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Jeff Kolpack, Published June 28 2010

Maris at the matte: Longtime fan seeking photos of Fargo slugger

A photograph of Roger Maris taken by anybody would be worth a million words to Andy Strasberg. If you have one, he wants it.

Well, he wants a copy.

The lifelong fan of the former Fargo slugger and a staple of the Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament has a photobook project going based on fans’ snapshots of Major League Baseball. The project is titled, “Fantography,” and his quest is to find the best photos that are not game action.

They do not have to be professional quality and, in fact, in his prototype book, most are not. For instance, there’s one of Lou Gehrig with his parents and a blurry shot of Babe Ruth with his sister.

As for Maris, he has about 20 photos and he’s looking for more. That’s where you come in. He wants to devote an entire chapter to Maris, and if you have a photo, you can submit it on the website at www.fantography.net.

“A photo of him doing anything, during his career or after his career,” Strasberg said Sunday, before the annual Maris auction.

Certainly, the Maris family has plenty of photos, but Strasberg said that wouldn’t be in line with the book’s concept.

“That doesn’t seem legitimate because this is about the fans’ perception of their baseball experience,” he said.

The hope is to bring the book to the public sometime during next baseball season. That would be the 14th year from when he first thought of the project.

He calls this book the “first volume” and is something that “is a project for the rest of my life.”

“Photography and baseball in some ways are loosely connected in the way they grew up together,” Strasberg said. “Baseball was invented in 1839. Photography was first used in 1839.”

Formerly a front office staff member of the San Diego Padres for 22 years, Strasberg is now a marketing consultant. He spent part of this weekend driving around Fargo taking photos of Maris sites like his grave, the cancer center and the Roger Maris Drive street sign.

The 27th annual Maris Celebrity event concludes today with 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. scramble tee times at Rose Creek Golf Course. By the 28th annual, Strasberg hopes to have more photos of Maris.

“They don’t have to be artistic photos or they don’t have to be great photos,” he said. “What I’m going to do is to be able to preserve their baseball photographs forever.”

Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia.