Pitcher Bobby Shantz Talks Autographs

Bobby Shantz mentioned his brother
in the great reply he provided!

I’m one lucky hobbyist.

I hit two jackpots with my latest reply from pitcher Bobby Shantz. I shared my first letter from Bobby on the blog back in 2010.

I wanted to know how he felt about autographs today, nearly a half century after leaving the mound.

He replied:

“Tom,

I get around 50 or 60 autographs [request letters] weekly.

Career wise, I suppose I’ve received thousands.”

On why he never stopped signing?

“I like to sign autographs because I’m happy they still remember me.”

Bobby was more than kind pointing out that I hadn’t remembered his career exactly. Too quickly, I referenced his hitting record, believing that his first HR was off Harry Byrd in 1954.

Oops!

“It was my brother Wilmer, who hit the home run off Harry Byrd, with the bases loaded, not me.

I did hit one home run off Allie Reynolds in Yankee Stadium. Allie later told me I was too damn little to him a home run. HA!

Thanks for the nice letter.

Bobby Shantz”

Thank you, Bobby. We will always remember you!

Coming Wednesday: Stay tuned Yankees fans for a book review of The Juju Rules!

Minnesota Skipper Sam Mele Remembers White Sox Roadblock En Route to 1965 World Series

Tattoo, or did Mele catch
a fastball on the bicep?

Sam Mele was Minnesota’s first Tom Kelly. Manager Mele turned the Twins into near World Champions in 1965.

I asked him when his thoughts changed from “good team” to “World Series bound.” He replied:

“Had a series with the White Sox and beat them. That gave us the lead.”

Mele’s baseball bloodline can be traced to Uncle Tony Cuccinello. I asked what special education he received as a nephew.

“All the fundamentals of baseball.”

Mele’s fame as Minnesota skipper followed a tidy 10-year career as a hard-working outfielder. His headline-grabbing moment as a hitter came in 1953, compiling a 22-game hitting streak.

I asked if there was one toughest game in which his streak was in doubt.

“Facing Yankee pitcher Allie Reynolds.”

A full look at Mele’s life in baseball is provided by writer Bill Nowlin’s wonderful biography, found on the SABR website.

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