The obituary ran this week. Fred Gladding, a wily reliever for the Tigers and Astros, gone at age 78.
The ever-dependable www.sportscollectors.net credited the hurler for a 97 percent response rate, answering more than 200 by-mail requests.
I landed Gladding when he was an Astro. He was willing to add a photo on request.
Never be shy about asking. Fred taught me that.
Check out an impressive video interview from Billy Staples with Gladding, conducted in 2013. See what we’re missing.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
A grateful Turk Wendell remembers.
Likewise, I’ll never forget the colorful pitcher.
I remember seeing Rod Carew alone in the Kansas City hotel lobby.
I had just started a sheet of Hall of Fame autographs, with a nifty HOF sticker in the middle.
The still-active Twin remained expressionless when I asked him for an autograph.
He looked at the sheet. I could see him eyeing the first signatures: Carl Hubbell, Stan Musial, Duke Snider.
Carew shook his head. “I’m not in the Hall of Fame,” he said.
Summoning all my junior high student courage possible, I replied: “Not yet. You will be.”
He stared me in the eye, then smiled. He signed.
Ever since, in every letter, I’ve shared why I’m choosing that person. What makes them unique?
Believe in them. Maybe, they’ll return the favor.