Can Whitey Herzog-Era St. Louis Cardinals Break This Early Summer Mail Slump?

How many in this group still answer fan mail? I’ll find out!

My mailbox is on a diet. Instead of losing weight, the baseball responses are shrinking.
Quite likely, everyone is outside more. Baseball season is in full swing. More choices. Slower responses.

Instead of fretting over envelopes not yet returned, I’ve stayed in action. I chose a bunch I cheered for in the 1980s: Whitey’s boys.

Any team needs a stating nine to break a slump. Here’s mine:

Glenn Brummer
Tom Brunansky
John Costello
Ricky Horton
Kurt Kepshire
John Mabry
Mike Ramsey
Lonnie Smith
Scott Terry

Who might be the trickiest in the group? I vote for broadcaster Horton. I checked http://www.sportscollectors.net/. The last reported by-mail response from the lefty was Jan. 5, 2010. The letters are out. The fingers are crossed.

Stay tuned…

Coming Tuesday: An inspiring note from catcher Chris Bando

Harmon Killebrew Knew Penmanship!

Upper Deck hit a home run with this insert set!
Say AMEN somebody!!!

He never was “H —– K——–.”

Even more, Harmon Killebrew felt everyone else should give full-name autographs. Remember, this wasn’t an “Ed Ott” lecturing current players. This was the 15-letter man, someone who had walked the walk for decades of spelling out every last bit of his lengthy name.

I loved the FOX Sports article. We need more reporters like Tyler Mason who’ll salute respectful hobby HOFers while shaming the slothful superstars.

Coming Monday: Will the Cardinals break my mail slump?

Cubs Catcher Cuno Barragan Admired Ken Hubbs. ‘College of Coaches’? Since You Asked…

Barragan has written
other collectors that he
prefers this to the 1962.
Any guesses why?

If you want to know what might have been in baseball, don’t depend on the sportswriters. Ask a teammate.

I asked Cuno Barragan, a Cubs catcher from 1961-63, what his impressions of Ken Hubbs were. He responded:

“Ken Hubbs was signed as a shortstop, but with Ernie Banks, they moved him to second baseball. With his youth and range, he was outstanding!”

I asked about Sept. 1, 1961, playing at Wrigley Field. Barragan hit his first major league homer.

“I hit a fastball off left-hander Dick LeMay (Giants). It just made it into left center field bleacher. I thought it was a double. Then I saw the umpire signal home run! Glen Hobbie (pitcher) was the next hitter.”

Two interesting details Barragan left out:

1. It was his major league debut.
2. It was his first-ever at-bat!

Don’t think that Barragan is a “rose-colored glasses” alum for the Cubbies. What did he think of the team’s managing while he was up?

“College of Coaches was the worst thing that ever happened. Baseball is managed by an individual who in his estimation plays the best nine players he thinks he can win games with.

College of Coaches failed! [Yes, Mister B did the underlining himself…]”

Tomorrow: Remembering Harmon Killebrew

Pirate Paul Smith As ‘Casey At The Bat’

Should have asked…
Does Smith know he and his
card are comic fodder  in
‘The Great American Baseball
Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble
Gum Book’?

Call me a mind reader.

Just as a formality, I asked Paul Smith which of his seven homers was a favorite. I knew, however. Sure enough, Smith agreed, saying:

Favorite home run – against Brooklyn , ninth inning, pinch-hit HR to tie the game with two outs and two strikes.”

Cheers to http://www.retrosheet.org/ for the details!

Smith played ball in Havana, before there was any Fidel Castro. What was it like?

“I had played winter ball in Cuba 1952-53 and had a great season. The fans were great when I played for the AAA team.”

I read that Smith had suffered concussions as a player. A hitch in the armed forces may have complicated his career, too.

Smith didn’t make excuses, noting:

“Concussions – hard hat (helmet) made it minor! Headaches for a couple of days.

Military – a year in Iceland.”

Before thanking me for the questions, Smith summed up:

“Life in baseball is great. See a lot of the country. It’s a challenge when you’re only 5-foot-8.”

Thursday: A Cubs teammate remembers Ken Hubbs

 

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