The mystery man wearing a Hart baseball jacket spotted before summer by a former Santa Clarita Valley resident in Haines, Alaska, has been identified.
In a July 7 story in The Signal, former SCV resident Michael Marks, who now lives in Haines and volunteers in the Haines tourism office, said he was welcoming travelers coming off a Princess Cruises ship just before summer when he noticed a bright red Hart baseball jacket in the crowd. Marks quickly made a point to introduce himself and even take pictures. And while Marks got the man’s first name — also Michael — he didn’t get his last name.
“I saw the story in the SCV Signal about the Hart jacket in Alaska,” wrote Amanda Tethers in an email to The Signal following the story’s publication. “That is my dad, Michael Tethers. My brothers and I have truly got a kick out of this story. My dad was in Alaska with our mom on vacation when this happened.”
Amanda Tethers later spoke with The Signal about the trip her dad and mom took to Alaska, about growing up in the Santa Clarita Valley and about baseball.
“We were all very involved,” she said of herself and her brothers with regard to the William S. Hart Baseball and Softball program. Amanda, now 44, has an older brother named Brian who’s 46 and a younger brother named Adam who’s 40. They were all very connected with Hart ball when they were kids. “We all worked the canteen, we all volunteered down there … My older brother, Brian — he was on one of the very first tournament teams to ever win for William S. Hart.”
Amanda added that she was on one of the first girls softball teams in the league.
“Originally,” she said, “it was just boys baseball.”
And with the kids in the league, Amanda’s dad just had to get involved, too.
“He was always volunteering,” she said. “He was always on the board.”
It was during that time, in the late 1980s, that Michael Tethers purchased the bright red Hart baseball jacket — the one that Marks spotted from afar in the thick of the large crowd exiting a Princess Cruises ship. Michael Tethers told The Signal that he took the jacket to Alaska for two reasons.
“We’ve been there many times before,” he said. “But I figured, ‘Hey, it might be cool when we get there, so, I’ll take my Hart jacket.’ And the second reason I took it … you can’t miss it. You see that red satin jacket, the Hart on front of it, you’re drawn to it, especially if you’re from the same area.”
Perhaps wearing that jacket was a way for his wife and others to find him easily if he wandered off, but it was most definitely a way to show how proud he is to have been a part of the Hart baseball and softball program.
“I bought that (jacket) because I love baseball,” Michael Tethers said. “I love the Hart team — the pony league.”
According to his daughter, the whole family is proud of their hometown. The kids were all born in Santa Clarita. Amanda works at Bridge to Home homeless services in Santa Clarita.
The kids’ dad, however, came from Saratoga Springs, New York, and their mom from Berwyn, Illinois. The two met in California. Amanda’s father was in the Navy and her mother came here because her mother’s father (Amanda’s grandfather) had moved the family to Hollywood to work in television and radio.
“Well, my parents ended up getting engaged and getting married,” Amanda said. “And they were living in Reseda at the time, and they were looking to buy a house, and so, a Realtor took them out here to Santa Clarita. And this was back in probably ’74, I believe. They ended up buying a house off of Alamogordo (Road) and Bouquet (Canyon Road), and that’s actually the house I was born in — I was born at home.”
Amanda’s mom and dad have since retired from their respective professions. Her dad worked as an armed security specialist at Lockheed Martin. Her mom was a registered nurse.
“When us kids were playing baseball (for the William S. Hart Baseball and Softball league) — because we spent all our time down there,” Amanda said, “my mom was actually going back to school to get her nursing degree. So, she would come and she’d have all her books spread out on the benches, and she’d be doing all her homework, watching our games.”
Her parents’ recent trip to Haines, Alaska, was actually planned as part of the couple’s 55th wedding anniversary before COVID-19 hit. Unfortunately, Amanda said, it was cancelled due to the pandemic, but luckily, they were able to reschedule it and the two, she added, had a great time. Their bumping into Marks on the Princess Cruises dock in Haines and seeing a story about that meeting in the newspaper was added fun.
“My sister-in-law’s sister found it,” Amanda said. “And she notified my brother — he lives in Valencia — and she’s like, ‘Your dad’s in the paper.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, God, why? Why would he be in the paper?’”
Amanda, who wanted to identify the “mystery man” for Marks, sought him out with a message to the Haines tourism office. Marks was happy to learn more about who he’d met that day and he asked Amanda why no one from Hart baseball could recognize her dad when he contacted them with a picture of the two of them. Amanda told Marks through email that her dad had only volunteered when she and her brothers were kids.
Michael Tethers told The Signal that Marks actually didn’t have to go to such lengths — contacting The Signal and others — to get his last name.
“He clearly did not see my back,” he said. “Because on the back of the jacket is my last name.”
But the whole incident gave Marks a sense of SCV pride. A short time after the occurrence in Haines, he decided to wear his own version of the Hart jacket — his city of Santa Clarita jacket, which he got when he worked with the city as the arts and events supervisor, a position he held for 18 years. It wasn’t long, he said, before he came across more SCV residents.
“I said, ‘Where are you from?’” Marks wrote in an email to The Signal about this next SCV sighting. “And they said Saugus.”
This time, Marks got last names. And he got their phone number, too. According to Marks, Jesus Martinez and Margarita Mercado, and their son, Adam, and daughter, Daisy, had just come off the Ruby Princess.
“Jesus asked where to get some local crab,” Marks said. “(I) had crab that I caught with me for lunch, so we gave him some.”
Marks made sure to get a picture.