Jim Palmer Beware! Mike Cubbage Has A Bat!!!

Mike Cubbage did his best to keep Jim Palmer out of Cooperstown.

Facing the future Hall of Famer, Cubbage teed off on Palmer for a .394 average. He collected 13 hits, according to the ever-trusty http://www.retrosheet.org/.

Cubbage remembered in a fine letter:

“I saw Palmer well. Strange, because he was more of a high fastball pitcher and I was a low fastball hitter. Anyway, also saw his curveball and change-up well.

Thanks for asking,
Mike Cubbage”

Some fans remember Cubbage from his two-sport playing days at the University of Virginia. Nice photo of young “Cubbie!”

Twin Mike Cubbage Shares Ride on His ‘Cycle’

Same Signature!

Am I the only fan on earth who thought it would’ve been great to have Mike Cubbage play for the Cubs? After all,. his name wasn’t Mike TWINage! Broadcasters would have feasted on that wordplay.

No, I didn’t ask the infielder that. Instead, I quizzed him on what might have been his finest moment at bat: April 27, 1978, devouring Toronto pitching before an appreciative Metropolitan Stadium gathering of 18,258. Four hits. One of everything. Cubbage hit for the cycle. (Thanks to http://www.retrosheet.org/ for preserving the moment.)

His recollections:

“The cycle had some luck. A double in first at-bat versus Jim Clancy of Toronto an d was thrown out at third base, trying to stretch it!! Homer in second at-bat and the last two hits versus Jerry Garvin (??) Infield single off his leg and the triple in the last at-bat, on a ball hit off the center field wall at the Met!!”

The humble hitter chose to ignore his four RBI, accounting for a 6-3 win.

Tomorrow: Cubbage recalls his mastery of Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.

Give Every Player You Write To A Gift

Reveal your sources.

That’s one of the best, most impressive, gifts you can give a former player. Don’t just say, “I read about you.” If you quoted a fact from http://www.baseball-almanac.com/, such as a uniform number, say so. You don’t have to send a bibliography. Just show that you’ve gone the extra step.

I’d guess that some retirees, even those Internet users, might believe the only details about their career are limited to statistics or a wikipedia entry. I’m pleased every time an ex-player responds with a thank-you note and “I didn’t know that!”

A 79-year-old former Cub printed off a two-page feature about himself that he found on the ‘net. He included this with his page-long letter.

Some guys might not be signing for everyone. Compete. Stand out. Show each person you write to that you’ve done your homework.

Gift Ideas for the TTM Autograph Collector

Memo to holiday-celebrating, gift-giving folks baffled by autograph collecting:

(Quick! Forward to friends, relatives and anyone who’ll take pity on a hobbyist in December)


1. www.SportsCollectors.net. Invest in a collector. For $14.99 a year, here are daily updates on the world of autographs. It’s the chance to share what you’ve learned and benefit from the wisdom of the best hobbyists out there. A great community.

2. www.SportsAddressLists.com. Harvey Meiselman charges $35 for the ultimate baseball address list. He finds the unfindable, sharing ways to reach everyone in baseball’s past and present. This is a valuable tool no collector should be without.

3. Postage stamps: Ask your mail carrier for a “stamps by mail” order form. Get the stamps sent to the collector you want to treat. We don’t need a lottery ticket for a $1. For two “Forever” stamps, we get more excitement and better odds. By the way, “Forever” stamps are best. The self-addressed, stamped envelope might not get returned before the next postal increase. That autograph return could be kept in postal detention for the sake of an extra few cents owed.

4. Office supply gift card: Collectors have endless appetites for envelopes, computer printer ink and paper. Keep us well fed, and we’ll be happy through the winter.

5. Time: This one is the easiest and hardest. Ask, “What’s new with your collection” Then, truly listen. Your collector loves baseball and the hobby. Getting to tell someone why both are special is a joy. That might be the best gift of all.

Merv Rettenmund Ponders Pinch-hitting

“Hitting? Glad you asked!”

Merv Rettenmund always hustled. He’s still hustling today at http://www.mervrettenmund.com/.

Most remember him as the scrappy Baltimore outfielder, someone who might hit .300 in his sleep.

He credits Orioles coaches Jim Frey and Billy DeMars with hitting wisdom that inspired him to become a coach, too.

Collectors know “The Hit Man” as a willing signer, although someone who tired of squeezing every letter into each autograph.

By the way, I smiled at the compact facsimile autograph on the 1971 Topps.  For years, I’ve seen Rettenmund take two lines to sign cards, stacking his first name atop his long last name.

I asked him about the twilight of his career, when he led the National League with 21 pinch-hits in 1977.

How did he do it? Rettenmund replied with a surprising breakdown of the art:

“Pinch-hitting is simple:

1. A lot of at-bats in spring (training)
2. Hit breaking ball and fastball until All-Star break
3. After All-Star break, only swing at fastballs

Also play on a really bad team, where you lost every night, so you get one at-bat a night. It helps maintain your timing. I actually enjoyed pinch-hitting.”

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