Jeff Prager was such a huge New York Giants fan that he was simply known as “Giant Jeff.” There wasn’t a Giants item he wouldn’t collect, and his brother Mitch said there weren’t many items he missed during his 40-plus years of collecting.
Giant Jeff was featured in the April 11, 1997, issue of SCD, in an article written by John Leptich. Jeff passed away in June 2010, and Mitch came across the SCD article among his brother’s collection. He thought other collectors might want to know of Jeff’s passing, along with sharing some of his own memories of his brother’s love affair with the Giants.
“As a little kid, he started collecting and never stopped. He never got married, never had kids and collecting was his life,” Mitch said. “He became friends with many Giants players. I don’t think he ever missed a game. That was his thing – he would fly to the games and got to know the players and collected N.Y. Giants stuff. That was his life.”
It’s taken a year, but Mitch has finally moved all of his brother’s stuff into a warehouse for safekeeping, He said it’s at least 150 boxes, with many boxes containing hundreds of items. While the 1997 SCD article focused on Jeff’s card collection, Giant Jeff acquired everything related to the Giants. From Yankee Stadium and Giants Stadium seats to pennants, autographs, glassware, bobble heads, programs and everything in between, Jeff collected it all. He even decorated a van in Giants colors.
“Jeff would say it’s priceless and worth millions,” Mitch said. “To him it was priceless. Jeff had a dream to have a N.Y. Giants museum.”
Not only did Jeff not miss a game, but he became very close to the team through his profession as an audio visual salesman and consultant. He would sell equipment to the Giants, becoming close to the Giants video director. He would often set up Giants players’ home theater systems.
He has hundreds of photos with Giants players in their homes and of him on the sidelines at Giants games.
Jeff’s collection, which originally was stored in three storage units and also filled his home and garage, includes original signed documents from the Mara family, along with other documents that date to the 1930s and memorabilia from the Polo Grounds.
“It was like a full-time thing for 40 years – it’s a lifetime of collecting is really what it is,” Mitch said. “It’s a solid 40-plus years. I found boxes with his handwriting that couldn’t be from when he was more than 8-9 years old.”
Mitch said he came across one box that was filled with just model vehicles, each emblazoned with “Giants” across their sides. He said you could fill up a room with just those models. Mitch said you could do the same with Giants Christmas, kitchen and bathroom-related items.
“There’s no sub-category. If it had N.Y. Giants on it, he has it,” Mitch said. “Some people have jerseys and footballs – he’s got jerseys and footballs, but he’s got seats from the stadium. He’s got turf from the N.Y. Giants Stadium.”
Mitch never got the Giants collecting bug from his brother, although he did say he has a bunch of Giants stuff around his office by default. He said it was a way of bonding with his brother.
Now Mitch is making the difficult choice of liquidating his brother’s collection.
“I know Jeff felt very strongly that the collection never be broken up,” he said. “He made a lifetime of putting it together and didn’t want it pieced out. I would like to honor that.”
Those interested in Giant Jeff’s collection can contact his brother Mitch at (480) 585-0347 or e-mail him at Mitch@hotelheadhunter.com.
“I found a book called ‘Those Crazy Giants Fans.’ He contacted the author and collected all the unused stories and had pictures with other Giants collectors,” Mitch said. “Maybe there is someone else out there who is a bigger N.Y. Giants fan, but I do not know of another person on the planet who was more of a N.Y. Giants fan than Giant Jeff.”