Predicting Chris Sale’s next surprise

From 2011. (Photo credit: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)
From 2011. (Photo credit: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine piles of confetti everywhere in the White Sox clubhouse.

Wait. Those are tiny, slivered baseball cards. And bits of sliced-up envelopes.

First, the throwback jerseys came under attack.

What if a volatile hurler protests all the fan mail, too? It could happen, so hide the scissors!

At last count, the always-amazing success scoreboard showed 49 recorded by-mail successes from Chris Sale out of 163 tries. However, the last recorded response came in 2015.

If you hear from the pitcher this year, hope that your autograph comes back in one piece.


Chicago White Sox ‘selfie Sunday’ sparks questions

whitesoxselfieThe White Sox host the Mariners Aug. 30. The first 500 fans to buy a “special” ticket (at $25 or $30) get to take selfies with players and coaches walking along the warning track.

Selfie Sunday. Hmmm…

I see online that some in-person collectors like selfies as a way of authenticating the autograph they just landed.

My questions:

1. Has anyone had luck getting your selfie autographed at a later date?

2. If you had to choose only one, would you rather ask for an autograph or a selfie?

Former Chicago White Sox General Manager Roland Hemond Honors Hall Of Famer Bill Veeck

The Charleston River Dogs minor
league team gave the first 1,000
fans at their 7/19 game this
amazing bobblehead. Credit son
(and team president) Mike Veeck
for the creation, marking the year his
dad would be 100 years old!

Roland Hemond should write the Hall of Fame plaques. I asked him about his one-time boss, Chicago White Sox team owner Bill Veeck. I’m moved by his tribute that he was so kind to share with a fan.

“Bill Veeck was the most incredible person I have met,” he wrote. “Bill suffered war-time injuries that led him to 36 operations over his lifetime. Yet, he never complained. But I’m sure he was in pain on a day-to-day basis.

“He was highly intelligent, creative, extremely well read, a visionary, daring, creative, loved people of all races, and awaked the others that baseball is a great game. But, on-field promotions could enhance the popularity of the game with joy for people of all ages and draw them to the parks and to return whenever possible.

“I cannot do him justice in a short letter.”

Nor I for you, Mr. Hemond!

1958 ChiSox Pitcher Hal Trosky Jr. Amazed

I got the father, never the son.

Hal Trosky Jr. has died at age 76.

The obituary stated that he pitched in only two games in his major league career. Breaking in with the 1958 White Sox wouldn’t have been easy, winning over manager Al Lopez.

The senior Trosky was a 1930s Cleveland Indians home run machine.

I met the famous dad at a card show in Cedar Rapids. I got his signature on a baseball, then proclaimed, “Did you know there are 108 stitches on a baseball?”

Hal Sr. shrugged and grinned. “All I know is that I wanted to hit every one of them!”

I could see the years melt off his face as he said that.

According to, the younger Trosky batted a thousand with collectors. That is, of the 16 recorded attempts to get his autograph by mail, he delivered every time. Although he was never seen on a Topps card, he had copies of a photo to send.

Most amazingly, collectors who mentioned Trosky’s dad would get a cancelled check from Hal Trosky Sr.(deceased in 1979). An authenticated autograph from a baseball great who had died more than 30 years prior.

Kudos to Kyle Smego at The Autograph Addict for saluting this overlooked Iowan.

“The Baseball Hall of Shame” Reopens With “The Best of Blooperstown” — Strange, But True FUN!

One cool fact: 86-year-old
sports artist Jack Davis,
illustrator of previous editions,
came out of retirement
to adorn this cover, too!

Major League Baseball can laugh at itself!

Authors Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo are back again. (Take that, Simon and Garfunkel!) The pair have revived their “Baseball Hall of Fame” series with a fifth title called The Best of Blooperstown.

This offbeat book combines a “best of” format, while adding 40 percent new stories.

In tales as recent as 2011, the five newest inductees include Orlando Hudson, Denard Span, John Lindsey, Lastings Milledge and Chris Coughlan.

My favorite tales? Nash and Zullo uncover a pair of gems for autograph collectors. Once, Will McEnany substituted his uniformed twin brother in the Pirates bullpen. Not only did he fool skipper Chuck Tanner, the reliever’s kin signed autographs for fans. Talk about a rare variation to collect?

Also, readers discover why outfielder Al Smith once signed autographs only for fans who claimed to have the same last name.

This book is fun reading for a full nine innings. Each story may run one or two pages. Read it during the commercial breaks for your next televised baseball game viewing.

Best of all, the infamous wrong-doers in this book share a laugh with the authors. There’s no denials or finger-pointing over what went wrong on the field. I could imagine the highlighted subjects signing autographs for a collector who wrote them about their diamond misdeeds. The players seem to appreciate the recognition. After all, they won’t be forgotten, as long as Nash and Zullo are the keepers of the game’s hilarious history. I’m glad they’re back and on my bookshelf again.

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