Hello, Babe Ruth: Telling the world about autographs

RuthBabeAlanCohenYou can learn a lot from baseball researcher and author Alan Cohen.

Initially, he reached me through this blog. He’s in the home stretch of writing a fascinating baseball history book.

I spotted, via Facebook, one of his victories.

Someone found him on LinkedIn. Her dad had played in the “Esquire All-American Boys” game, a precursor of the Hearst Sandlot Classic.

See what the supporter included with the message. That’s her father with a noted coach:

Yes, that’s Babe Ruth, circa 1945.

Moral? Don’t be shy. Don’t be silent. 

Don’t spend all your time talking about the weather, your ailments, religion or politics. Share a passion. You write to former players? 

Of course, slip in a call to action. A request. “If you EVER have any tips or ideas…”

Then, don’t count the misses. Only the hits. 

If the world doesn’t know about your hobby, how can anyone ever help you?

Babe Ruth’s Daughter Brings Autograph Collectors Hope

The www.antiquetrader.com
site documented this selling
for more than $62,000 in a
2008 auction. Ruth’s daughter
makes it sound like there may be
many autographs still out there
from her famous father.

It might be easy to be low on hope right now.

No regularly-scheduled games through Wednesday.
Plus, it’s Monday.
Well, I spotted this happy comment from CBS News this weekend. Babe Ruth’s daughter claims that he never refused an autograph request. Drivers, start your imaginations!
Let’s hope the second half of this season finds more Babe-like behavior with our requests.

Autograph Collectors, Don’t Envy Reporters

I was impressed seeing this
on www.sportscollectorsdaily.com.
Sports agent Walsh got Ruth
and others to sign in 1947. These days,
an autographed press pass
seen by team officials
would be grounds for eviction!

Frustrated TTM collectors might wish to trade places with the all-access journalists who are swarming about the World Series. Look at the players they have at their fingertips.

Not for autographs!

The press passes include the warning. Signs are posted, too.

The team prints their law on every press pass. Asking for autographs means you can ejected from the clubhouse or field quicker than a mouthy manager.

And, unlike the school principal who threatened to put this on your imaginary “permanent record,” I believe that an infraction might make it impossible to get a press pass in the future.

Think of The Coasters singing Poison Ivy:

“You can look but you better not touch!”

Pinstripe Empire Author Knows The Hobby

Marty Appel is more than an author. He’s part of New York Yankees history.

Therefore, his masterful history of the team is a fascinating story within the story. As I devoured his new Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees From Before The Base to After the Boss (Bloomsbury, $28), I began to discover Appel’s deep roots in the Yankee mythology.

He’s restrained in not writing a “Me and Other Yankees” type book. Remember, coach Yogi Berra depended on Appel, a boy wonder team executive, for daily gossip about the team’s inner workings before each game.

Readers learn that Appel’s long career as the team’s public relations director meant more than paychecks. He tells of a young fan in 1965 who got a letter to the editor published in The Sporting News. “Why is everyone giving up on the Yankees? They always come through in the end. They will be fine.” Appel was that fan.

Appel salutes everyone in Yankees history. He unearthed a 1969 letter from a 1912 batboy (whose mother washed the team‘s uniforms). He writes admiringly of the unknown janitor who salvaged team files when new owners took over in the 1940s, done initially to save the autographs of famous names on endorsed checks.

Although Appel doesn’t write about collecting team memorabilia, he has lots of hobby-related tidbits in his text. He writes of the Yankee Stadium box seat design, noting that curved-back seats bought by collectors after the 1973 renovation dated back to 1946.

Think that’s great? Look for a two-paragraph tribute to Manny’s Baseball Land. If you bought a souvenir outside the ballpark into the 1970s, chances are it originated through Manny’s. On page 394, Appel notes just how cheap Yankee Stadium relics went for in the park’s renovation. Got five empty Winston packs and $5.75? A box seat is yours!

Collectors will love the author’s willingness to capture hobby lore. The reason Yankees fans know the faces of clubhouse man Pete Sheehy (who could forge autographs of Yankee stars when needed) and PA announcer Bob Sheppard was because Appel made sure the men were included in team photos and the yearbook.

He isn’t above raising an eyebrow about team icons. When Mickey Mantle couldn’t find his famed #7 jersey for Old-Timers Day, team exec Appel used some tape to alter Gene Michael’s #17. Appel recounts seeing coach Frank Crosetti climb into the Yankee Stadium stands before games, seeing that concessionaires return foul balls. And, on page 382, Appel tells which Yankees player on a winter caravan tour asks him where to buy good marijuana!

No detail is too small for Appel’s historic eye. He weaves decades together with invisible thread. Do you remember Seinfeld character George Costanza’s front office job with the Yankees? The job wasn’t as made-up as it sounded.Check out page 203. Appel knows who really held the low-level post from generations past.

Along with the yearly summaries of each season, the book tells of the demise of announcer Mel Allen. Appel shares that the announcer answered ALL of his fan mail.

When Babe Ruth visited Cooperstown for his 1939 Hall of Fame enshrinement, Appel resurrected the ideal quote from the legend besieged by signature seekers.

“I didn’t know there were so many people who didn’t have my autograph!”

Appel needed more than 600 pages to document all the wonders he was part of with the Yankees. This book is a noble start. He’s been a student of team history all his life. Read this finely-sculpted love letter to his Bronx Bombers, and you’ll be sure that all-star storyteller Appel is still a fan.

Coming Monday: Thanking a former Yankee on the comeback trail!

New York Yankees History Encounter Takes Mike ‘Tiger Nut’ Micho By Surprise

Ruppert’s plaque resides in Monument Park in
Yankee Stadium. I found this at Bleacher Report.
The site makes a great case for the owner being
included in the Hall of Fame. Lots of great
Yankee insights here!

Here’s a great P.S. to the Mike Micho story. He likes the Tigers, but he LOVES baseball.

As Mike tells it:

“I also wanted to tell you about the surprise I got 3 days ago. I`m a Physical Therapist and work in an acute care hospital. I treat people with many different problems and ailments,which leads me to meeting many different people. During that time,you get to know & learn a little bit about each one.

Well,while working with a 94 yr. old gentleman,he noticed me wearing a pair of Detroit Tigers scrubs and asked me if I was a big baseball fan. Well,with me that`s like opening Pandora`s box! He and I sat and talked baseball for quite a while. Then he proceeds to tell me out of nowhere his uncle used to own the New York Yankees! At first I was sort of taken aback by this, then is daughter, who was present in the room, told me that, yes, his uncle did own the Yankees.

It was Jacob Ruppert, the man who bought Babe Ruth from the Red Sox! Instantly, I asked him “Will you adopt me!” He laughed and said ‘God no, I`ve got enough kids to worry about.’

He then started to tell me all about how when he was a little kid, his uncle would let him hang out in the clubhouse, occasionally be the batboy for a few games a year, and how he would play catch on the field with the Babe, Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri and others. I could have sat and talked with him all day, but of course there was work to do.

The next day I thought if he didn`t mind,I was going to have him autograph a Yankees logo card just for myself to keep with my other Yankees signed items. However, he was discharged home the night before. Another missed opportunity! Maybe I should keep Signature Cards or logo cards and Sharpie on hand with me at all times.”

Like any fisherman, hobbyists all have stories about “the one that got away.” Mike reminds us: baseball history can find you at any time. Are you ready?

Coming Tuesday: The Mystery of Mark Mulder.

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