Baseball By The Letters Shares Non-Signers Of 2010 List, Or, I’m The Only One Left Out!

Posted April 12th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Bob Bailor, Dick Gernert, Duffy Dyer, Frank Howard, George Mitterwald, Steve Busby, Stu Miller
Mr. Bailor seems to send this
postcard out with all
replies. Somehow, I
received no response from
this generous ex-Dodger…

I’ve seen the results posted on http://www.sportscollectors.net/. These names responded to TTM autograph requests. I thought they’d field questions. Here’s my “still waiting list that dates back to Jan. 24, 2010:

Baldshun, Jack
Bailor, Bob
Brewer, Tom
Busby, Steve
Clarizio, Louis
DeMaestri, Joe
Dyer, Duffy
Dukes, Tom
Elia, Lee
Gardner, Billy
Gernert, Dick
Gosger, Jim
Hansen, Ron
Hook, Jay
Howard, Frank
Hunter, Billy
Logan, Johnny
McAnany, Jim
Mueller, Don
Miller, Stu
Mitterwald, George
Nossek, Joe
Schultz, Barney
Segrist, Kal
Semproch, Ray
Skizas, Lou
Smith, Hal W. (Pirates)
Speake, Bob
Stevens, Ed
Stynes, Chris
Suarez, Ken
Tasby, Willie
Walling, Denny
Ward, Pete
Warden, Jon
Wieand, Ted
Zuverink, George

What does this mean? There’s so many possibilities. Some hunches include:

1. Is writing to someone write after a signing success is reported online always a good idea? I’ve wondered if a surge in mail overwhelms some lesser-known retirees.
2. Some of these guys answer questions. But they are content handling the identical query time after time. Who was your toughest pitcher? What was your greatest thrill? They have a stock reply. Anything else that makes a former player think hard gets ignored.
3. Signing seven cards then including an extra autographed photo seems like a lot. I’ve assumed those “above and beyond” responses might not mind jotting me three sentences, since I’m not asking for a single signature. However, rapid-fire autographing is a comfortable habit. Putting words to one’s past may not be as pleasing.

Despite the fact that some of these men show up weekly on autograph forums as “can’t miss” responses, I’m not trying them again. Besides, I see that some autograph replies have taken 5-10 years. I’ll try to be patient as I seek a new roster of baseball letters for 2011.

Boston Pitcher Dick Brodowski, One ‘Lucky’ Teen

Posted March 7th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Billy Goodman, Bob Kuzava, Boston Red Sox, Dick Brodowski, Dick Gernert, Don Larsen, Vern Stephens
Dick’s sig is the same.
I bet the smile is, too!

What did you do at age 19?

A recent reply from pitcher Dick Brodowski stunned me. Aren’t all Major Leaguers older than us? Could a kid pitch against the New York Yankees…and win?

Dick took me back to June, 30, 1952 (Thanks to the aid of www.retrosheet.org.)

“High points of that victory turned out to be Billy Goodman colliding with Sam White and Goodman being replaced by Dick Gernert. Gernert and Vern Stephens were the four-run offense that was needed to win.

My key moment was a bases-loaded situation in the seventh inning — one out — Bob Kuzava hitting and 3-1 on Bob. I felt I had to get lucky and throw two fastballs for strikes and struck him out.

Irv Noren then hit a soft fly to center and got out of that jam.

I was 19 at the time and very lucky.”

Brodowski had his moments at bat, too. He homered off Ted Gray (1952) and Don Larsen (1955).

Somehow, his teammates never razzed the pitcher over either surprise blast.

“Not much of a reaction to either HR — I was thrilled — hitting two over the left field wall. Larsen had just hit one off of me!”

Another team, the U.S. Army, chose Brodowski. The career interruption derailed the pitcher’s promising 1952 debut. He recalled:

“I didn’t pitch much in the Army. I was a good hitter in the service and played second base. I loved it. Never realized it would take me two years to get some decent stuff back!

Brodowski closed his letter with some Major League gratitude:

“I was a decent AAA player with some spirts of getting some big leaguers out.

I loved the opportunity and did the best I could!”

Tomorrow: My apology to pitcher John D’Acquisto.