Bob Will: Another Bygone Cub Who’d Savor This World Series

Posted November 3rd, 2016 by Tom Owens and filed in Uncategorized
Check out the Baseball Almanac website. Great stats, and a tremendous library of authentic autograph examples!

Check out the Baseball Almanac website. Great stats, and a tremendous library of authentic autograph examples!

Ernie Banks

Ron Santo

Harry Caray

There’s one more name missing from that roster of departed Cub characters.

I’ll never forget Bob Will, the outfielder whose 1960 starting job was won by future Hall of Famer Billy Williams. Nonetheless, Will never stopped loving the Cubs.

I’m flattered he read this blog before his death from cancer in 2011. I enjoyed a couple of conversations with Bob. Near his final days, I was able to convince several former Cubs to call their teammate for one last stroll down memory lane. Even announcer Pat Hughes was among those who shared a telephone chat with him.

Bob never stopped loving the Cubs. He would have loved the 2016 World Series outcome, too.

 

 

Your letter in the Baseball Hall of Fame? It’s possible!

Don Sutton has another unique tie to the Hall of Fame, this one being hand-written! (Photo credit: Adam Fagen/Wikimedia Commons)

Don Sutton has another unique tie to the Hall of Fame, this one being hand-written! (Photo credit: Adam Fagen/Wikimedia Commons)

A collector, part of Cooperstown? 

That’s one fascinating possibility lurking within the correspondence collection kept by the National Baseball Hall of Fame research library. The 25-page list produces many surprises, none of which may be on public display.

Everyone knows that Hall of Famer Don Sutton has been a reluctant by-mail signer for years. Well, the HOF owns a hand-written letter from the pitcher, offering advice to a young player in 1966. An article from the period documents the exchange.

Players like Jackie Robinson saved letters of support from fans. Browsing the list, I found one fan wrote Robinson six times from 1952-55.

Sure, the archive includes lots of business letters: owners, commissioners, journalists. 

However, none of those official missives would match a single hand-written bit of correspondence between players and fans.

That’s the joy of Baseball By The Letters.

 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/finding-aids/BA+MSS+44+Correspondence+Collection.pdf

Joey Votto keeps Cincinnati odd-ball autograph tradition alive!

Posted September 12th, 2016 by Tom Owens and filed in Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds, Uncategorized
From August 27: Votto stares down a fan who battled him a foul ball. Votto would present the fan with a second ball, autographed! (Photo credit: ThatLostDog/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons)

From August 2: Votto stares down a fan who battled him for a foul ball. Votto would present the fan with a second ball, autographed! (Photo credit: ThatLostDog/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons)

For the Cincinnati Reds, an autographed baseball is the equivalent to the “get out of jail free” card in MONOPOLY.

Joey Votto’s anger over a fan who outdueled him for a foul ball was rectified by a post-incident autographed baseball

Brandon Phillips used signed-ball diplomacy previously. 

Votto has used autographs to make a statement before, explaining why he wouldn’t sign for Cubs fans.

The inspiring website www.sportscollectors.net notes that collectors through the mail have gotten 365 responses (69 percent success rate overall). However, the last recorded response came in June, 2015.

I predict this won’t be the last time the Cincy slugger depends on autographs to gain center stage.