Dear Northrup family,
My name is Kevin Svetcos and I have a story to tell. My dad was my t-ball team coach and he promised that at the end of the year he would get every one on the team an autographed baseball from the Detroit Tigers. At the end of the season he bought a case (24) of Rawlings baseballs and took them to a Sears near where we lived. Mr. Northrup was there that day and my dad and I were in line. We got to the front, dad put down the case and basically said here ya go. Mr. Northrup looked at my dad and basically said what the heck. :^D My dad told Mr. Northrup of his promise of signed baseballs for the team and that he was going to make good on it. Mr. Northrup basically told my dad to go pound sand because he wasn't going to sign all those baseballs. Dad said not happening, he made a promise to a bunch of 6 y/o boys and he was going to deliver, and don't you know that Mr. Northrup actually signed every single blessed one of those balls? He wasn't happy about it, but he did it. He was cussing like a drunken sailor, but he did it. Every last one.
I served in the military, and my career eventually took me to the Washington, DC area where I have worked with all branches of uniformed members of the DoD since 9/11. During both my active duty days and with working with the men and women in uniform (most who have served at least one rotation in Iraq and/or Afghanistan) we hold a man's character and integrity as the true measure of the man, and I am here to tell you that I often think of Mr. Northrup and the integrity and character he showed on that day signing all of those baseballs for all those kids. Unsurpassed. After that day, Jim Northrup was my favorite Tiger and he was an inspiration to me on how a person should live their life. I remember dad handing out those baseballs and the looks on everyone's faces and I remember how I felt when I got mine. That was the talk for YEARS after. Because of his integrity and character, Mr. Northrup impacted not only 12 other boys but also their families because dad told the story to every single kid and parent, not to spread the news of dad's "tenacity", but to tell everyone of how Mr. Northrup handled the situation
Ironically, I grew up in Holly and graduated from there. I just saw that Mr. Northrup spent some time towards the end of his career on earth there, and I feel somewhat cheated because I have wanted to thank him for some time for doing that. To find out he has passed 2.5 yrs. ago disappoints me to know I can't thank him; to know that he lived his last days in my home town and in a facility so near to where I lived as a boy just rubs salt into the wound.
I don't know if you'll even see this entry, but I had to leave it regardless of if you see it or not. I don't know how Jim Nortrup lived his life in general, but I do know that on that day and in that situation, he shone bright. He made an incredible impact on me not as much as a ball player as he did a human being and I am forever grateful.
If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, I'll thank you for your time in reading this. Take care and God bless. Mr. Northrup may be gone but as long as I live, he will never be forgotten.