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Local sports collector to display memorabilia

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Follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.

Don Graham will have two displays at library

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 5:23 am

Fort Wayne sports historian Don Graham is sharing his some of his collection.

Graham, 75, has showcased some of his Fort Wayne Daisies and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League memorabilia from the 1950s on the first floor of the Allen County Public Library. Four display cases include programs, pictures, posters and a signed baseball. That display is located on the first floor in front of reader services.

He's also going to display part of his Zollner Pistons fast-pitch softball collection later this week. That collection will be displayed on the second floor near the Genealogy Department.

"This is the best of the best of my collection,'' Graham said.

He previously showcased displays of Daisies, Pistons softball and basketball and Komets hockey memorabilia in 2000 and 2001.

He's also scanning more than 7,000 program covers from the teams into the library's digital database. That also includes Fort Wayne amateur baseball programs, photos and scrapbooks.

Graham's wife, Marge, has worked at the library as a professional researcher since 1981. Whenever a sports question comes up that no one else can answer, she tells the library personnel to call her husband.

Don Graham's collection started almost 30 years ago when he found a 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers program. He paid about $40 for it and was hooked. Most of the pieces have local origins, but Graham also has some major league memorabilia, including a 1960 World Series ticket for Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees that ended when Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run.

Besides looking online, Graham, who retired in March 2008 as a personnel and labor relations consultant, would go to auctions or antique shops. He found a large newspaper front page in Iowa that featured the Daisies.

The displays will remain up through the end of September.