco workers had to run out to get more after the first hour. Signed baseballs went for $25 each and signed photos were $5 each. In two hours the event brought in $4,780 and all of the proceeds went to the Children’s Hospital.
Both the approximately 150 baseballs and 300 photos that were autographed sold out.
While some visitors knew in advance and planned for the event, bringing baseball cards and other paraphernalia to be signed, it was a surprise for others.
Donna Stevenson was shopping for supplies for her husband Dan’s surprise 50th birthday party that night when she saw Bone and Nellie. Her husband is a huge Mariners fan and has several balls signed by M’s players but didn’t yet have Buhner or Nelson’s autograph.
“This is the perfect gift,” Stevenson said.
The guys each signed a ball with “Happy 50th Birthday, Dan.”
This event was part of the month of fundraising by Costco for Children’s Hospital. Until May 31, Costco will match any donations made to Children’s, up to $500,000 at any of their Costco locations.
Kyra Low can be reached at email@example.com or 391-0363, ext. 5050.