The Seattle Mariners lost a pitching prospect in 20-year-old Victor Sanchez. Autograph collectors lost the opportunity to get one of tomorrow’s major leaguers to sign today.
Meanwhile, my friend lost a friend.
Lynn “Chipper” Cripps, clubhouse manager of the class A Clinton Lumber Kings in 2013, had this memory on his Facebook page.
“It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart that l have learned that my friend and former Mariner player Victor David Sanchez Rodriguez has passed away due to his injuries he suffered in the boating accident. He was a Godly young man who treated everyone with respect and kindness. I will miss him very much as he was one of my boys.. RIP Big Vic.”
Lynn saw the heart of a competitor in 2013, noting that he was a witness to the hurler’s no-hitter.
As you look at the signatures of baseball’s bygone names, remember you have more than a rare signature. You have the chance to remember how someone lived, not how they died.
I’m on a mission.
After co-writing a new book about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, I’ve wanted to reach as many of these surviving players as possible.
I’m pleased to say 90-year-old Inez “Lefty” Voyce (a U.S. Navy veteran!) replied in just three weeks. Yes, she included her nickname in the signature.
The best part of her letter?
Q: What do you remember about your 1946 tryout in Mississippi?
A: Lots of bugs.
On second thought, a creepy-crawly scene like that might be great for a movie about the league, or the highly-publicized new AAGPBL musical!
From the archives…
I hope you’ll check out the last line of what Herb Plews wrote me a few years ago.
Don’t assume the former baseball player follows only baseball. Write of their birthplace, hometown, college connection…whatever it takes. For me, my return address brought an inspiring aside about the Northern Iowa Panthers.