Goodbye, Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette

This facsimile autograph
on this 1967 still makes me smile.
The hurler always seemed to
squeeze his real signature
on one line. Until the end, you
could read every letter!
Bill Monbouqette never stopped pitching.
I received an inspiring reply from “Monbo” in 2010.
So many of you did, too. Personalizations. He’d inscribe it all on request. The 1962 no-hitter date. His Red Sox Hall of Fame selection. Questions answered. Not one-word replies, but one letter! Encouragement to other patients battling cancers.
Too many media reports make this a story of leukemia outdueling a 78-year-old.
I choose to look at how he lived. He was one of the first teammates to stand up for teammate Pumpsie Green, Boston’s Jackie Robinson.
The stunning reported that the hurler responded to 318 of 326 TTM requests, as recently as December. 
I loved this account of one of Bill’s greatest victories…off the field. This is a great romantic tale (with a baseball subtext!) to savor for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. I tip my cap to Steve Buckley and the Boston Herald.

Honoring Boston’s Bill Monbouquette

A half-century later, a huge heart exists behind that
intense glare. Learn how “Monbo” took a gift
from the hobby and paid it forward!

One of the joys of being a part of the community is witnessing the random acts of kindness from hobbyists.
Michael Einarsson leads that parade. First, he surprised Virgil Trucks. Bill Monbouquette came next. All with lots of help from like-minded collectors. Here’s Michael’s story:

Q: How long have you been collecting autographs? Do you have a specialty (teams, era, etc.)? How much of your collecting is TTM, versus in person?

A: I have been collecting autographs for about 20 years (since I was 10 yrs old). I believe that Mickey Morandini was my first TTM success right after he turned his unassisted triple play in 1992 vs the Pirates.

My only real specialty at this point is I am trying to complete an autographed set of 2008 UD Masterpieces. Not too bad so far, as I have 84 out of a possible 115 autographs in the set (5 deceased players were included in the set).

I do almost all of my collecting via TTM as I do not live near a MLB city. I do however live close to Cooperstown and only last year did I get involved in HOF weekend. Maybe this year I will get more involved in it-we’ll see. I get a lot of my Masterpieces set needs done through consignments with guys on the SCN boards or through private signings.

Q: Was the collection for Virgil Trucks the first you did? What kind of responses did
you get from collectors, and Virgil?

A: Yes, the collection for Virgil Trucks was the first one I did. I got the idea from reading about how some guys on SportsGraphing had done a collection for Bobby Doerr and I said to myself “Why can’t we on SCN do this?” Thus, it was born.

I got a lot of positive feedback from collectors who donated anything from just a few dollars to one donation of over $150! I told potential donors that I will even take the change they have leftover in their Paypal account that they might never use and take that as a donation-it all adds up. All together I had 24 people donate to Virgil as a ‘Thank You’ for all he has done as a TTM HOF’er and a Veteran who fought for our country.

Virgil was VERY gracious as he gave me a phone call (I include my phone number and email in my donation letters) when he got the check to tell me how thankful he was for it. We spoke for about 10 minutes about playing in his era and how he knew some of the towns around where I live. He used to do some barnstorming because they made so little money back then, that he had to do barnstorming to make ends meet at home.

He sent me a very nice ‘Thank You’ card and 20+ signed cards for me to give out to those who donated to him. I contacted everyone who donated and asked them if they wanted the signed card from him. I’d say about half of them accepted it. The rest were just happy to donate to Virgil and didn’t need anything in return.

Q: What kind of replies TTM had you received from Bill before you honored him?

A:  I honestly have never written to Bill before we honored him. I certainly should have as I could use him on a Fenway Park photo I have, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

Q: What do you say to a collector who says, “I’d rather send a thank you note, instead of bringing money into the equation?”

A: I would be more than happy to honor someone’s wishes anyway they want. If they want to send a thank you note, that is fine by me. All I am trying to convey to guys like Trucks or Monbouquette is a ‘Thank You’ and I have decided to do it via a monetary donation. These players never ask for anything in return so in my opinion, if we can collect a sum of money to give back to them for their decades of answering their fanmail, I think it’s a good way to show our appreciation.

Q: When’s the next campaign start? What critierion are you using to choose another retiree? Who are some of the names in consideration?

A: I think I am going to get the next campaign started in Spring 2012. I am careful that I don’t want to go back to the proverbial “well” too often with the collectors I am in contact with on SCN. We did the Virgil Trucks one around July 4th 2011, and then Bill Monbouquette just before Christmas so I think I will put the call out around April 2012 for the next recipient to anticipate sending him a check around June 2012. I know collector’s money is tight so I don’t want to constantly be out there asking for donations from my fellow collectors.

The criterion I look for is someone who is a TTM Hall of Famer and who doesn’t seem to do paid appearances too often. Basically I’m looking for a player who responds to nearly all of his fan mail in a timely manner and asks for nothing in return. Trucks and Monbouquette are all prime examples of who I like to organize donations for.

Some names that have been kicked around for the next donation campaign have been Bobby Doerr, Carl Erskine, Dick Groat or George Altman. Nothing has been decided though yet.”

Anyone wanting to assist Michael in his next hobby thank-you campaign for a signer (or to thank HIM for being such a great hobby ambassador), write him at


Bill Monbouquette keeps dazzling collectors. When presented with an $80 check from Michael and his cohorts, Bill added $20 and donated it all to Toys for Tots. He told of honoring his U.S. Marine son with the gift. Once a team player, always a team player!


Boston Bill Monbouquette’s Career Confession

Same Great Sig, Same Humor!

Beloved Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette has faced challenges bigger than any hitter of late. Diagnosed with leukemia, he underwent a bone marrow transplant. He’s endured, maintaining a healthy sense of humor.

I looked at his career stats, namely his 78 complete games and 18 shutouts. I noted he was an “inning eater.” How did he carry such a workload? Before answering, Monbouquette agreed with me. I felt like Agatha Christie, getting the butler to say that he did it.

“Yes, I was an inning eater.

“I threw every day. Wanted that stiffness out of my body.”

He learned about pitching through one of the world’s greatest hitters: Ted Williams.

“Loved talking to Ted about baseball. ‘Pitch ahead. Make the hitter hit your pitch.'”

How popular was the hurler? Check out the song he inspired!

Submarining with Pitcher Dick Hyde

Where have all the submariners gone? Those awesome pitchers from down under?

Nope, not a ’60s folk song. Just me. I couldn’t help but get sentimental looking at an action photo of reliever Dick Hyde. Looking sneaky-smart in those ever-present glasses, Hyde’s motion was almost accidental, an adaptation to injury!
He wrote:

“It came naturally after I hurt my arm pitching in the Army.”

Hyde’s career year came in 1958. He posted 18 saves, a 1.75 ERA and a 10-3 record. How?

“My pitching coach, ‘Boom Boom’ Beck, did a lot of teaching about my mechanics. I also added a change-up with better control overall.”

I teased Hyde, noting that he retired with a perfect record: as a BASE-STEALER. Sheer perfection in his only career attempt. He confessed, explaining:

“I got a hit off of Billy Monbouquette. Then he must have forgotten me on first base and wound up, so I took off and there was no throw. The rule has changed now so that wouldn’t be a stolen base nowdays.”

Both 1958 and 1960 Topps cards show Hyde more sidearming. I’ve seen him look more like a bowler, his knuckles near scraping the mound. How low can you go?

From 1962: Now Pitching (and Hitting), Ray Rippelmeyer!

Nearly 50 years later, what would you remember most: the great day at the lake, or “the one that got away”?

Pitcher Ray Rippelmeyer debuted April 14, 1962. His visiting Senators faced disaster. The Indians teed off on starter Claude Osteen. While toiling for just one out, Osteen surrendered five hits, a walk and six earned runs.

Newcomer Rippelmeyer responded with 5.2 innings of scoreless relief. Washington’s rally wasn’t enough, resulting in a 6-4 outcome.

Yes, first-ever games can yield fun memories. I pored over box scores and found a more intriguing game to investigate: May 3, 1962, at D.C. Stadium versus the Boston Red Sox. Here’s Rippelmeyer’s recap:

“That day in early May was one I’ll never forget. It was an afternoon game and I didn’t even think I would pitch as I had warmed up seven times the night before and never got in the game. My arm was weary. In the second inning, Claude Osteen got into trouble and I was called in the game with the bases loaded and two outs to face the “Yaz.” I got him on a ground ball to short to keep the score at 3-0 Boston.

I hit my home run my first at bat and then held them scoreless until I batted again and hit a line drive to left field off of Mombo’s (Bill Monbouquette)curveball.

I couldn’t believe George Case gave me the steal sign. I took off and Jim King hit a line drive over my head into right center and I went to third and Case is waving me home. I ended up scoring on a IBH to right with a big slide at the plate.

I shouldn’t have even been hitting as I was dead tired and I got in trouble the next inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Eddie Bressoud, shortstop, hit a ball off the end of the bat between first and second that hardly made the outfield grass. Two runs scored and I was so angry I overthrew the next couple pitches to get Pete Runnels out, but had hurt my arm and I wasn’t the same the rest of the year.

I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to play in the major league. Even if it was only a short time. I had a good playing career and won over 100 games in AA and AAA ball in a period of 10 years. I stayed in the game and coached for a long time. I just finally retired after the 2007 season for good. I spent the last 14 years with the Mets.

For a farm boy that went to a small high school of 125 in Valmeyer, Illinois and never played in any organized games until I got into high school, I got farther than I even had hoped. I’m 77 now and I still relive my games in the majors and many big day I had in the minors.”

Thanks to SportsCardDatabase for the card image. Every collector should know about this invaluable resource.