Bill White Slams Autographs

Posted June 22nd, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Bill White, Bob Gibson, ebay, Frank Robinson, Marge Schott, Uppity

Say it ain’t so, Bill.

I searched his memoir Uppity for insights about why he stopped accepting fan mail, choosing the “Return to Sender” route. Was he becoming baseball’s Greta Garbo? Had Dr. Mike Marshall influenced him with talk of autographs and real heroes?

Instead, he clings to the old, simplistic notion of everyone being a greedy dealer. He writes:

“When I was a player we never thought twice about giving some kid an autograph, or handing out signed baseballs…These days, of course, a lot of the big-name players have six-figure contracts with agents to market their autographs, and professional dealers have squeezed out the kids. If you give somebody an autographed baseball these days, you can probably expect to see it on eBay a week later.”

White endured years of racism and prejudice. He writes with restrained clarity, offering compassionate reviews of loudmouths like Cincinnati owner Marge Schott. Books that I’ve read by Frank Robinson and Bob Gibson boil over with an anger tsunami at bigotry. White is detailed but measured in his criticisms.

How I would have loved even one extra page detailing his views on fan mail.

2 Responses to “Bill White Slams Autographs”

  1. Tony says:

    You know what? Bill White’s autograph isn’t within shouting distance of my priority list. Not even on my low priority list,in fact I have never even desired to have it. We all know there is people who are ebay dealers, but the majority are collectors like ourselves, who do it just for the joy of connecting with someone from baseball (or other sports) history. For every ex player like White, there are wonderful friends to our hobby like Virgil Trucks, Carl Erskine, Bobby Shantz, Roy Sievers and hundreds of others who are honored to be remembered, and in turn I’m honored to have in my collection.
    Bill White is entitled to his opinion, but in my opinion, why be so bitter?

  2. Tom Owens says:

    Hurray, Tony! This is well put!!! I was 9 years old when Bill White retired. Why should he be mad at me? Or any of us?!?

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