Tracking Down Baseball’s Brothers

Do brothers have
similar autographs?

I heard it most recently from Dick Adams. A dream come true is one victory. Sharing that dream is sweeter still.

Someone who plays pro ball, then sees a brother achieve the same? That’s TV movie stuff!

For this week, I’ve sought out members of baseball families, including:

Sal Bando (heard from Chris)
Bud Daley
Pete Daley
Marcel Lachemann
Rene Lachemann
Joe Keough
Marty Keough
Darrell Sutherland
Gary Sutherland
Pat Underwood

Coming Thursday: Collecting baseball autographs by mail…a beginner’s guide.

Dick Adams Managed Joe DiMaggio!

If World War II wasn’t incredible enough…

Dick Adams, known as a first sacker with the 1947 Philadelphia Athletics, managed his Army base team. One fellow soldier was none other than Joe DiMaggio.

Adams remembered:

“Yes, I managed Joe DiMaggio in the Army, then played against him in 1947. I was with the Phila A’s. He was with the Yankees.

He was a very quiet person. Didn’t stay on the Base any longer than he had to. Went to Hollywood a lot. He always had gas tickets and tires.”

[The government rationed both in World War II.]

“His baseball skills were VERY GOOD (like always).”

Speaking of Hollywood, Adams has lived a movie-like existence.

First, he lived the major league dream with brother Bobby Adams. Did they talk about playing pro baseball as kids?

“About my brother and me: we went to a tryout camp in Berkeley, Calif. during Easter vacation, 1939. We slept in the car at night, ’cause we never had any $ for hotel rooms, and then we got a $200 bonus for signing (each of us $200).

We thought we were rich. That’s when we talked about playing in the Major Leagues. He had a much longer career in the ‘show’ (14 years) and ended up with the Cubs.

Baseball today is not like it was in my time! Too much $ nowadays. No team play. All ‘me, me, me’ for $ and long-term contracts.”

Although he’s been gone from the diamond for decades, Adams never left the keyboard. A professional pianist beginning at age 13, he keeps sharing his musical gifts today.

“I just returned from playing a luncheon for old, bold pilots — all WWII pilots. Even several German pilots who have become citizens of USA. Quite a nice occasion. By the way, I had four gigs this past week. I still play piano. Big Band music. WWII stuff.”

To learn more of Adams in World War II (and his life after baseball) check out the always-fine “Baseball In Wartime.”

Coming Friday: Fan and collector Kohei Nirengi, championing America’s Pastime in Japan.



Writing to Dodger Pitcher Carl Erskine: Time To Thank This Tireless Autograph All-Star

Often willing to provide answers to
anything fans ask, Erskine even
adds a signed gift to most replies!

What’s right about the autograph hobby?

Yesterday, I indulged in a rubber-stamping rant. Today, equal time is required.

There are still kind, grateful men from baseball’s past. They aren’t all from the 1940s and ’50s. I discovered a heart-warming story about Giants pitcher Phil Nastu (1978-80) going above and beyond to fulfill a TTM autograph request. I’m hoping to salute him, getting details of why he’d be so dedicated to an unknown collector.

Other names on the latest batch of envelopes launched from BBTL-land:

Bobby Doerr
Boo Ferriss
Carl Erskine

I wanted to send a standing ovation to each of these three signers, too. Each of these men have decades of autograph heroics on Mr. Nastu. Along with saying thanks, I’ve just wanted to ask about their fan mail volume, why they keep delighting everyone who writes, and what we can do to thank them.

I saw on that Bob Wiesler and Fred Caligiuri had answered questions for other collectors.

I gasped at the lengthy post-baseball musical career of Dick Adams, a member of the 1947 Philadelphia Athletics. Likewise, I’m stunned at the many charity initiatives of Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel. I wanted to find out how baseball has inspired each.

I found a recent newspaper profile of pitcher Turk Wendell. I wanted to make sure he had a copy. Also, I’m hoping he’ll explain a couple of his mystical comments from that feature.

Lastly, I realized that former Angels and A’s manager Bobby Winkles may have grown up in the shadow of a Hall of Famer. I’m seeking details.

There’s the game plan behind my latest batch of fan mail. Stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, I hope you find as many reasons to add names to your want list.

Thursday: Inspiration from Japan.

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