One Great Question From A Cubs Pitcher

Posted November 21st, 2013 by Tom Owens and filed in NBC Game of the Week, Rich Nye

Why did Topps
recycle its 1968 shot
of Nye? Like he
couldn’t be bothered
to pose?

I’m gearing up for an off-season of letters. Along with names on my wish list, I’m wanting to ask questions that haven’t been done to death.

Here’s one sparked by my 2011 response from Rich Nye.

In the pre-cable days, NBC’s Game of the Week mattered.

I’m wanting to know:

Stats don’t show which hits or strikeouts came when being nationally-televised. Did one person have one great moment shared with America?

Be my guest. Ask away. Let me know what you learn in your responses.

Good luck (to us all)!

Cleveland Indians Teen Pitcher Mike Hedlund Recalls 1965 Debut

Yea for the website
Baseball Birthdays
for preserving some
seldom-seen shots
of rookie Mike!

You know what life is like for the typical 18-year-old boy.

Driving a car. Graduating. Debuting on national television in Fenway Park.

Well, Mike Hedlund was never typical.

I wrote to ask about being a member of the Cleveland Indians right out of high school. Here’s his amazing answer:

“Being the youngest at age 18 was quite an experience! Max Alvis and Gary Bell are both from Texas and probably made me feel more welcome than the others. I guess it was the ‘Texas’ connection. Gary gave me my nickname, ‘Booger Red.’ Booger Red was a famous rodeo rider from Texas and had red hair.

Some pitchers like Don McMahon and Stan Williams were more of the senior type to me with lots of big league experience.

I didn’t play much that year (being a ‘protected player’ from waivers) but will always remember my first game in Boston, Saturday Game of the Week and my first batter I faced…Carl Yastrzemski. Ground out to first and I cover for the putout!”

Thanks to the stars at www.retrosheet.org, here’s the box score from young Mike’s premiere!

Hurray For Chris Speier!

Love this photo! What
charity would Chris
donate this card to?
 

“It’s me, not you.”

That sounds like some overused line from some romance novel.

Nevertheless, it’s an appreciated confirmation in the case of Chris Speier. For years, the long-time infielder-turned-coach has been a good TTM signer in care of his teams. You needed to write him during the season.

Mail to his Arizona home either got a RTS or items were sent back unsigned in your SASE.

I applauded Speier for not trashing everyone’s items. Also, for more than 40 years, he’s maintained a legible autograph.

Now, according to Baseball Address List author Harvey Meiselman, Speier has spelled out his autograph policy. He returns a typed message that says he won’t sign at his home and he won’t return the items.

The only baffling part of Speier’s update? He writes that items will be donated to charity.

Really? The Phoenix Salvation Army will sell used clothing and Speier commons?

It would be coolest if he was autographing everything before he donated.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always been a Speier admirer. I remember Joe Garagiola praising the “young shortstop” on NBC Game of the Week. He pointed out that Speier was backing up the pitcher. If the return throw from the catcher got loose, Speier would make sure no runner advanced.

All I want is him not heading for the recycling bin with fan mail. If you say you’re going to give our cards to charity, make the play.