A Superstitious Lottery Player Has Good Luck With Number 13

November 25, 1990|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

NEW WINDSOR - The winner who took all is superstitious about the number 13.

He calls the 13th of any month his good luck day.

James Hammond said he often plays 6-13, his birthday, in the Maryland and Pennsylvania lotteries. He won $3,500 with that combination in 1976 and bought himself a car.

"For 47 years, ever since I was born, the 13th has been good for me," said Hammond.

This month didn't give him any reason to doubt his superstition. On Nov.

13, he became the county's first winner of the Tuesday $100,000 Winner Take All Lottery.

As he drove home from his job at Lehigh Portland Cement Co. with only a few dollars in his pocket, Hammond said he decided to test his "lucky on the 13th" theory again. He stopped by Cork & Bottle Liquors in Taylorsville, where he bought a ticket picked at random by the machine.

He said the store itself might be lucky. In 1989, a Carroll family won $5 million with a ticket purchased there.

When Hammond saw three of the his six numbers in sequential order, though, he stuffed it into his pocket, thinking he had drawn a loser. He was so sure of the impossibility of hitting a jackpot that he said he didn't bother to watch the drawing on television that night.

"I'm a regular player," he said. "You rarely see numerical orders hit."

Still, at work the next morning, he picked up a friend's paper and checked. As soon as he saw 6, 12, 28, 31, 32, 33, he knew instantly.

"I have a photographic memory when it comes to numbers," he said. "I know which ones I have."

He called a store in Union Bridge to verify the numbers and ask what the jackpot was. The clerk told him only one winner had the right combination, worth about $16,000.

"I knew if there was only one winner, she was wrong about the amount," he said. "I told her to check it out."

When he called back in about an hour, the clerk said she had miscounted the number of digits in the payoff. She said the state would be handing him $166,305, before taxes.

He signed his ticket right away and begged off at work. Then, after asking a friend to accompany him, he headed for the lottery headquarters in Baltimore County, clutching the winning ticket.

"The news spread like a chain letter," he said. "I'm still the same guy, though, with just a little more money to spend."

When he returned to the Cork & Bottle on Wednesday to collect his check, he said his plans for his 1990 winnings also included a new car.

"I'm leaving here and driving straight to the Cadillac dealer," he said.

"After that, I'm going to take some time to think about what to do with the rest."

Despite his luck at numbers, Hammond said he doesn't advise people to gamble.

"Gambling is a disease for some people," said Hammond, who is divorced.

"They spend money that should go to their families."

He said he learned at a young age how to budget his money and plans to keep playing.

"Good things happen in 13s," he said.

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