SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Reese Osterberg loves baseball. A natural lefty, she is of the best baseball players in her Little League, and on a normal fall weekend, she would likely be playing the sandlot game with friends, reliving the glories of the recently-completed World Series.
But these are not normal times. Reese’s league had its season canceled this summer because of the COVID pandemic. Then much of her Shaver Lake neighborhood, including her family home and their beloved Cressman’s store, was destroyed by the flames of the Creek Fire.
She and her family were able to safely flee the raging wildfire, escaping with what they could pack in their vehicles. Reese had asked her dad to get her baseball card collection, and with limited time and the stress of evacuation, he forgot to grab it.
On Oct. 21, Cal Fire, the California Highway Patrol and Fresno County deputies and firefighters issued a social media plea, asking for anyone with a baseball card collection to consider making a donation the youngster and her friends.
“It’s October, so if you’re a MLB fan, you know what that means – it’s time to step up your game,” Cal Fire/Fresno County Fire officials posted on their Facebook page. “When Reese’s story was shared with Alvin Greene, a local #mentalhealth professional with decades of experience counseling first responders, he immediately reached into his desk drawer and handed over a stack of cards and said, ‘Here you go, start with these.'”
“We want to rebuild the baseball card collections of Reese, Emmett, Grayson and every one of their friends who were affected by the #CreekFire.”
San Jose resident Kevin Ashford’s heard media reports of Reese’s plight. He happened to have a baseball card collection estimated at approximately 25,000 cards and wanted to help ease Reese and her friends’ loss. He donated his entire collection to the cause.
On Wednesday, a caravan of CHP, Fresno Sheriff and Fire Department and Cal Fire vehicles rolled into his neighborhood to load up the stash.
“We had the humbling opportunity to be involved when we were asked to pick up the cards in San Jose to help them on their way to Fresno County,” CHP officials posted on Wednesday. “Along with CAL FIRE, Santa Clara Unit HQ and San José Fire Department, our Officers loaded the boxes in patrol cars and got them started on their journey.”
Among the cards was one that was certain to be near and dear to young Reese is that of her favorite player — San Francisco Giants star Buster Posey.