|Bob Will, Still Looking Up!|
Today’s news comes courtesy of Kyle Smego, the senior voice behind the fine father and son website and blog known as “The Autograph Addict.” In 2010, I discovered their epic quest to complete a 1962 Topps set autographed.
“I wrote to former Cubs outfielder Bob Will, back in December. I received a handwritten note back that he asks for a $10 donation to a children’s leukemia hospital. In return, he would send an signed photo and answer any questions that I had. It was a nice note….not the standard price list that some send. So I decided to send a $20 donation.
A couple of weeks later, I received a five page response from Mr. Will. He spoke about his playing days, Freddie Lindstrom (who was his manager in college), and what he’s doing today. It turns out that he still hangs out with Billy Williams, Rich Nye, Billy Pierce, and other former Chicago athletes. Can you imagine what goes on when those guys get together?
At the end of the letter he said that he is in the process of writing a book about his time in baseball, but….he is currently battling 4th stage colon cancer that has spread to his blood system. lungs, and liver.
I’m not sure if you ever send “donations”, but I think this is one case where you should consider it. It’s for a good cause and you’ll get a great story in return.
You can read my letter here:
http://www.autographaddict.com/bbwl.jpg (click on it to enlarge)”
Kyle’s news is quite moving. As Will battles cancer, his ability to do more than sign autographs may be limited. Likewise, his hope to tell his baseball life story in book form is a beat-the-clock challenge.
Too many moments in baseball history are being lost to the ravages of time. Every letter Will has sent helps preserve just one more seed of a story. For the hobby, Will hasn’t made “what about me?” demands for his autograph. He’s donating the “fee” to children in need, while trying to give added value to every collector who participates.
As Bob Will battles for his future, tell him that he mattered. Let him know he’s not forgotten. Send him a simple note. Give him YOUR autograph.
Bob Will, 3417 S. Country Club Road Woodstock, IL 60098
Tomorrow: Decoding pitcher Carl Bouldin’s extra message.
|Beloved in Venezuela!|
Here’s a quick tip for anyone wanting to correspond with former players:
Realize that there’s more than one way to judge a career highlight.
I thought Carl Bouldin would have some nice memories about Sept., 15, 1962, when he twirled a 7-hit win at home versus the White Sox. (Thank you, http://www.retrosheet.org/.) However, I never said “your best game ever seems like…” Instead, I asked about the day, then followed up with:
If this wasn’t your best game ever, please describe what was?
“Getting a complete game was big for me, or anyone, I think. I felt like I belonged and knew I could pitch in the ‘bigs.’
My best game was probably in winter ball in Caracas, Venezuela. In a big city rivalry, I pitched against a team with the three Alou Brothers and won, 3-1. Pete Rose was on my team and after that game the fans carried me around on their shoulders.
A fun time.”
Tomorrow: The Autograph Addict hits the jackpot with Cub Bob Will.
|How Does It Feel To
Be a Floating Head?
Plus, How Do You
NOT Autograph Your Face?
Carl Bouldin just wanted to play. Play what, though?
Bouldin started for the University of Cincinnati Wildcats basketball team. After the 1961 National Championship, he surprised hoops fans by choosing baseball. He advanced to the majors quickly. The glory was short-lived, enduring consecutive cellar-dwelling seasons for the Washington Senators.
“I had offers to play basketball for three teams in the following three years, but I just thought my chances of a longer career was in baseball. It turned out to be not so long though, because I hurt my arm (rotator cuff) in winter ball in Puerto Rico. I was on the same team with Tommy John there.”
Did Bouldin get a taste of quaint Griffith Stadium? He recalled:
“When I was called up in 1961, I went to Griffith Stadium. I didn’t pitch there, because they moved to D.C. Stadium shortly after I got there. The stadium was cool. But my memories of the players that I had read about are/were more clear.”
Just across the river from Cincy, boyhood home of the hurler, the Kentucky Baseball blog had some nice things to remember about Bouldin.
Tomorrow: Bouldin reveals his best game ever.