“He didn’t have much of a career. What can I write to him about?”
These types of questions come yearly from through the mail collectors, or from fledgling journalists and historians wanting to write some kind of a profile of a little-known “cup of coffee” player.
Always, I give the same two-word answer: SPRING TRAINING!
In Florida or Arizona, in every pre-season, countless players yearn for a shot at the majors. Some mount big debuts, only to find a career saddled in the minors. Nevertheless, others cultivate friendships with well-known stars.
Most of all, spring training is the first time a player’s dream seems real.
What does the player remember from his first spring training? WHO does he remember?
Those stories never show up in stats. However, those stories can give baseball history a whole new meaning.
I was racing against time, trying to get surviving players to reply by mail. Diana believed untold stories remained in league history.
One overlooked detail by AAGPBL historians is the fascinating range of jobs these players found after baseball. Pitcher Erma Bergmann (who passed away in 2015) served decades on the St. Louis police force.
I congratulated her on her public service as a police officer. That might be why she concluded her letter this way:
“I never hit a prisoner during my career and I never stole from any drunks.
Asking is free. You never know what details you’ll unearth!
Time for an update…
Pitcher Bob Allen, back in 2013, was shocking through-the-mail collectors by demanding $100 per autograph.
What about today?
One hobbyist on the always-cool www.sportscollectors.net reported that Allen wants $500 per autograph.
If anyone gets a response from Allen that includes WHY anyone should pay $500 for his autograph, I’d love to know.