NEW ROCHELLE — Flanked by one sports legend who won often and another who won perfectly, Brandon Steiner on Monday celebrated the 25th anniversary of his memorabilia empire, Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia.
“Westchester’s been really good for us,” Steiner said. “We’ve doubled in size since we came here and we plan to double in size again.”
Steiner was joined by college basketball coach Bob Knight, who recorded 902 victories over a 45-year career, and Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
They were the first of a parade of sports stars who will visit Steiner’s New Rochelle offices in the next three days. Posters and balls they sign will be auctioned to raise money for Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts as well as the athletes’ own charitable foundations.
Steiner said he wanted to mark the occasion by giving back to the community.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino awarded Steiner a framed proclamation and praised him for building so successful a business. Astorino, a former sports radio host, seemed in awe of his surroundings.
“This signature will be worth a lot less than the other signatures on your wall, here,” Astorino said as he handed the county plaque, bearing his mark, to Steiner. Later, a tour of the company’s basement-level warehouse, which contains signed jerseys, lockers from Shea and Yankee stadiums, and tubs of dirt from every ballpark in the major leagues, neared religious-experience territory for the county executive.
“It’s sports heaven,” Astorino said. “This must be the entrance to the Pearly Gates.”
Larsen, now 83 and living in northern Idaho, said he follows baseball “when I can.”
“I read the papers,” he said. He and his wife, Corrine, will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary Friday.
Asked how her husband has changed since his playing days, Corrine laughed and said, “He’s gotten ornerier,” before adding that he’s as friendly and nice as ever. He hunts, fishes and, once a year, visits California to go frogging with his son and grandsons. Larsen, she said, is a fan of frog legs.