Pitcher Bud Byerly Teaches Me A Lesson!

Topps can thank Bill Rigney for the smile
on Bud’s face!

I first wrote about Bud Byerly July 13. I don’t know if the former pitcher ever coached. However, he re-taught me an important lesson with his response.

I included a blank page for Byerly’s response to my questions. The page was folded into thirds.

The top third was filled with writing. However, there was no signature. That’s nothing new. I’ve suspected that a few former players feel that I’d be hawking their responses for top dollar if an autograph was included. Somehow, I stopped reading at the fold.

At any rate, I prepared to put the unfolded full page flat into a file folder. There, Byerly included one extra answer.

“Bill Rigney helped me get a second chance.”

Rigney managed the Giants in 1959-60. I asked Byerly how he extended his career, battling back from repeated minor league stints.

Be prepared for surprises. In my envelope from Bob Sykes, I thought I had just his autograph on my returned letter.

Nope. On a piece of card stock 1 inch tall by 5-3/4 wide, he had typed out the words to the Bible verse Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This mini-bonus seemed wedged in the bottom crease of the envelope.

Byerly sent me more than one sentence, in a sense. Pages front to back, top to bottom. Envelopes shaken. Thanks to “Coach” Byerly, I’m double- and triple-checking everything. I don’t want to miss a word from baseball’s past.

Coming Friday: Meet Juan Rosales, the creator of the blog Baseball Interactions.

Two Shy Cardinals Sidestep Questions

Sykes has toned down
his “S,” but has the
same autograph today.

Welcome to Update Day!

For starters, I received three consolation prizes in my mailbox in the last week. Two pitchers and an outfielder were good for autographs only, not acknowledging questions I included.

Bob Sykes signed my letter, then included an autographed printout of his favorite Bible verse (Phil. 4:13).

Fellow hurler John Costello sent me an autographed Upper Deck card.

Brewer and Astro outfielder Wilbur Howard penned his flamboyant signature on my letter.

Each answered. That’s promising. I’m not suggesting the trio would never answer any questions. The only thing I learned is that I asked the wrong questions at the wrong time.


Thanks to all of you who sent positive feedback about my conversation with 1953 Yankee Steve Kraly.

Collector Andrew Scott sent scans of what he created for Kraly. Impressive! Check them out:

As more current and former players fear blank index cards, customs are a great alternative. Make your own collectible. Or, make friends with artistic hobbyists like Andrew.


Lastly, there’s hope for Cubs fans who haven’t gotten their copies of Ron Santo: A Perfect 10 yet. Did you miss my review? Here it is from June 17.

The nearest Iowa Walgreens store had copies on the counter, discounted from $24.95 to $14.95. I’ve heard that Jewel Foods has been carrying them at a sale price, too. It’s a book worth owning — and sharing!

Coming Wednesday: Teammate Joe Gibbon remembers Roberto Clemente.