Pitcher Fred Gladding leaves the game at age 78

gladdingThe obituary ran this week. Fred Gladding, a wily reliever for the Tigers and Astros, gone at age 78.

The ever-dependable www.sportscollectors.net credited the hurler for a 97 percent response rate, answering more than 200 by-mail requests.

I landed Gladding when he was an Astro. He was willing to add a photo on request.

Never be shy about asking. Fred taught me that.

Check out an impressive video interview from Billy Staples with Gladding, conducted in 2013. See what we’re missing.

Pitcher Dooley Womack Helps Set Houston Team Mark; OTHER Teammates Rewarded

Still smiling, more
than 40 years later!

I knew Dooley Womack first from his 1969 Topps card. I knew him as an Astro.

In my letter, I confessed to Womack that I believed he was meant to play for a Texas team, having a cowboy-like name.

One of Womack’s best games in Houston was an eight-strikeout affair on April 24, 1969. Thanks to http://www.retrosheet.org/, here’s the details!

Even better, Womack supplied some color commentary of those Texas times, writing:

“The eight strikeouts against the Padres: my curveball was working great, [Padres struck out] mostly swinging. Managers do their thing about managing the game.

Also something not known: at Houston, Sunday afternoon game against the Giants. I went in for Denny LeMaster. Runners on, one run in.

I threw a double play, inning over. In the next innings, I threw 3 more double plays. Fred Gladding came in and 3 more double plays, for a total of seven double plays. A record.

Our manager Harry ‘The Hat’ Walker gave gold watches to all the infielders and catcher, with all 7’s on the face; Fred and I got nothing. But we have the memories.

Dooley Womack”

Coming Friday: Meet veteran ballhawk Zack Hample, author of The Baseball.

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