Chuck Estrada’s Favorite Autograph Request?

A 12-year-old collector got a smile and an
autograph from this face!

 In February, I wrote about then-PCL pitching coach Chuck Estrada brushing off collectors, challenging them to explain why they wanted HIS autograph.

I was thrilled to hear from Theo Gideon in Tacoma, Washington. His experience asking for an autograph produced a much different, happier result. Theo wrote:

“Around the same time that you encountered Chuck Estrada, I attended the Tacoma Tigers Baseball Camp For Kids.  Chuck was a part of the camp staff.  My father had in his possession for many years a (Spalding?) Chuck Estrada [endorsed signature model] baseball glove.  Upon hearing of Chuck’s involvement in the camp, my father asked if I would take the glove to the camp the next day and have Chuck sign it. 

As a 12 or so year-old kid, I was embarrassed of my father’s request.  Grudgingly I pulled the glove out of my bat bag. I explained to Mr. Estrada that my crazy dad had his glove for many years and had even restrung it, and asked if he would sign the glove.  

I was amazed to see the Chuck Estrada’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.  He walked around with the glove showing it off to all of the young Tiger’s players and staff members.  I believe he said to a group, “You see, there was a time when I was a big deal.  Look, I even had my own glove…”  He was smiling from ear to ear and carrying that glove around. 

Many of the Tacoma players laughed and joked with him about the glove.  I wasn’t quite sure if he was going to give it back.  But he did, and signed it multiple times. I will never forget how happy he seemed, knowing that someone still had his glove.  I guess I gave him a good ‘why’ in my pursuit of his autograph.

My father still has that glove today.”

You are an all-star among collectors, Theo. Thanks for sharing!

Coming Tuesday: Golden (anniversary) memories from Sal Durante, the fan who caught the immortal 1961 homer hit by Roger Maris.

Experiencing Chuck Estrada’s Brushback Pitch

I saw the same glare UP CLOSE!

“What do you guys do with all this s—?!?”

— Chuck Estrada

Years ago at a Tacoma PCL game, pitching coach Chuck Estrada growled this question to a group of adult collectors.

A couple just giggled. I just pulled back. One squeaked, “Collect it?”

One eyebrow arched. Estrada smirked. He stomped past.

Writing or in person, the WHY needs to be there in your “pitch” for an autograph. If you can’t say why you want that precise person, save your energy and stamps.

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