Remembering Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez

From 2013. (Courtesy Lynn Cripps)
From 2013. (Courtesy Lynn Cripps)

The Seattle Mariners lost a pitching prospect in 20-year-old Victor Sanchez. Autograph collectors lost the opportunity to get one of tomorrow’s major leaguers to sign today.

Meanwhile, my friend lost a friend.

Lynn “Chipper” Cripps, clubhouse manager of the class A Clinton Lumber Kings in 2013, had this memory on his Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart that l have learned that my friend and former Mariner player Victor David Sanchez Rodriguez¬†has passed away due to his injuries he suffered in the boating accident. He was a Godly young man who treated everyone with respect and kindness. I will miss him very much as he was one of my boys.. RIP Big Vic.”

Lynn saw the heart of a competitor in 2013, noting that he was a witness to the hurler’s no-hitter.

As you look at the signatures of baseball’s bygone names, remember you have more than a rare signature. You have the chance to remember how someone lived, not how they died.


Grand Rapids Chick Inez Voyce dispels AAGPBL movie glamor

I found this 1947 candid of Voyce, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum website!
I found this 1947 candid of Voyce, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum website!

I’m on a mission.

After co-writing a new book about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, I’ve wanted to reach as many of these surviving players as possible.

I’m pleased to say 90-year-old Inez “Lefty” Voyce (a U.S. Navy veteran!) replied in just three weeks. Yes, she included her nickname in the signature.

The best part of her letter?

Q: What do you remember about your 1946 tryout in Mississippi?

A: Lots of bugs.

On second thought, a creepy-crawly scene like that might be great for a movie about the league, or the highly-publicized new AAGPBL musical!

My favorite March Madness BASEBALL reply

Sorry about that bracket…

From the archives…

I hope you’ll check out the last line of what Herb Plews wrote me a few years ago.

Don’t assume the former baseball player follows only baseball. Write of their birthplace, hometown, college connection…whatever it takes. For me, my return address brought an inspiring aside about the Northern Iowa Panthers.

Pitcher George Frazier battles autograph dealers

Might the only autograph collectors see someday be the facsimile on Frazier’s Topps card?

George Frazier pitched for five teams from 1979-87. He’s known today as a Rockies commentator.

I think he may gain the most fame by striking out autograph dealers.

From the always-amazing comes word from one of Frazier’s friends. The former reliever is getting hounded in the worst way by mail, getting 20 to 30 cards monthly. The names change, but the address is the same. Yes, the addresses are matching eBay sellers with Frazier autographs. A reply of all cards personalized brought another letter Frazier asking for more autographs, leaving off the inscriptions. (After all, personalized autographs are harder to sell, right?)

Frazier is asking true collectors to limit their TTM request to 4 or 5 items. Frazier’s friend says the ex-pitcher is mulling over new responses. Requests of 10 or more items will get one autograph and he’ll start keeping duplicates.

Another former major leaguer is ready to stop signing by mail for everyone. Worse still, Frazier has access to the airwaves. His choice could be reflected by an entire Rockies organization. Or by former-player-broadcasters from other teams repeating the tale of hobby greed during broadcasts.

The baseball world is watching. Be on your best by-mail behavior.


Celebrating 1,000 posts with a new site!

He batted 1.000. Plus, he blogs. Learn more at www.John

At last!

“Baseball By The Letters” has its own home now, thanks to Steve and Vicki Palmquist, the talents behind Winding Oak.¬†

The Archives awaits, with posts dating back to 2010. I’m just getting moved in. I’m grateful to all my Blogspot followers, and hope you’ll sign up for lots more fun. Look for me twice weekly. Play ball!