Phillies Fan Stan Price Perfects Custom Cards

Stan Price’s Tribute to
The Man Who Came to Play

There’s a new movement in autograph collecting. Instead of fretting about how there’s nothing new to collect, these trend-setters are making their own collectibles. Some are creating cards they design themselves. Others are devising their own photo collages.

One of these leaders is Stan Price. I’m grateful to this Phillies collecting machine, who took time out from the hobby to share some experiences.

Q: Of your 1,200 different, when and where did you get the idea? These are blank backed and card sized, I’m guessing?

 A: The cards are indeed blank backed and card sized. I began collecting near 1989 when the Scranton Wilkes Barre Red Barons came into existence. I was getting autographs on logo balls but I found out the hard way that the autographs would fade with time. So I brainstormed and came up with a 3.5″ x 5″ photo of an actual baseball. They were inexpensive and portable.

My next lesson was to ID the autographs because some are hard to identify. I began putting the signed “baseball” with a photo of the player. The next logical step was to produce a card of the players and I said “What the heck, make one for each player who has every played for the Phillies and get as many signed as I can.”

Q: I know little about computers. How hard has it been finding the skills (Photoshop?) to do this?

A: I use Microsoft Word for making the cards since the design is rather basic. Since it’s an ongoing set, I don’t want to change up the design on a  yearly basis. Once I have a photo, I can make a card in 2-3 minutes.

Q: Where are you finding images of these cup-of-coffee Phillies?

A: That’s a fun and challenging part of the hobby. Team publications, of course, pictorial baseball histories, internet surfing and the good old library.

Q: Had you collected autographs TTM before making your customs? Do you get other cards signed, too? How has the response differed since you’ve started including a custom?

A: Like I stated before, I had a ton of logo baseballs and some odds and ends. But I never really collected cards. A lot of the players especially the retired ones often comment on the idea.

Q: Can you site a specific former player who has given great feedback, or asked for extra customs to share? I know some guys in years past write and say, “Sorry. I have no photos.”

A: I can think of two ex-players who seemed the most impressed:

Ron Diorio, who asked for some extras as did Rich Barry, who never had a card produced for him. He wanted to show his family how handsome he was as a young man.

Q: Please, would you share a peek at one of your customs?

A: I’ve attached my favorite card. Danny Litwhiler who looks like he came to play that day.

I hope everyone receives as much enjoyment as I do with their collections. I would also thank the membership of in helping obtain some autographs as well.

Stan has welcomed questions and comments from other Phillies collectors or hobbyists who’d like to create their own custom “cards.” E-mail Stan at

My Day With Hall of Famer Johnny Mize

“This is for you.” — Johnny Mize

Imagine a baseball Hall of Famer sauntering through an airport concourse or hotel lobby. He’s friendly. Not just when someone recognizes him and asks for an autograph.
He greets strangers. Then, he opens his sport coat. From the breast pocket, he produces a Perez-Steele postcard, a Hall of Fame plaque postcard, or a vintage Topps card.

For uniformed military personnel, he adds: “Thank you for your service.”

This wasn’t a rumor. This was the life of Johnny Mize.

During my brief tenure as co-editor of Sports Collectors Digest, I represented the magazine at an Iowa card show. When the show organizer came up short on tables, he asked if I’d be willing to sit at the autograph table.

Was that okay with me? Uh…YES!

When a child in a wheelchair approached the table, having just an index card, Mize said, “Just a minute.”
He slowly, gently lowered himself (on two new surgically-repaired knees) to be at eye level with the young fan. “I want you to have this.” Out came a 1952 Topps card. The real thing from the real “Big Cat.”

He seemed a bit embarrassed when he returned to his seat and my jaw still hung wide.

“Sometimes, someone sends me an extra. I share them.”

He said he liked to seek out “special” children or men and women in uniform. “I know what that’s like,” he said of his World War II service.

Mize felt a sacred obligation more than three decades after leaving the field. The public counted. Every collector mattered.

“I did one of these shows with Lenny Dykstra,” he said. “Do you know who he is?”

I nodded slowly for the possible bombshell. It came.

“He showed up in a jogging suit wearing headphones. He wouldn’t talk with the people.

In my day, he couldn’t carry my jockey strap.”

Sorry, “Nails.” That’s how he felt. That’s what he SAID.

I was saddened that more people didn’t bother to spend a moment with Mize. The show was lightly attended. He would have talked to anyone, not just holders of autograph tickets. I believe collectors thought he’d be at more hobby shows in the future. They had gotten his signature before. He was easy to get by mail. Mize had started asking for a small donation for his local Georgia boy scout troop. (Previously, the boys had to sell Vidalia onions door-to-door to raise money for community projects, he explained.)

Still, he was a bargain. To the end, he could produce a signature that matched his 1952 Topps to the letter. I saw him do it again and again.

Everyone got a small, sincere smile and a noble nod with their autograph.

That’s why I write to so many names from baseball’s past. I know that, behind every signature, is a story.

Tomorrow: the story of Stan Price and his amazing Phillies “custom” collection.

Yankee Art Schult Tells On 1953 Topps

“The only picture they had…”

Art Schult got only the briefest chance to catch on with the 1953 Yankees.

In his “cup of coffee” with manager Casey Stengel, does Schult have a memory of the Hall of Famer?

Yes, but…

“RE Stengel – I was never very diplomatic and I really do not want to try at this late date.”

Schult accepted the nickname “Dutch,” although some mystery surrounds the title:

“I believe one of my buddies gave me the nickname ‘Dutch’ when I stole a couple of bases and it stuck for awhile.”

Most incredible is Schult’s recognition of his 1953 Topps card. Some collectors have guessed that Topps painters inserted random backgrounds on some cards. I thought Schult’s card looked like my backyard!

Not so.

“My contract was brought up to New York at the end of the 1950 season. I was drafted into the Service roughly the same time. The only picture they had was taken in Binghamton, New York, with the center field wall in the background.

I had the pinstripes on but the cap had TC (Triple City logo) and the number on the uniform was #6 which couldn’t be shown. That is why they doctored the card.”

Tomorrow: Remembering my conversation with Hall of Famer Johnny Mize.

Roger Repoz Salutes Mickey Mantle

Not Mantle.
Not Murcer.
Still grateful.

Outfielder Roger Repoz did his best to ignore the New York media. However, he couldn’t help but be thunderstruck by his new place of employment in 1964.

Did he remember his Yankee Stadium arrival? His letter confirmed that the impression still remains:

“I remember walking out on the field like it was yesterday. The facade hung out over the field.

It was like being in a canyon.”

Repoz couldn’t just be another outfield prospect. For New York scribes, he had to be a future Mickey Mantle. Who could survive such high expectations. He explained:

“I tried not to notice because there wasn’t going to be another Mantle. He was so good!”

Repoz flashed occasional Mantle-like power in his career. Two homers and six RBI versus the 1968 Tigers in one game. A 1971 grand slam against the mighty Orioles. Neither power display tops his list, though.

“My first major league hit was a home run off Steve Barber. I still have the ball.”

And has the memory. Flash back to July, 1, 1965.

Tomorrow: one of the 1953 Yankees explains his Topps card of that year, then ponders Casey Stengel.

Bud Harrelson: ‘I Always Wanted the Mets.’

Good luck finding
a ‘Derrel’ autograph

Did Bud Harrelson want to play for the San Francisco Giants? I quoted to him from The Ballplayers, a 1990 reference book.

“Harrelson grew up in California wanting to play for the Giants, who rejected him as too small.”

This was repeated in a thorough SABR biography.

I asked for details. Who did the rejecting? How? His reply was fascinating:

“The Giants never scouted me. I always wanted the Mets.”

The Ballplayers did point out one epic week in Harrelson’s career. In the same week in late 1966, he secured Met wins against the Giants and Pirates with dramatic steals of home. The losses dashed pennant hopes for both clubs.

Why don’t we see more steals of home today?

“The old-time pitchers had a longer wind-up.”

Harrelson learned to switch-hit after struggling to hit his weight in 1965.

“Casey Stengel encouraged me. I wanted to play every day, right and left.”

I enjoyed discovering the Ultimate Mets Database entry for Harrelson. Be sure to check out the fan memories section, too.

Tomorrow: Revisit Yankee Stadium, circa 1964, with Roger Repoz

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