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Airport Sightings

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Airport Sightings

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:01 pm

After I posted about seeing Nixon at the Naval Air Station in Naples, Italy, I got to thinking about other famous or infamous people I've seen at airports. I've been around airports all my life - my dad retired as the Mitchell Field Airport manager.

When I was in the Navy, I travelled through many airports. I saw Bob Hope in LAX, Pete Rose in ORD, the then San Diego Rockets b-ball team in SD. Ritchie Havens sat behind me on the Madison to Chicago hop (he was listening to a tape the entire time - probably listening to/critiquing one of his concerts). And once when my dad picked me up at Mitchell Field when I was on leave, he said the Milwaukee Bucks just arrived. Sure enough, about a dozen guys, all at least a head taller than the rest of crowd, could be seen at a distance. I went up to the tallest player to ask for his autograph. I called him Mr. Alcindor, not knowing he recently changed his name (my excuse, I was stationed out of the country and not aware of the change). He didn't correct me, but did politely say it was his policy not to give autographs. Hey, at least I got to talk to Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
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Re: Airport Sightings

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:35 am

I forgot my latest "sighting". I was at the San Juan, Puerto Rico airport waiting for a flight back to the States this last January and I noticed this tall, skinny bald-headed man, dressed in tropical white, pacing up and down while talking on his cell phone. Sure enough, it was James Carville. Probably talking election strategy with the Hillary Clinton campaign.
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Re: Airport Sightings

Postby jjoyce » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:31 am

The entire D.C. United soccer team a few years ago were on a flight of mine from Denver to San Diego.

Jeff "Own Goal" Agoos was leading a spirited game of Hearts in the gate area.
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Re: Airport Sightings

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:25 am

Once in 1993 I was in the Seattle airport and heard Steve Ballmer get paged.
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Re: Airport Sightings

Postby boston_jeff » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:26 am

I saw Barack Obama deplane onto a big black bus at National airport with his entire entourage and press corps this summer (from the terminal window so not really up close and personal). Also, saw the CSI actor Paul Guilfoyle on a flight from Italy to Boston. I don't watch the show much, but we recognized him and he was very nice, chatting with the other passengers while clearing customs.

The best sighting I had was the year the MLB Allstar game was in Boston (1999). The Phillies and Orioles were playing interleague and allstars from both teams were flying commercial together into Logan. My wife and I were arriving from DC and we picked up our baggage from the same carousel as several players. I saw a bunch of large duffles with MLB Orioles and Phillies logos on them and knew I would see somebody. Sure enough Cal Ripken Jr. and B.J. Surhoff were standing right near us. Curt Schilling and Paul Byrd were right around the corner with a very pregnant Shonda Schilling. Cal was very friendly, refusing autographs, but very respectful, chatting with fans in a nice blazer. B.J. was wearing a polo shirt and jeans with one of those giant cellphones on the belt contraptions (this was 1999). He was very jacked (steroids?), but I don't think anyone really recognized him. Schill looked like the rube he was pre-Arizona contract, short sleeved white button down, mullet, and penny loafers, referring to Paul Byrd as "hey Byrdman" when their bags showed up. Funny that Byrd was an Allstar, and both of those guys ended up on my Red Sox years later.

I guess Crash Davis was wrong when he said that "someone always carries your bags in 'the show'." My wife saw Antonio Alfonseca at the Copley mall a few days later buying ASG souvenirs.
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Re: Airport Sightings

Postby Bunny Chow » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:43 pm

Recently I sat next to a drummer who played with Nazareth on a flight from LAX to MNE. Lainie Kazan googoo'd my baby daughter at LAX a long time ago. I saw Dollar Bill Walton at SeaTac...I used to be a porter for a private airport in Lake Geneva....saw lots of famous people then, notably Metallica...man, were they proud of that plane.
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Re: Airport Sightings

Postby gozer » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:42 pm

i ran into the herbal chemist who later turned out to actually be radovan karađžić in paris about 18 months before he got busted. i bought antihistamines from the fellow several times and i had no idea.

some time ago i used to see oprah winfrey at chicago-o'hare at least once every four months or so.

i also think the cop who pulled me over for speeding on the east-west freeway in milwaukee this past april may be gen ratko mladić...i also think hitler may have waited on us at a couple of restaurants in chicago.
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