Just a card for this dad on Father's Day -- a baseball card, that is

Jun 18 2012 - 5:44am

Images

ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Reed Loveland (center) stands with two of his sons, Tyler (left) and Aaron, in front of a display case with some of his baseball memorabilia at Pleasant Valley branch library in Washington Terrace.
Photo courtesy Reed Loveland
Jacob and Aaron Lovemand pose with Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Some of Reed Loveland's many baseball cards are on display with other memorabilia at Pleasant Valley branch Library in Washington Terrace. Loveland and his sons are huge baseball fans and travel the country to watch games together.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
A Babe Ruth baseball card and a Rogers Hornsby baseball card are just part of Loveland's collection.
Photo courtesy Reed Loveland
Reed Loveland's sons Jacob and Aaron Loveland get autographs from Glenn Hubbard, a member of the Atlanta Braves team. Hubbard was raised in the Ogden area.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Reed Loveland (center) stands with two of his sons, Tyler (left) and Aaron, in front of a display case with some of his baseball memorabilia at Pleasant Valley branch library in Washington Terrace.
Photo courtesy Reed Loveland
Jacob and Aaron Lovemand pose with Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
Some of Reed Loveland's many baseball cards are on display with other memorabilia at Pleasant Valley branch Library in Washington Terrace. Loveland and his sons are huge baseball fans and travel the country to watch games together.
ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner
A Babe Ruth baseball card and a Rogers Hornsby baseball card are just part of Loveland's collection.
Photo courtesy Reed Loveland
Reed Loveland's sons Jacob and Aaron Loveland get autographs from Glenn Hubbard, a member of the Atlanta Braves team. Hubbard was raised in the Ogden area.

Aaron Loveland's mom told him the idea of calling him Aaron came from the Bible. His dad told him his name came from baseball.

"He always tells people he named me after Hank Aaron," said the young Loveland. "It's probably true, knowing him -- I know that Hank Aaron was one of his favorite players."

True story or not, both parents tried to make sure their son's education matched his name.

"She taught him scriptures. I taught him statistics -- baseball statistics," said Aaron's father, Reed Loveland.

While other fathers are receiving traditional greeting cards from their kids today, on Father's Day, it might be more appropriate if Reed Loveland's kids give him baseball cards. The Ogden man has been a baseball fan for about as long as he can remember.

"My first memory of watching a baseball game was when I was in elementary school. They brought the TV into the cafeteria," he said. "The World Series was on. It was 1956, and the game was between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers."

Around 1958, he bought his first baseball cards. There are about 150,000 cards in his collection now. A sampling of the cards, as well as a few bats, hats, baseballs, signed portraits of players and even a cereal box, are on display through July 31, at the Pleasant Valley branch library in Washington Terrace.

"My favorite player was Hank Aaron, and I have his rookie card, which is a 1954," Reed said, noting that he traded for it when he was a kid. He also has a 1953 Mickey Mantle card.

And he's not the only one in the family with a card collection.

"When my children were old enough, my wife and I used baseball cards as an incentive to do their jobs," he said.

Now adults, Loveland's sons still have their cards -- and fond memories.

"Dinner tables revolved around sports talk ... reading the backs of baseball cards to see who knows the most about different athletes," said Tyler Loveland.

Aaron also remembers playing related games.

"We played 'War' with baseball cards," he said, explaining that instead of the high card winning, the card with the best statistics won.

A professional artist, Reed Loveland used to create portraits of players.

"When they would do a card show, I'd go down and they would autograph their drawings for me," he said. "I remember when Hank Aaron was signing for me, he asked if he could keep the picture -- he really liked it."

In league

Baseball helped bond the Loveland boys: Jacob of Heber, Aaron who lives in Clinton, Jared in Tucson, Ariz., and Tyler of Bountiful.

"I think it's given us a common interest," said Jacob. "Even now, when we get together, we always talk about baseball, and the Braves, and how they're doing."

They didn't have any choice but to follow the Braves. The team owner had a cable company, so games were easy to catch on television, and their dad was cheering on fellow Ben Lomond High alumnus Glenn Hubbard.

"We just kind of fell in love with the team and still follow them, religiously," Jacob said.

Sports also strengthened their bond with their father. He coached several of them in baseball and soccer.

"He'd rather be your friend than degrade and yell," Jacob said. "He sacrificed all of his time just to help us boys in sports. You don't realize that until you become a father."

Of course, he also helped his two daughters, Natalie Webster of Clinton, and Jenilyn Morris of South Ogden.

"He did a lot of soccer with them," said Aaron, but neither sister really got into baseball.

Not needed as a coach at Northridge High School in Layton, where he taught art for many years, Reed Loveland coached soccer at Ogden High. But the baseball bug never goes away.

"I stop and watch high school games when I drive by," he said. "I just enjoy watching them."

The first year minor league baseball came to Ogden, Reed was so excited he worked in a concession stand.

"It was just to be outside, and be at the baseball games," said Aaron.

Boys of summer

The Loveland men have been traveling to watch professional baseball together for about 10 years now.

Tyler's going to Atlanta this summer for work, and Reed will meet him there for a game. Aaron's got a trip to San Francisco planned, and his dad will join him.

They'll watch any team playing, in any town they travel to for work. But big trips just for baseball are still about one team.

"We don't make a trip to see a game unless it's the Braves," said Tyler.

Originally, they just drove to Denver. Now they fly all over the country, and a couple of them have visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The women of the family are loved -- but not invited.

"They go to St. George, to Tuacahn, to get even," said Aaron.

The men arrive at games several hours early, to interact with players during batting practice. Once, Jacob was given

the chance to win prizes by running across the field at a Colorado Rockies game.

"No one knew until my name flashed up on the scoreboard," Jacob said.

But the best memories, the boys say, are of the first road trips as adults.

"We stopped at a little dump in Wyoming, and all shared a room, then watched about four Braves/Colorado Rockies games, then drove back," said Aaron. "It was great having that time with everybody in the car for 16 hours --everybody's getting along and having a great time."

Going to the dogs

Jared says baseball helps keep the family close.

"It's a good excuse to get together sometimes," he said. "Without that, it might not happen as often."

He hopes to pass the love of baseball on to his children. His two young sons are already starting to play, and his 3-year-old daughter will be welcome, if she's interested.

The other brothers aren't sure it will catch on with their kids. Tyler has a couple of girls, too young for baseball. Jacob's son is into soccer.

"We were driving to soccer practice when we passed a baseball game, and he said, 'Dad, that sport looks so boring,' " said Jacob. "It's kind of ironic."

Like his father, Aaron wanted to name a child after an Atlanta Braves player -- but his choice was Chipper Jones.

"My wife wouldn't let me name our kid Chipper, so I had to settle for the dog," he said.

 

LOVELAND'S ART ON DISPLAY, TOO

Reed Loveland isn't just a baseball fan -- he's a professional artist.

Exhibits of his work are on display at the Pleasant Valley branch of the Weber County Library, at 5568 S. Adams Ave. in Washington Terrace, and at the Ogden Valley branch library, at 131 S. 7400 East in Huntsville.

"I use spray paint," he said of his art. "It's not what you see on the side of a building, although you sometimes see some great things on the sides of buildings."

Loveland, of Ogden, uses the spray paint to create backgrounds.

"Then I go back with colored pencil, and get more definition in the details of my landscapes," he said.

Images inspired by Southern Utah are currently on display at the Ogden Valley branch of the library. Loveland's work at the Pleasant Valley branch is focused on images with trees. The libraries will trade exhibits at the end of June, and keep the art up until July 31.

Both exhibits are free. The libraries are open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 801-337-2616.

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