Cub Roe Skidmore Knows 1971 Topps

Friends Kyle and
Tyler Smego
scored Skidmore
in 2012. See his
answers to their
letter at their
swell site,
“The Autograph Addict.”

Roe Skidmore made that one career hit as a Chicago Cub count.

Topps deemed him worthy of inclusion in the next year’s set.

Card #121, “1971 Rookie Stars CUBS,” pictures Skidmore below pitcher Jim Dunegan.

More than 40 years later, what does he see on that card?

Skidmore replied:

“The 1971 Topps picture was actually taken in spring training at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona.

To this day, I receive approximately 2 to 3 dozen cards per week from collectors to autograph. Still feels good that people remember me.”

Coming Thursday: An Illinois native playing for the Cubs!

Joe Lis Dies; 1971 Topps Mystery Remains

Filling in for Killebrew…

Joe Lis passed away October 17. The slugger who clubbed 236 minor league homers never found lasting opportunity in the majors.

A sporadic autograph signer after retirement, his ornate signature contradicted his short name. To his credit, I’ve never see “J– L–” autographs. When he signed, he REALLY signed.

Here’s one bafflement that endures for me. I recall being in a scrum of in-person autograph collectors in the 1970s, awaiting the Twins upon their return to their Kansas City hotel. One veteran hobbyist talked of failing to get Lis to sign his 1971 Topps Rookie Stars card. Lis signed everything but that specimen.

“Later, someone told me Lis had a fight with Montanez,” the collector shared, noting the other Phillie on the card. “The only way Lis’ll sign it is if you cut Montanez off the card or doodle a mustache on Montanez.”

I never tested the theory. Defiling a card for an autograph shocked and saddened me. However, I’ve never seen a MINT card autographed by Lis. Perhaps, he softened his stance in later years? I share this odd story as a bit of hope: any lesser-condition autographed 1971 Topps with a Lis signature may be real!

Meanwhile, here’s the ultimate SABR biography of Lis, the slugger-turned-teacher.

Three Lessons From Former Players

Who needs fortune cookies? The hobby has been sending me messages! Such as…

1. This hobby is humbling: When Mark Dewey replied politely, he began his letter, “Dear Mr. Owens.” People called my Dad MISTER. That means I’m old?!?

2. Count your hits, not your misses: This coming week, I’ll share a fantastic reply from RICH Billings, the 1970s catcher. He made an incredible observation about Ted Williams. What I’ll try not to bemoan is how the envelope looked like an origami project run amok. Mister Billings had enclosed a card. Not since I put dupes in my bike spokes has such a result been seen. Nonetheless, I’m grateful to the Postal Service. This was my first disabled list envelope in eight months.

3. Don’t believe every card you read: If any of you write to Billings, note that he is not a DICK. The 1971 Topps card reproduced his signature as RICH BILLINGS. Still, Topps insisted on identifying him as “Dick.” Billings signs his autograph as “Rich.” Even his return address label confirms his first name of choice.

Readers: what lessons have your TTM responses taught you?

%d bloggers like this: