1958 ChiSox Pitcher Hal Trosky Jr. Amazed

I got the father, never the son.

Hal Trosky Jr. has died at age 76.

The obituary stated that he pitched in only two games in his major league career. Breaking in with the 1958 White Sox wouldn’t have been easy, winning over manager Al Lopez.

The senior Trosky was a 1930s Cleveland Indians home run machine.

I met the famous dad at a card show in Cedar Rapids. I got his signature on a baseball, then proclaimed, “Did you know there are 108 stitches on a baseball?”

Hal Sr. shrugged and grinned. “All I know is that I wanted to hit every one of them!”

I could see the years melt off his face as he said that.

According to www.sportscollectors.net, the younger Trosky batted a thousand with collectors. That is, of the 16 recorded attempts to get his autograph by mail, he delivered every time. Although he was never seen on a Topps card, he had copies of a photo to send.

Most amazingly, collectors who mentioned Trosky’s dad would get a cancelled check from Hal Trosky Sr.(deceased in 1979). An authenticated autograph from a baseball great who had died more than 30 years prior.

Kudos to Kyle Smego at The Autograph Addict for saluting this overlooked Iowan.

One Last Hit For Slugger Gail Harris

According to the always-superb
www.sportscollector.net, Harris
was a sure-fire signer until the end,
adding photos, notes and other bonuses
for the best fan letters!

I am a Nick Diunte fan.

The praise doesn’t end at fine writing. If Nick was a prospector, the other guys panning for gold would never see him. Suddenly, he’d appear with news of the mother lode. As a baseball researcher, he finds treasure where no one else is looking.

As proof, check out his latest, a tribute to the recently-departed Giants/Tigers slugger Gail Harris:

Nick added in a note:

I wrote to Gail Harris about two months ago asking to talk with him about his time in New York. He sent me back (at his cost) an envelope filled with photos (some autographed) and a few photo copies of some typed stories he had about playing for the Giants. He told me to e-mail or call him. I waited about a month because I had a few other things in front of it I had to get to. I e-mailed him at the end of October with no reply. He didn’t return my phone call either. He passed away on the 14th of November, so I am sure he was too sick to get back to me. Something must have hit him quickly. Anyway, as your encourage on your site, write to guys when they come to mind. Harris gave a Hall of Fame response. Enjoy it.

Thanks, Nick!

Coming Friday: Saying goodbye to the son of a legend.

Could Christmas Cards Attact Autographs?

He’s the greatest Santa
I’ve ever seen in action.
I’m doing my best
to be good this Christmas!

Strings-attached Christmas cards?

Or, “Merry Xmas, gimme an autograph!”

I don’t think I could combine the two.

After I sent a note of support (NOT an autograph request) to then-Royals coach Tom Gamboa after suffering an on-field attack in Chicago, Gamboa sent me a note of thanks for my support, penned on the bottom of a Christmas card. The reply came in December.

I am monitoring the local retailers who sell individual greeting cards. They always have extra envelopes of assorted sizes. The unused envelopes seem to get pitched. I was given a bunch last year.

I see nothing wrong with sending a fan letter in a colored envelope. But expecting Santa, The Wise Men or any other Christmas icons to make the pitch for a reply? I can’t go that far.

Coming Wednesday: Remembering Gail Harris

A Reminder From Frank Pastore

The autograph grew loose
and loopy over time. Pastore’s
appreciation for collectors
remained strong.

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. It’s about getting it all NOW.

Ironically, we put off non-shopping choices until later. Autograph collectors know this well.

Frank Pastore was a generous, even easy, autograph by mail. A man in his 50s. Collectors could get him any time, right?

One motorcycle accident has changed everything. Pastore’s future is uncertain.

Forget methods and systems, ages and availabilities. If you want an autograph, or if you want to thank a player from YOUR past, don’t wait. You heart may know more than your head.

Coming Monday: Thoughts on Christmas cards.

The Ballad of Jeff Ballard

For years, it seemed like
facsimile sigs would be
the only thing collectors would see.

Chris James, Jeff Ballard…now Dave West.


Who are former players who didn’t like mail sent to their homes?

Alex Trebek is smiling. So are collectors who guessed that other addresses exist for these men.

I’ve seen the saga on www.sportscollectors.net. TTM autograph requests fall into a black hole. Then, someone figures out a mailing address for the guy. A family business. A “work” address that works.

Suddenly, the autographs start flowing again.

The moral? Pay attention to the “Whatever happened to…” features. Some retirees may be non-signers only some of the time.

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