Orioles Pitching Prospect Eddie Gamboa Wows Collector

Collector Rich Hanson may baffle some of you.

I spotted this gem at
The Great Orioles
Autograph Project blog.
Check out Ryan’s cool,
never-ending chase to
collect every O in history!

Some might think he gives more than he gets. He stays busy summers by photographing minor leaguers, then sending 2 prints, one for them with the request for the other one to be autographed and returned in the SASE. Yes, some keep both and never reply.

What about making a double-sided 8-by-10 laminated collage of someone’s highlights, saving clippings, box scores and other details? Such hustle can bring awesome results. Look at what the effort brought this enterprising hobbyist. Rich recapped:

“Eddie Gamboa signed the double-sided 8×10 that I put together about him and the no-hitter that he pitched.  Not only that, but he wrote a note on a large piece of white cardboard thanking me for writing to him and saying that now I have the card from the no-hitter.  Not certain what he meant, I opened up the cardboard that he had folded and wrote on the back of, and discovered that he had sent me his team’s line-up card from the day of the no-hitter that he had pitched.  Wow!  If I had done something like that(pithcing a no-hitter in AA ball), I’d hang on to that for the rest of my life.

“For him to send it to a fan as a “thank you” for writing to him, is really quite a gesture. I have written him a thank you note, offering it back to him if he reconsiders and wants to save it for his family, but the gesture was really something.  Very generous and totally unsought.  If he does not reconsider, it will certainly have a hallowed place in my collection.  Remember when you read about cheats like A-Rod and Ryan Braun, that there are guys like Eddie Gamboa out there too, guys who care about more than just themselves.”

Thank you for the sterling example, Mr. Hanson! Sure, you can count the misses. Except, when you connect like Rich does, who cares about the occasional out?

Pitcher Gary Kroll ‘Balks’ At Ump Jocko Conlan

Don’t believe everything you read.

Oops! I mean, don’t believe what you read ELSEWHERE.

In the book The Ballplayers, pitcher Gary Kroll suffers from a biased bio note:

“As a nervous ML rookie, however, he committed a league-leading four balks in just 24 innings.”

Hmmm…I wrote to Kroll, wanting his side of the story. He replied with some juicy insights, including:

“I was trying to use a move that Art Mahaffey used with great success, but it didn’t work too good for me. Jocko Conlan was one of the umps that called a balk on me.

I said, ‘Jocko, Drysdale (Don) uses the same move and you don’t call a balk on him.’

He said, ‘Yeah, but he does it faster.’

What!!! I think his name being Drysdale had something to do with him getting away with it.”

I noted Kroll beat future Hall of Famer on April 18, 1965. Before a home Shea Stadium crowd, Kroll yielded just four hits while getting two of his own. His memories?

“It was raining and I was better than Gaylord that day, even though he had Mays and McCovey on his team. he tried to bust a couple of fastballs by me and I turned them around.”

Kroll topped 300 strikeouts in one minor league season. He recalls his first K in the majors with an ironic footnote:

“Gordon Richardson with the Cardinals. The same Gordon Richardson that teamed up with me to no-hit the Pirates in the spring of ’65. Go to www.metsnohitters.com website.”

I closed my letter, stating:

“My ‘career’ ended in Little League. However, I can close my eyes and I’m back on the field again — like it was yesterday.”

Kroll wrote…

“I know what you mean. So do I!”

Thanks to www.retrosheet.org for the game account!

George "No-Hitter" Culver Recalls 1968


Pitcher George Culver’s major league career spanned from 1966-74. His moment of glory as a Reds hurler came on July 29, 1968. The right-hander twirled a no-hitter against Philadelphia, the team he concluded his career with.

The inning-by-inning results only hint at the drama, which included a pitcher who started the DAY with an upset stomach.

George showed his gratitude after the no-hitter, writing the home plate umpire Harry Wendlestedt a thank-you note!

Ironically, that same 1968 season, he led the league with 14 hit batsmen.

What did he remember about his no-hit batterymate? And, did batters start crowding the plate after his no-hit success?

Culver’s reply:

“Tom,

Thanks so much for your interest in my career.

1. The catcher is crucial to any pitcher in any game, good or bad. The reason Pat Corrales caught the no-hitter is because it was the second game of a doubleheader and Johnny Bench had caught the first game and needed a rest. They were both great defensive catcher and I enjoyed throwing to either of them. But because Bench was obviously the regular catcher, I ended up throwing more to him.

2. I wasn’t really wild by the main reason I led the league in hit batters was because I was known for having a pretty good slider. So right-handed hitters would get caught leaning out over the plate looking for a slider and would get hit with a fastball inside.”

Culver’s enduring fame is found at his grateful alma mater. He’s raised funds and awareness for the baseball program at Bakersfield College. He may be 66, but Culver never will be a guy to lean over the plate against.

George “No-Hitter” Culver Recalls 1968


Pitcher George Culver’s major league career spanned from 1966-74. His moment of glory as a Reds hurler came on July 29, 1968. The right-hander twirled a no-hitter against Philadelphia, the team he concluded his career with.

The inning-by-inning results only hint at the drama, which included a pitcher who started the DAY with an upset stomach.

George showed his gratitude after the no-hitter, writing the home plate umpire Harry Wendlestedt a thank-you note!

Ironically, that same 1968 season, he led the league with 14 hit batsmen.

What did he remember about his no-hit batterymate? And, did batters start crowding the plate after his no-hit success?

Culver’s reply:

“Tom,

Thanks so much for your interest in my career.

1. The catcher is crucial to any pitcher in any game, good or bad. The reason Pat Corrales caught the no-hitter is because it was the second game of a doubleheader and Johnny Bench had caught the first game and needed a rest. They were both great defensive catcher and I enjoyed throwing to either of them. But because Bench was obviously the regular catcher, I ended up throwing more to him.

2. I wasn’t really wild by the main reason I led the league in hit batters was because I was known for having a pretty good slider. So right-handed hitters would get caught leaning out over the plate looking for a slider and would get hit with a fastball inside.”

Culver’s enduring fame is found at his grateful alma mater. He’s raised funds and awareness for the baseball program at Bakersfield College. He may be 66, but Culver never will be a guy to lean over the plate against.

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