Pitcher John Gray Savors A Shutout

Posted May 29th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in John Gray

Pitcher John Gray learned that you’re only as good as your co-stars. Pitch for a contender. Look like a contender.

His last win in the majors came with the 1957 Indians. He twirled a three-hit shutout against the Orioles that July 30.

Without whining about four years of inconsistent suport from teammates, Gray pointed out in a kind letter that a pitcher doesn’t win — or lose — on his own. Gray wrote:

“I got a few runs for a change and I kept the ball down. I had a strong defensive infield.”

Tomorrow: Gray reveals his long-lost nickname and its history, a story lost in baseball lore for the last half-century!

Pinch-hitter Jerry Lynch’s Five Coaches

Posted May 28th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Jerry Lynch

Jerry Lynch, active from 1954-66, is missing a statistic. His career numbers were impressive. After his retirement, Lynch’s 18 career pinch-hit homers set a record. He racked up 19 pinch hits in 1960 and again in 1961, topping the National League yearly.

But how can you measure his candor, his insight?

I wanted to know the secret of his pinch-hitting success. What motivated him? Was there one wise coach, a teammate?

Lynch credited five sources of inspiration, all off the field.

He wrote:

“A wife and 4 kids.”

Muhammad Ali, Baseball Player?

Posted May 27th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Muhammad Ali

What if Ali played major league baseball? What if he was in the Topps set you’re trying to get autographed?

“Sure. I want every card signed.”

What if you had gotten a pamphlet like this with the autograph? What if your religion didn’t agree with his?

Ali knew the power of autographs. He’d autograph every copy, so fans would keep the handout. If they kept the brochure for the autograph, they might read the contents.

Current and former players are giving a gift when they give an autograph by mail. They believe you’re interested in them as people. People have religious, political or other views we don’t agree with.

Baseball people will include “extras” in their replies — business cards, brochures or requests to donate to a charity, even though they signed for free.

I disagree with someone who sends back a brochure but keeps the autograph. Recycle if the literature offends you. Starting a debate with a signer might create a former signer — or someone who requires a $20 “donation” for their cause for each signature. If the pamphlet seemed annoying, how will you feel knowing that your money is supporting that opposing viewpoint?

By the way, those tolerant enough to save Ali’s autographed pamphlet should check ebay today. The surviving signed tracts are fetching top dollar.

I’m grateful for the image from the fascinating website www.aliautos.net. To learn about the boxing great’s AUTHENTIC signatures, this is the ultimate education!