Goodbye To Pitcher John “Mitty” Gray

Posted May 29th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in John Gray, Johnny Gray, Philadelphia Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies

One of baseball history’s losses in May was the death of John Gray at age 87. Despite his short career, Gray is in a select group: men who played for two different Philadelphia franchises (Athletics and Phillies).

Back in 2010, Gray wrote me about his long-forgotten nickname.
Statistics tell only one story. Baseball is nothing without its character.
Or, characters!
If they played baseball, chances are they have stories to tell.
You’ll never know if you never ask.

A New Chase Utley Form Letter?

This 2001 Bowman
facsimile autograph
may have been a
foreshadowing that
Utley would never
embrace signing.

Chase Utley made the Huffington Post.

Without being charged with a crime or indulging in a scandal?

The second baseman’s interaction with It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia evokes special irony for collectors. Since 2006, Utley fan mail in care of the Phillies brings a form letter. Amazingly, the stock reply to fans reflects his TV version! He tells of how he’s too busy playing baseball to sign an autograph.

Although a postcard-sized photo gets included, collectors have sighed for years that the “autograph” is a likely preprint.

I guess the hobby can take small comfort in Utley having similar reactions to real-life collectors and fictional TV characters.

Fellow Phillies Voice Dan Baker Salutes Harry Kalas

Posted June 27th, 2013 by Tom Owens and filed in Dan Baker, Harry Kalas, Philadelphia Phillies

I’ll never tire of
Kalas tales.

Everyone wants to know about the players.

I wanted to ask Phillies public address legend Dan Baker about the “team” members he rubbed elbows with in the press box.

Broadcaster Harry Kalas: what was he like to work with? Baker’s take…

“Harry Kalas was a wonderful play-by-play announcer. His anticipation was second to none! Harry was one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He took time to say hello to everyone. I loved him!”

Stan may have been “The Man” in St. Louis. Dan, you’re the guy in Philly!