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MY TURN

Steve Greenberg Better than my record indicates

>>>>>>>>>> sgreenberg@sportingnews.com

It’s gotta be the genes

Genome Sequencing Center. “I could go out into the industry and make more money,” he says, “but I believe in the project. Twenty or 30 years down the road, a person won’t have the genetic propensity to get breast cancer.” This is a guy who grabs lunch at the same dives, plays softball in the same park and sits down at the same nickel-dime card games. “People who win the lottery and blow all their money, they probably don’t ’m sitting across a stay grounded,” he says. “They couple of gyros plates have to switch their friends from one lucky SOB. because who knows how It says so in big, fat good of friends they really letters on his T-shirt: are, right? I’m definitely not Lucky. But that’s as close speaking from experience.” to vanity as Philip Ozersky Among those friends is could get if he tried—which my next-door neighbor, who he hasn’t since hurtling introduced me to Ozersky his 26-year-old, 180-pound at one of those card games. body onto Mark McGwire’s It’s hard not to laugh when a 70th home run ball on millionaire says, “I’ll see your September 27, 1998, and quarter and raise you half a selling it at an auction 15 buck.” Ozersky got his White weeks later for more monCastles handed to him that ey than any Barry Bonds night, but it was an aberraballhawk could dream of. tion—he has always had a bit Three million big ones. of a lucky streak. You’d think that would A few weeks ago, he change a guy, wouldn’t you? chipped in from 75 yards and Here’s how it has changed Ozsank a 45-foot putt while playersky: Before he sold the ball, Ozersky says public support ran 50-50 for selling it. ing in a scramble with Aman■ He bought a new But since then, not one person has told him he should have given it to McGwire. da’s parents. “Those were my house—across the street from two contributions to the team,” he laughs. His $250,000 he donated to the American Cancer his sister, Sharon, whose daughter baby-sits buddies still talk about the time he flipped a Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Philip and wife Amanda’s two little girls. basketball over his head while falling out of and Cardinal Care. ■ He bought a vacation home—a twobounds and swished it. The small This is a guy who drives the bedroom villa in Boynton Beach, Fla., so his It’s hard not fortune he invested in stocks in same light-blue 1994 Ford Probe father, who had a debilitating stroke in 1986, that he bought after graduating and mother can escape the St. Louis cold five to laugh when 1999? He never really lost any of it after the market began to plumfrom college. “It’s just a car,” he months a year. “I am a 21-year survivor,” Herb a millionaire met. He met Amanda in the same says. “It gets me where I need to Ozersky says, “and I know that house has added says, ‘I’ll see Busch Stadium party box where go.” Of course, he totally splurged at least a couple of years to my life.” your quarter McGwire’s 70th home run would on a family vehicle—a Honda ■ He travels a lot—to Arizona to see the Odyssey minivan after the girls in-laws. and raise you land one year later. On the day Ozersky dived on the money ball, were born. ■ He bought Rams season tickets (“I go half a buck.’ he missed a Rams home game for This is a guy who cleared about with my dad,” Philip says. “It’s the one time a the first time since the franchise 100 times his annual salary with week when for sure I see him”) and Cardinals had moved from Los Angeles. his windfall in ’98—and works the same job season tickets (“I share those with Sharon; we’re Herb owned the Rams tickets then. The nine years later, analyzing DNA research for the the baseball fans in the family”). seats are a little better now. Washington University School of Medicine’s And that’s about it. Well, save for the roughly

Grab a big-money home run ball one minute, start living the high life the next, right? Not so for researcher—yes, he kept his job!—Philip Ozersky.

8 . SEE A DIFFERENT GAME . 8/27/07

ALBERT DICKSON / SN

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Profile for Steve Greenberg

It's Gotta Be the Genes  

Grab a big-money home run ball one minute, start living the high life the next, right? Not so for researcher- yes, he kept his job!- Philip...

It's Gotta Be the Genes  

Grab a big-money home run ball one minute, start living the high life the next, right? Not so for researcher- yes, he kept his job!- Philip...

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