Twins Catcher George Mitterwald Salutes Manager Billy Martin

I miss the old “Baseball Bible.”
The cover paintings were part of
that reverence. I never tried to
get a TSN autographed. I couldn’t
bear seeing those covers bent in
the mail!
 

George Mitterwald hasn’t forgotten manager Billy Martin. I asked for any memories of their brief time together in Minnesota. Mitterwald replied:

“Billy Martin was a great manager, whom I learned a lot of baseball from. His strategy and willingness to always push the envelope when it came to making the opposition try to stop us from taking extra bases, stopping us from stealing home, double stealing and taking the extra base almost all the time.

Off the field he was brash at times, generous all the time and just plain fun to be around all the time because of his comedic nature.”

Coming Monday: Contrasting memories of owner Calvin Griffith.

Catcher George Mitterwald Makes My Day



Mitterwald maintained
that great tight cursive.
Glad to hear from him!

Don’t give up.

I wrote to the Twins/Cubs catcher back in 2010.

In one of many phases of doubting my letter-writing skill, my timing and the eternal “handwritten or typed?” debate, I chalked up Mr. Mitterwald as one of my many misses.

Maybe not…

Saturday, a superb two-page handwritten reply to my questions came, along with the apology of not responding sooner. He’s faced health problems plus a family loss.

I’ll share the great insights from “The Baron” beginning Thursday. Meanwhile, don’t assume that one non-response is the beginning of the end. Devote the time to sending out more letters, not staring at a barren mailbox.

The Perfect Gift For A Great Signer

No, I’m not talking about a $5 tip.

Baseball’s retirees who sign are old-school. I get so many SASEs with a hand-printed return address.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the cut signature.

However, I could imagine this gets tiring for an old-timer.

Do any of you print your own return address labels, possibly adding a baseball-related icon?

Offer to run off a sheet for that former player. Baseball-themed return address labels.

They’ll love using a homemade gift, just for them. You’ll be making other hobbyists look good, keeping the signer happy.

Everybody wins.

Cincy’s Gene Freese, Autograph All-Star, Gone At Age 79

How much did Fleer pay
players for appearing in
their 1960s sets? In 1963,
the card came with a cookie.
Were players paid in
baked goods?!?

Thanks to Ron Martin for sharing some sad news:

 
“I guess that you have heard that a true friend to the hobby of TTM collecting has departed.  Gene Freese a member of the 1961 Ragamuffin Reds passed away last week evidently from complications due to back surgery.  I know that I had gotten several items signed by him through the years including the photo of Pete Rose coming out of the dugout for his first game in the major leagues.  Rose, Frank Robinson, Cardenas, and Tommy Harper who you cannot see in that photo are the only surviving members in that photo.  Where has time gone?”
 
Mr. Freese (yes, I watched Batman…) died at age 79.
 
Anyone who played more than a decade in the pre-expansion 1950s and 60s had my admiration.
 
Most of all, I admired Freese’s ironman ethic serving the hobby. The sterling website www.sportscollectors.net credited him for signing 183 of 185 requests.
 
Sadly, I missed out on him. Examples of his signature were superbly detailed. No G— F—–.
 
One collector shared on the SCN site that he tried to send Freese $5. The veteran returned the cash with the requested autograph, along with an note claiming that the fiver was half of the signing bonus he received in 1953!
 
The roster of available signers from the 1950s and 60s is shrinking. Get these hobby heroes like Gene Freese as fast as you can.
 
 
 
 
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