Brad Mangin’s ‘Instant Baseball’ Book Both Beautful, Baffling

Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin is in a league of its own.

The 161-page book can’t be judged by its cover. The book is a 6-1/2 inch square, first resembling a children’s “board” book.

Inside is a love-it-or-hate-it creation. This title will evoke strong emotions in everyone.

For me, the first reaction this frequent Sports Illustrated photographer received from me was bafflement.

Yes, there’s 240 images coveraging the 2012 season. Mangin is a Bay Area photographer who can cover all teams through his Oakland/San Francisco proximity.

Mangin writes a three-page introduction, telling how he made all the photos with his Apple iPhone and the Instagram app.

There’s even a brief mention that Bryce Harper loved the innovative look of Mangin’s Instagram images. The young outfielder agreed to pose after BP, even changing into his game uniform early.

Here’s where the book disappoints. The stories end! There’s NO captioning of each photo. The first 20 pages of photos get oh-so-brief captions on page 21-22. Ironically, the most reporting Mangin does is when he photographs photographers. He points out that it’s Robert Beck photographing Albert Pujols for Sports Illustrated.

Then, the book layout cheats some of Mangin’s best pictures. Four pictures on one page? That’s smaller than a baseball card.

And even baseball’s most artful set ever, 1953 Bowman, provided details on ALL the card backs. We didn’t have to wait for a checklist card to reveal the photo details.

Mangin does have a sense of humor. On page 77, he shoots from a low level, showing Fox TV reporter Ken Rosenthal stretching his mike to reach gigantic-by-comparison Brave Jason Heyward.

Sure, there’s lots of artful images in Mangin’s book. However, how many of you want to watch a televised game without any sound or captions?

Fledgling photographers could find inspiration in these pages. Or, fans of the Giants and A’s might like the extra peeks at their favorite teams.

For me, I want more. How do you convince a current major leaguer to hold still for a 10-second pose? Mangin has seen so much. I’m sure he has a collection of amazing stories. Even two sentences about each photo would be an incredible treat.

Instant Baseball could grow on you. For me? I’m ready for a sequel, hoping for more stories behind the shots.

Rocky Colavito? Darren Daulton? Who’s Worth The Price?

Applause to Harvey Meiselman, who just forwarded news of two baseball retirees now charging for signing through the mail.

Rocky Colavito wants $55 per autograph! Sure, has just two FREE responses logged in the last decade-plus. He hasn’t cared for fan mail for years.

Oh…his signing agent says they’ll sell you their autographed card for just $70.

I’ll buy my own card, thanks…

Colavito’s pricelist/list states that a portion of proceeds will go to his church, builders of a recent school and gymnasium. Hmmm…how big is this portion?

I’m still reeling over the extra fees imposed for inscriptions or special items ($170 for a Hartland statue, for instance). I’m steering clear of this “deal.”

The contrasting news about Darren Daulton’s $15 per TTM signature fee was less jolting. Daulton is facing a dire health forecast, dealing with a malignant brain tumor. I could envision him liking help with his mail, considering his condition.

However, the idea of Daulton costing is a shock to collectors watching the SCN site. He’s responded more than 400 times, good for 90 percent of all attempts.

My problem with this change is that even Daulton’s website says he’ll be resting at his Florida home, far from the agent’s Pennsylvania address.

Nonetheless, if you’re interested, gets more details first from Todd Schafer at Under The Radar Sports Promotions. Contact

L.A. Dodger Dick Gray Delighted Autograph Collectors
has an awesome collection of
autographs, including those
many of us missed out on!

Dick Gray, the man who hit the first-ever homer for the L.A. Dodgers, has died at age 81.

The ever-impressive noted that Gray never disappointed. He was a perfect 63-for-63.

The most common notation from collectors? Gray would add a “thanks for writing” note. Answering questions, adding requested personalizations — Gray did it all.

The part-time third baseman remained a class act, personifying the fan-friendly tradition known as “The Dodger Way.”

Hobby heroes are still out there ready to sign, but they won’t last long.

George Mitterwald Delighted Wrigley Field Fans

Still available on eBay: do you
think this game-used bat could
have been Mitterwald’s “Wonder Boy” bat?
Buy it now, only $795???

New Cub George Mitterwald stole the show early with his new team in 1974.

Check out the power-hitting highlights from the fine folks at Three home runs and eight RBI in one game only begins to tell the story. Mitterwald recalled:

“My three homer, one double and eight RBI game was so memorable it is and was really hard to explain. It was only my fifth home game with the Cubs, and needless to say, a good start with a new ball club. I got at least eight standing ovations during the day. That was fun, also.”

This was an epic, fun letter from a player worth remembering. Thanks, G.M.!

Twin George Mitterwald Recalls Owner Calvin Griffith

I’m agog over the “Ghosts of D.C.” blog. I
found this classic 1959 image there of owner Griffith
hovering between President Eisenhower and
star Harmon Killebrew. Please, read their
great “what if?” essay speculating
on how the Twins could have
become the L.A. Dodgers! How would
Mr. Mitterwald have felt about that?

The ex-Twins catcher sounded so pleased to recall manager Billy Martin.

Then, I spoiled it all for George Mitterwald.

Did he have a memory of owner Calvin Griffith?

“Calvin was a one-owner owner and he liked to let everyone know it. We used to say he threw nickels around like they were manhole covers.

He tried to cut my salary my third year after raising my average 30 points and breaking the fielding record for catchers with a .997 average.

I ended up getting a $4,000 raise, but had to hold out for eight days to get it. He held it against me all the season and curbed my playing time.

I never had real problems with the Cubs.”

Coming Thursday: George’s best day ever?