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Jim Harbaugh Reveals Extent of Baseball Fandom

Posted Aug 22, 2014

A MLB fan since childhood, the San Francisco 49ers coach spoke about his passion for the game, his collection of foul balls and the extreme means he went to as a kid to meet a player.

Kids do the darndest things when meeting a sports hero is at stake. The man at the helm of the San Francisco 49ers was no exception growing up. Niners Daily has the details.

Seamhead

Before beginning training camp with the 49ers last month, Jim Harbaugh went on a tour of sorts, attending six Major League Baseball games in the Bay Area and elsewhere.

A lover of the game since childhood, Harbaugh spoke to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News about his passion for the sport, his collection of foul balls and the rather extreme extents he went to as a kid to meet a player. 

At a Diamondbacks game in Arizona this summer, Harbaugh was spotted sporting a glove looking eager to snag a souvenir. As it turns out, the coach is fairly picky when it comes to foul balls.

"It’s got to be in play, during a game, not batting practice," he said, adding that he owns 20 such souvenirs. "Not the kind where the third baseman runs off and tosses it into the stands. Legit."

Later in the interview, Harbaugh recalled a visit to a Cleveland Indians game when he got the opportunity to go down on the field and take a photo with a player. Harbaugh, five-years-old at the time, was waiting in line when nature called and forced him to make a difficult decision. 

"It was either go to the bathroom and not get a picture, or do it right there in my pants," Harbaugh said. "So I chose to go in my pants and my parents have this picture... I just want that picture for some reason. I really want that picture."

Talk about dedication.


TWMF

Why do we love football? That's the question NFL's Together We Make Football program posed to fans with the hopes of garnering unique and moving stories in response. 

Offering up a trip to the Super Bowl in Arizona this February as the top prize, the site has been flooded with terrific anecdotes about how the game has touched peoples' lives. In browsing the stories, you can filter your search down to specific teams. Here are a few 49ers specific entries. 

Jory: Currently deployed on his third tour of duty in the Middle East, this 49ers fan is married to a supporter of a certain division rival, but we won't hold that against him. During football season, he stays up late at night when the games are on in his time zone and experiences a little piece of home despite being across the world.

Cheboia: His first child was born six weeks early on Jan. 15 during the 49ers playoff run. The baby spent the first two weeks of his life in the hospital and football helped the family cope. Cheboia left his lucky 49ers hat on his son's incubator every night. He now never leaves home without it.

Tim: The coach of a high school football team in the small mining town of Boron, Calif., Tim wrote about how his players - who represent roughly a third of the school's entire enrollment - support the 49ers in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Shelly: The mother of a young son who used football to get active, Shelly traveled 20 hours by train to Dallas in June to bring her kid to Michael Crabtree's youth football camp. There, she and her son met several 49ers players including Crabtree, Quinton Patton and Tony Jerod-Eddie. Shelly added that the players' words of encouragement have continued to serve as motivation for her child.


Undercover Boss

Vernon Davis truly is a renaissance man. An All-Pro tight end for the 49ers, the operator of the "Gallery 85" art studio at San Jose's Santa Row and the owner of a Jamba Juice franchise in Santa Clara, Davis can now add spy to his resume.

At his aforementioned smoothie store just down the road from the team's new stadium, the veteran donned a disguise consisting of glasses and dreadlocks to fool "unsuspecting" customers into thinking he was a new employee named Sycamore. A few of the patrons caught on to the ruse, but there were a few funny moments. 

"Have you seen Vernon Daivs come through here? I heard he was really nice."



The Vault

Harbaugh isn't the only baseball fan in the 49ers family. The San Francisco Giants invited quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a game last summer to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. A pitcher in high school, Kaepernick reportedly hit 87 mph on the radar gun in front of the fans at AT&T Park.