Monday, July 28, 2014

How 'The Big Hurt' Hurt The Hobby

Cooperstown should
honor this Thomas, too,
for always-precise
penmanship. Check out
the personal website
of the FIRST Frank Thomas
here!
The OTHER Frank Thomas is trying.

Yea for speaking out against steroids in his Cooperstown induction speech.

What I'm still puzzling over is a career of abbreviated autographs. 

If he was catcher Cliff "C.J." Johnson, it might not matter as much. Fans were sure this Frank Thomas could be a future Hall of Famer.

I remember an elderly collector telling me in the early 1990s about paying big bucks and standing in line at a hobby show for an "F-- T --" autograph. He asked if that was his REAL autograph. Thomas threw in a silent grin for free. 

I loved the New York Times article earlier this year by Tyler Kepner about illegible autographs. I hope more people keep the conversation alive this year.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Former Chicago White Sox General Manager Roland Hemond Honors Hall Of Famer Bill Veeck

The Charleston River Dogs minor
league team gave the first 1,000
fans at their 7/19 game this
amazing bobblehead. Credit son
(and team president) Mike Veeck
for the creation, marking the year his
dad would be 100 years old!
Roland Hemond should write the Hall of Fame plaques. I asked him about his one-time boss, Chicago White Sox team owner Bill Veeck. I'm moved by his tribute that he was so kind to share with a fan.

"Bill Veeck was the most incredible person I have met," he wrote. "Bill suffered war-time injuries that led him to 36 operations over his lifetime. Yet, he never complained. But I'm sure he was in pain on a day-to-day basis.

"He was highly intelligent, creative, extremely well read, a visionary, daring, creative, loved people of all races, and awaked the others that baseball is a great game. But, on-field promotions could enhance the popularity of the game with joy for people of all ages and draw them to the parks and to return whenever possible.

"I cannot do him justice in a short letter."

Nor I for you, Mr. Hemond!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who'll Be Next Non-Player in Baseball Hall of Fame? A Scout, Perhaps?

Pat Gillick gave me hope for the future regarding the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Would more front office wizards be honored? I think Atlanta's John Schuerholz will have a spot in Cooperstown, someday.

Someday may not come too soon.

Or will it?

I asked Roland Hemond in a letter his feelings. After winning the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, I hoped the distinguished GM might see a different HOF future. One that might even welcome scouts?

In 2013, he sent this most kind reply:

"This coming May 3-5, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will open an exhibit, "Diamond Dreams," which will include scout reports from scouts that they submitted to their respective organizations. This exhibit will have a section of "who signed who" from way back. 

I hesitate to list my preference of naming my first inductee, as I want to do justice by awaiting the tabulations and making a very careful study."

Meanwhile, enjoy one of the best bios of Hemond I've ever found, crafted by noted baseball historian Bill Nowlin. 

Coming Thursday: Remembering Bill Veeck

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red Sox Pinch-Hit Hero Bill Renna Leaves Life's Game At Age 89

Bill Renna died in June at age 89.

Here's a look back at his kind, grateful letter from 2010

Monday, July 14, 2014

Babe Ruth's Daughter Brings Autograph Collectors Hope

The www.antiquetrader.com
site documented this selling
for more than $62,000 in a
2008 auction. Ruth's daughter
makes it sound like there may be
many autographs still out there
from her famous father.
It might be easy to be low on hope right now.

No regularly-scheduled games through Wednesday.

Plus, it's Monday.

Well, I spotted this happy comment from CBS News this weekend. Babe Ruth's daughter claims that he never refused an autograph request. Drivers, start your imaginations!

Let's hope the second half of this season finds more Babe-like behavior with our requests.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Orlando Cepeda, Al Rosen Go To Bat For 'Havana Curveball'

Young Micah and his Grandpa: Two Heroes to
know and love in "Havana Curveball"
Back in 2012, I found one great baseball story. As you know, this blog is about the stories behind the signatures.

And Al Rosen offered his signatures for the cause, a dozen signed baseballs to help fund an amazing documentary idea.

That vision is now reality! In August, Havana Curveball (once entitled 'Got Balz?') makes its world premiere.

Filmmaker Marcia Jarmel had this to share:

"We are just now getting the word out to players, but just last week we received a wonderful endorsement from Orlando Cepeda: 

"Great film, real baseball, tremendously authentic!" 
-- Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco Giants, Hall of Fame 1999

I know that Dusty Baker has a copy and is planning to watch with his son, but no word yet. We also have had great support from Al Rosen, who signed a dozen balls for us during our crowdfunding campaign.

As for your second question, funny you should ask. We are inviting people, schools, organizations, public libraries, baseball teams, etc. to bring the film to their own community. Anyone interested, can reach us at: distribution@patchworksfilms.net. We have upcoming screenings in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Orlando, Seattle, and Frankfurt on the books right now.  

People can also find out when the film is coming to their area by joining our Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/havanacurveball or our Twitter stream at: https://twitter.com/HavanaCurveball. The trailer and some other short videos are also to be found at: www.havanacurveball.info."

If you know a synagogue, a college campus, local film festival or independent cinema, please, share this news with them. This uplifting documentary belongs on every movie screen. If you believe in baseball and the power the game has to unite people, this is the story for you. Havana Curveball is worth seeing...and sharing.



.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mets, Orioles General Manager Frank Cashen Dies At Age 88

This "Topps Archive"
blog shared this image
and a great headline
for the obit -- one
that would have made
the well-read GM smile.
Check out the blog!
Frank Cashen earned five World Series rings as an executive. His death at age 88 raises a question for me as a hobbyist.

The Orioles and Mets are well-collected teams. I was stunned to check the always-amazing www.sportscollectors.net. The good news? Cashen was a 100 percent responder, signing for everyone who wrote.

However, only 16 collectors made attempts.

In fact,the general manager surprised a few collectors who wrote, sharing extras of the rare 1992 Topps card made of himself for a special ceremony. Miss the one-day event, and you wouldn't have gotten the card.

The Hall of Fame will be selecting more owners and GMs in the future. Often, the men don't get honors until they're deceased.

The future is now.