Cleveland Indian Don Dillard Offers Lesson

More than one collector has solved the riddle of Don Dillard, who played for the Indians and Braves from 1959 to 1965.

For several years, collectors received rubber-stamped “autographs” in reply. However, those asking questions about his career have been getting his actual shaky signature, too.
Recently, a family member has been helping with correspondence, adding the explanation that Mr. Dillard had a stroke in 2010.
Don’t assume that the rubber-stamped facsimile response is done in spite by an angry retiree. In their eyes, a non-response would be worse than their signature equivalent.
A suggestion? Try adding, in your own words, a request to the tune of:
“These are the only cards I have of you, cards from my personal collection. If you are unable to autograph these yourself for any reason, I will be grateful to have them returned blank, happy that you read my letter.”

Billy Moran Was Saved By (L.A.) Angels!

Can your signature stay the same
for 50 years? Moran has an
all-star autograph!

Infielder Billy Moran impressed me. When I asked about three moments in his career, he recapped the whole career. And why not? Telling the whole story lets someone fully comprehend how high the highs (or how low the lows) really were.

Moran replied:

“My life in baseball had many ups and downs.

Cleveland never really gave me a chance to play regularly. I almost quit pro baseball twice. Once in 1961 when Cleveland did sell my contract to the Toronto Maple Leafs (AAA). I began the ’61 season with Toronto and made the All-Star team at shortstop. Toronto sold my contract to the expansion Angels in June, 1961.

My good break!

I played 160 games for the Los Angeles Angels in 1962 and had my greatest year. I was the first AL’er to hit a home run in Chavez Ravine. I was the first Angel to get a hit in an All-Star game! I had 186 hits, that was the most hits in a season by an Angel for 15 years! Someone tied me with 186 hits and that was the most for 10 years longer!

In 1963, I led the American League for second basemen in putouts and assists.

I was traded back to Cleveland in 1964. I did not play very much. I would have quit at the end of 1964, but I needed 13 days to get my vesting in the pension plan.

I was with Cleveland in 1965 and only had 25 AB’s for the year.

Billy Moran
ALAS – 1962″

Yes, it was only an abbreviation. He was an all-star. But his four letters make a real word with a real meaning.

Alas, Billy Moran, 1962 came and went so quickly.

Tomorrow: Run, you 1958 Yankees! Ted Bowsfield is coming!!!

Johnny Goryl Salutes Billy Martin

Want proof that Johnny Goryl was a team player? Ask him about hitting four homers in one week (July, 1963), commemorated by Many players can recite their career stats by heart, including individual highlights.

Goryl, meanwhile, replies…

“I never knew I did that. I know that my best season in the M.L. was with the Twins.”

Speaking of the Twins, Goryl served on the coaching staff of new manager Billy Martin. How was the fiery skipper as a boss?

“Billy M. was great to work for. He did a terrific job that season, taking us to the A.L. Division Playoffs, only to be swept by Baltimore. We lost the first two games by 1 run and then got beat badly in the 3rd game in the best of 5 series.”

Goryl’s closing paragraph impressed me most:

“I am going to enter my 60th year in professional baseball next season, an accomplishment I am very proud of. I have numerous wonderful memories over the years and have seen a lot of great players in that time. I feel privileged to have been able to be a small part of the game and to be on the field with so many great players.

Thanks for remembering me, Tom,

Johnny Goryl”

See Goryl discuss his career and the future Cleveland Indians in a 2009 video