Phillies Ricky Jordan Confirms His Debut Homer

Same sweeping “R” and “J.”
Don’t expect to see the “y”
in current autographs…

I didn’t get a lot from Ricky Jordan. However, the former Phillie did one notable thing:

He autographed the letter ‘Rick Jordan.’

Imagine being told in middle school, “The name you choose right now will follow you the rest of your life.”

It’s that way in the majors.

I asked Jordan about his debut for the Phils, July 17, 1988. Thanks to http://www.retrosheet.org/, I discovered that the premiere featured his first home run in his first game.

Q: Did any friends or family attend the game?

A: YES, father and mother.

Q: Did you get the ball as a souvenir?

A: Yes.

Did I miss one burning question that baseball historians haven’t attempted? How does someone born Paul Scott Jordan get the nickname of “Ricky?”

Converted Cardinals Pitcher Bob Forsch: Remembering A Minor League Rebirth

I loved his off-beat autograph.
Will Forsch love this off-beat
story of his conversion
to pitcher?

He was the most interesting baker I had ever met.

That was John, wearing an apron and a St. Louis Cardinals cap.

My wife and I were on assignment, writing about the revival of the flood-ravaged Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We asked John about baking at the Bohemian Cafe. He liked his work. He took pride in his craft.

However, he became a new person when I asked if he remembered the Cedar Rapids Cardinals minor league team. Yes! John was a teen who got paid a bounty for each foul ball he returned.

His eternal thrill that season came through his bravery. No player was anxious to devote extra time to helping a converted third baseman become a hurler. John strapped on the “tools of ignorance,” getting to be one of the first ever to see the transformation of hard-throwing, control-iffy Bob Forsch into a gifted pitcher.

John was a U.S. Army vet. Cedar Rapids diners adored his baked creations. However, his real pride may have been in giving a helping hand to the future author of 168 wins and two no-hitters in a 16-year career in the majors.

I’ve hesitated to write to Bob Forsch. I feared he might not remember.

That shouldn’t be what matters.

What matters most is that Bob Forsch knows that a great baker was proud to help. John stood with him on the mound for all those wins.

I should have gotten John’s autograph…

Coming Wednesday: Ricky Jordan remembers.

Iowa Cubs Giving Away 2,000 Autographed Baseballs At Aug. 22 Game: Signers Include…

My autographed Bob Feller ball was a gift. A gift from the Iowa Cubs. I attended their 2006 promotion, thinking it was too good to be true.

It’s true. In fact, it’s an Iowa tradition. Monday, Aug. 22, is the next autograph extravaganza. Free signed baseballs to the first 2,000 fans. This is worth a trip!

Here’s the inside story from Iowa Cubs broadcaster Randy Wehofer:

“We finally have everything prepared for the giveaway on Monday.  We’ll have 2,000 baseballs that we are giving away and it took quite a long time to put each in a bag, with a corresponding COA to identify the autograph, and seal each with a Subway sticker for our sponsor.  Below is the complete list of autographs featured in the giveaway.  Most are from players that were with us during the season.  Some have signed more than others depending on how long they were here.  Also included are some from most of the guys that did ML rehab with us including Darwin Barney, Jeff Baker, Marlon Byrd, and Reed Johnson.

I looked into when the giveaway started and was told it was 2006, so this is the sixth year.  We’ve probably given away at least 10,000 baseballs over the course of the promotion.”

The following players autographed baseballs:

Jim Adduci
Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney

Justin Berg

Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Marlon Byrd
Dave Bush
Alberto Cabrera
Matt Camp
Chris Carpenter
Esmailin Caridad
Marco Carillo
Welington Castillo
Steve Clevenger
Robert Coello
Casey Coleman
Tyler Colvin
Bill Dancy
Thomas Diamond
Ryan Flaherty
John Gaub
Marwin Gonzalez
Brett Jackson
Jay Jackson
Reed Johnson
Von Joshua
Bryan LaHair
DJ LeMahieu
Scott Maine
Mike Mason
Marcos Mateo
J.R. Mathes
Lou Montanez
Scott Moore
Jonathan Mota
Augie Ojeda
Ramon Ortiz
Blake Parker
Fernando Perez
Marty Pevey
Chris Robinson
Chris Rusin
Bobby Scales
Carlton Smith
Marquez Smith
Brad Snyder
Matt Spencer
Jeff Stevens
Nick Struck
Nate Teut
Ty Wright
Robin Roberts
Pete Rose
Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
Bruce Sutter
Sparky Anderson
Derek Lee
Tony Perez
Orlando Cepeda
Fergie Jenkins
Luis Aparicio 

Two to-be-named Iowa Cubs will be signing free autographs near the Gate A concourse that night from 6-6:30 p.m.

The Mystery of Milwaukee Brave Johnny Logan

1954 Bowman

From baseball address king Harvey Meiselman comes news of an autograph fee.

Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan wants $5 (cash) per signature by mail.

Logan is 85 years old. He’s been a fast, dependable signer by mail beforehand. The stats on http://www.sportscollectors.net/ are stunning — 273 successes in 280 requests. Why demand money now?

Illness could be an explanation. However, I see another possibility.

Virtually all the responses came in just 1-2 weeks. Logan seems like a same-day signer. Is that because he’s seen signing autographs as more of a duty than an enjoyment?

I think signing has become a chore for Logan. Being paid for “work” makes the situation tolerable.
Some retirees wonder if they truly matter to today’s collectors, many of whom weren’t born when the player last competed. I hope this isn’t Logan’s case, too.

For a great profile of Johnny Logan, check out this feature by acclaimed Braves historian Bob Buege on the SABR Bio Project website. Bob was the source who confirmed that Johnny fudged his birthdate by one year.

Slugger Shawn Green Becomes All-Star Author With ‘The Way Of Baseball’ Debut

Shawn Green’s new book,  The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness At 95 MPH (Simon and Schuster, 208 pages, $24) is not your typical baseball memoir.

Can you judge a book by its cover? Green’s cover doesn’t feature a photo of him with the Blue Jays, Dodgers, Diamondbacks or Mets. Instead, he chose a Zen symbol turned into a baseball.

The modest slugger has NO photos in his biography. Nonetheless, he produces one of the most fascinating baseball titles since Ted Williams wrote The Science of Hitting.

By the way, Williams plays a role in Green’s book. Green shares the Q & A transcript of a dream in which The Splendid Splinter asks Green questions.

Green tells how meditation and yoga helped him focus on his baseball skills. His attitude adjustment was profound. In 1997, he warmed up in the Seattle outfield by playing catch with kids in the stands. As a Dodger, he began a ritual of throwing his batting gloves into the stands after a home run. Why? He writes that shedding the gloves helped quell his ego after a dinger.

Green sparkles when writing about the feelings of being a major leaguer. He explains well his unhappiness after three years in Toronto. He was happy when he got hits. No hits meant depression. “My batting average those first years was not bad, about .285. Nonetheless, that meant I was happy only about 28.5 percent of the time and thus sad the other 71.5 percent.”

You’ll want to pick up a bat, too, after reading Green’s explanations of hitting. He reveals how Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson tipped pitchers, insights he found through focused calm at the plate.

I wanted to review Green in hopes of finding why a former player becomes a reclusive autograph signer. In his book, he notes that he was a conscientious autograph signer (in person) but didn’t enjoy the in-person encounters. The crucial evidence came on page 176, as Green told of becoming a Diamondback:

“Arriving each morning by eight at the facility, I’d wave to the security guard at the players’ parking lot and to the smattering of fans along the fence with their binders of cards and Sharppies. I always signed for the new kids, but just waved to the adult regulars, the ones we saw day after day and year after year. It didnt bother me if they sold my autographs on eBay, but I didn’t feel the same obligation to stop for them. They were always around: at the hotels, waiting by the players’ parking lots, hanging over the dugout. Some players found them annoying. But I saw them differently. They loved baseball, even if they were profiting from our autographs. They promoted us and the game.”

Green’s fine book sets a new standard for what post-career biographies can offer. Without stuffing his book with statistics, photos and tabloid tales of teammates, he’s honest about his life in uniform. Unfortunately, this enlightened star still totes the common assumption that most autograph collectors are eBay vultures. Don’t expect to get this author’s signature on anything but his book in the near future.

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