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A 16 Year Wait on a TTM answered ...

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  • A 16 Year Wait on a TTM answered ...

    I read this on Sunday ... it goes to show you there is still hope

    BRANDON - Scott Bebensee has always been a Giants fan, never wavering, even though the players ignored mail he sent them as a teenager.

    He'd sent the Giants' star defensive lineman Leonard Marshall two of his football cards, asking the player to autograph them and send them back. He included a postage-paid envelope with his address, and he mailed them to the team's headquarters in 1991.

    Never heard a word.

    The cards were gone forever, he figured. "I'd forgotten all about it," said Bebensee, now 32 and living in Brandon.

    Then, just after Christmas came a phone call. Bebensee's brother said a letter had arrived at his home on Rural Route 2 in Bruce, the place where both boys had grown up. It was postmarked on Christmas Eve, from West Palm Beach, Fla.

    Inside, in very good condition, were the two football cards with Marshall's autograph now on both.

    "That was pretty cool," Bebensee said Thursday.

    He had no idea where the letter had been through the years, as he and his wife bought Giants hats and jerseys and cheerleader outfits for their toddlers. They will, of course, be watching the Giants play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII Sunday night.
    'The right thing to do'

    Marshall played for the Giants when they won Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV. He retired from the NFL in the mid-1990s, and he's now an executive in residence at Seton Hall University's Center for Sport Management in New Jersey.

    He's also known for his charity work. He's been involved with the Leukemia Society of America and the United Way, among others, according to Seton Hall's Web site.

    Marshall also works for the South Florida-based financial services firm Seeman Holtz, where an employee got a message to him this week to call the Argus Leader.

    "Mr. Marshall, a kid from South Dakota just got a letter from you," Marshall was informed. "Did you have anything to do with that?"

    "I certainly did," he replied.

    It turned out that Marshall came across a large box of mail - perhaps more than 2,000 pieces - while moving in South Florida in November. (Marshall's mail is measured not in ounces, but in tons: It's not uncommon for him to receive 300 to 400 pieces of mail each month).

    "I had just gotten some news about making the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, some good fortune," Marshall recalled.

    "Something told me, 'Leonard, it's the right thing to do - go ahead and sign the cards and send them back,' " he said.

    "And that's what I decided to do."

    Marshall was surprised when told the letter that arrived in South Dakota was sent by a teenager 16 years ago.

    "He's got to be a grown man now, huh?," Marshall said. "Well, I'm assuming that the cards found him well and things are going well for him."
    Fans rewarded

    Well, indeed. Bebensee and his wife, Jessica, both pharmacists, have three children, ages 5, 3 and 5 months. Huge Giants fans, all of them. Bebensee has been a fan of the team as long as he can remember. He sometimes feels as if he's the only Giants fan in South Dakota (though he knows of others, one in Brandon even).

    He's not from New York. He doesn't follow other New York teams.

    No matter, he's just a Giants fan, and that's sometimes the way it is when boys pick a team. It's just that in Bebensee's case, he's stuck with them all these years.

    Ultimately, it really didn't matter that his autograph request went unanswered for so long.

    "My friends and I did it occasionally, and we rarely heard back," he said. "It was pretty standard to not get a response."

    Though it might have taken awhile, Marshall is the first Giants player who did respond.
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