Did Keith Olbermann Ever Land That Elusive Bob Stinson Autograph?

I like Keith Olbermann.

No, this isn’t about politics. I like the idea of a college student
saying “Oh, yeah!” when asked if he’d like to write the backs for a 630-card
set. Each back of the SSPC set came from Mister KO, long before his fame at ESPN
or MSNBC. These weren’t 1953 Bowmans, but they may be the closest “Pure
Card” I will ever see again in my hobby lifetime.

I wrote Olbermann back in 2001 about his achievement.

Back then, he wrote that he had every card in the set autographed, excluding
Bob Stinson.

Long before Olbermann’s politics were known, Stinson still shunned Keith’s requests. For years, Stinson was the first to protest being pictured on an unlicensed set. In other words, he wouldn’t endorse via an autograph any product that didn’t pay him.

If Olbermann could open a pack of 1967 Topps on his TV show, it seems
logical that “Scrap Iron” could come on and autograph his card. Collectors
report that the former catcher has charged $5 per sig. Originally, he said
the money went to the softball team he coached.

I wonder how much Olbermann would have paid for his card to be signed?

Sharing Airtime With Royals Hall of Fame Broadcaster Denny Matthews

Iowa Cubs broadcaster Randy Wehofer found life announcing for a Royals affiliate had one major perk:

Guest shots in the Kansas City broadcast booth!

More than once, Wehofer shared airtime with the Royals broadcast team. He wrote to share his experiences broadcasting from major league venues:

“Denny Matthews, and everyone with the Kansas City Royals, was extremely nice to me. Denny offered me some nice compliments both on and off the air. But for being in broadcasting, he is a man of few words off the air. He was gracious and welcoming and that’s all I could have hoped for. Ryan Lefebvre and Fred White have served more in a mentoring role for me over the years and I appreciate their help. Most of all, I have a lot of confidence knowing I’ve sat in the booth for a real major league game next to a Hall of Fame broadcaster and he told me that I did a good job.”

Wehofer broadcast from Wrigley Field in 2009, when his I-Cubs played a PCL game there.

“The trip to Wrigley was a great experience, especially for a guy who grew up in Chicago going to games there as a kid. I always thought Wrigley Field was the biggest place in the world growing up. But going back after all these years and visiting so many other parks, my biggest impression was to realize how “small” and quaint Wrigley is and why it earns the nickname “The Friendly Confines.”

Lastly, I wanted to ask a radio broadcaster: do you get tired of being a voice without a face? Don’t you want your own baseball card?

“I was part of a staff group picture that was on a card in our team set my first year in 1999 in Burlington. It’s fairly obscure. The most recognition I’ve received comes from being invited to be the emcee for the annual awards banquet at the winter meeting twice in the last four years. Over 2,000 people from both major and minor league baseball and national media members attend that event. I’ve also made a few presentations at the minor league baseball promotional seminar. Those events have given me the chance to meet a lot of people and let many in this business get to know me. I’ve really enjoyed those opportunities.”

I wish Randy Wehofer many more seasons of opportunities. He enjoys them all.

Tuning in Broadcaster Randy Wehofer: Movie ‘Sugar’ Features an Iowa Cub

I may have found the “Crash Davis” of baseball broadcasters in Iowa Cub voice Randy Wehofer.

Tune him in on Praise 940 AM, KPSZ, and you’ll see what I mean. Even after nine seasons calling class A Burlington Bees games, Wehofer still fills each broadcast with the fun insights of a real fan. Who couldn’t love his signature “Get Outta My Yard” home run call?

Wehofer plays the team broadcaster in the movie “Sugar.” On the radio or on the screen, Wehofer doesn’t disappoint.

Totally unexpected, totally enjoyable, Sugar
is my kind of baseball movie. I wanted to thank Wehofer for his broadcasts and his portrayal.

He sent an all-star response, writing:

“The movie was a great experience, but I’ve not heard about from many who didn’t already know me before the movie.

“‘Sugar,’ to me, was mostly a coming-of-age/immigrant story told against a baseball backdrop. I thought they did a good job depicting the challenges of young men – many without a lot of formal education – coming to a foreign land to play baseball and how much pressure they feel to make money to try to rescue their families from poverty. what he learned, that many don’t, is that baseball is a part of him, but it doesn’t define him.

Through woodworking, he could also make a life for himself and his family, like the business owner he met in New York. Too many young people, Dominican or American, think if they fail at sports, they have failed at life. In the end, Sugar realized he could succeed without baseball and the game became fun again for him.”

Wehofer is succeeding at sports, while keeping the fun. I hope a major league promotion isn’t far. I’d hate to hear him out of Iowa’s “yard,” but I know he’s earned his shot at the bigs.

Mike Veeck Goes Beyond Disco Demolition

Yes, it’s tempting. But it’s been done.

Who doesn’t want to ask one MORE “Shot Heard Round The World” question of Bobby Thomson? The same holds true for Mike Veeck and Disco Demolition.

Mike has discussed his day of infamy from July, 1979. He’s a good sport who relives the promotion in countless interviews. One enterprising collector even hit the TTM jackpot, getting Veeck to autograph a baseball in which he recounted the highlights and lowlights of the idea gone haywire.

But Veeck worked as director of marketing for the team and his Hall of Fame father Bill Veeck for more than one game. Read Veeck–As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck or The Hustler’s Handbook to fully appreciate the passionate creativity of this baseball-loving maverick.

What else does Mike remember about the “Veeck and Veeck” days of the 1970s White Sox?

Mike Veeck replied:

“We invented suites on the South Side. Harry (Caray) started singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’

“Both have their pluses and minuses.

Thanks for making me think.

See you in the bleachers.

Mike Veeck”

Mike Veeck, Baseball’s King of Fun, Reveals His Inspirational Teammate

Whenever I get a letter from a former Browns, Indians or White Sox player, they mention two Veecks: team owner Bill and his wife Mary Frances. Appreciating players and fans became a Veeck family affair.

I wrote to Mike Veeck, sharing this insight. I feel that the plaque in the Hall of Fame was earned by two people, not one. Did he find the same sources of inspiration in his leadership of the St. Paul Saints and three other minor league teams? Does his wife Libby offer the same support? Could you find Mike in the stands, just like his father?

Mike Veeck wrote:

Thank you for the kind note and the opportunity to talk about my favorite person…Libby. She collects art, and as a result, all of the decorations at Midway (and the other parks) have been influenced by her love of the visual. I even write commercials that are visibly different from my “pre-Lib” days. If she doesn’t laugh, we don’t use it.

I spend a lot of time in the stands and at the gate. If you make EVERY decision with the people who come to your parks’ best interest, you can’t go wrong. Fans know much more about your product than you do — or in this case, than I do.”

I believe in Mike Veeck. I think his upbeat philosophy, captured in the delightful book Fun is Good, could transform Major League Baseball and other stodgy, sluggish sectors of society.

Tomorrow: go beyond Disco Demolition, and find out any other White Sox highlights Veeck savors from working for his Dad.

%d bloggers like this: