Obama, Yogi, and the Magnet: The Strange Story of a Presidential Present

Stan SillimanCorrespondent IIAugust 23, 2010

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28:  (L-R) Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, New York Yankees legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, First lady Michelle Obama and Iraq veteran Tony Odierno walk off the field during Game One of the 2009 MLB World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium on October 28, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

From the time he started playing baseball, Yogi Berra has met every sitting president.

It was an honor, it was a goal; each occasion brought joy to Yogi.

But even though Yogi met Michelle Obama at last year's World Series, he has not met President Obama.

He wanted to, hoped to, but conflicting schedules prevented the meeting.

In the absence of a face-to-face, Yogi still has a valued possession he wants to give to our president—a signed picture showing Jackie Robinson sliding into home plate as Yogi is making the tag.

Yogi’s picture, showing Yogi at home plate preparing to tag out Jackie Robinson in the 1955 World Series, has the inscription “Dear Mr. President, he was out” signed by Berra.

Yogi, 85, has been recovering in a hospital and unable to walk since taking a fall in July. He was not able to attend Hall of Fame ceremonies this year at Cooperstown, an event he never misses.

So what do you do when you’re trying to get a special gift to the biggest celebrity in the world and you can’t be there yourself? You call the Celebrity Magnet—Tom Murro.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? If your house is populated by ghosts, who you going to call? Why, Ghostbusters, of course! Same thing if you need to get next to a celebrity, you enlist the services of a celebrity-getter-next-toer, this Magnet guy, a professional celebrity sider-upper.

This guy has his own Celebrity Magnet blog, then parlayed the blog into a column in International Watch Magazine, a monthly publication about wristwatches, which, by the way, allows The Magnet even MORE access to celebrities. As if he needed it.

The magazine grants even more access because, more than anything on Earth, celebrities love to talk about wristwatches.

Do you doubt me? Tom Murro stood outside a Broadway theater where Daniel Craig starred in A Steady Rain, met Daniel Craig (don’t ask me if it happened to be raining when Murro was waiting outside the theater) and immediately they started gabbing about wristwatches.

Murro, the Magnet, was a former banker who knows his watches, and hearing this, Craig held up his arm and offered Murro his Rolex. 

Mr. Celebrity Magnet refused to accept, of course, because if he took everyone’s watch who falls under his magnetic spell, well, it would be like abusing his super powers.

It would be like if Clark Kent entered a skydiving contest, like if someone bet their house against Peter Parker in rock climbing, like getting duped into playing a game of hide-and-seek with the Invisible Man.

You might be wondering how Tom Murro became the Magnet. What cosmic alignment spawned this creature? What kismetic event bestowed celebrity-drawing super powers onto this mild mannered banker?

It all started one year ago this week, when Murro and his daughter were on the same Martha’s Vineyard golf course as Obama while the president was on vacation.

Murro decided to approach the president to see if his daughter could get a picture with him. To Murro’s luck, Spike Lee was in the president’s foursome, knew and vouched for Tom, so he was let through.


Shockingly long odds Kismet.

Anyway, the question remains, can he make it through secret service (again) and deliver Yogi’s gift to Obama?

Will the picture make it into the president’s hands?

Can the Magnet pull off another miracle? We’re writing this prior to an answer. Tom Murro assured us he would give it an all-out try.

Can he do it? We think, “Yes, he can!”

To see a video on this strange story look here: