How Does 1960 Yankee Hal Stowe Really Feel?

I imagined Topps having
the scenic background
posters, like the
discount photographers use!

“It’s not you, it’s me…”

How many times have you heard that on a TV show or movie? I’m surprised more autograph collectors don’t hear that from more retired players.

Pitcher Hal Stowe was a kid when his life changed. Ask anyone who says they were perfect and mature at age 23, making all the right decisions, and I’ll bet that puppet’s wooden nose might be growing.

Stowe began his pro career in 1959. In 1960, after reeling off a dozen straight wins, he got his promotion to the bigs. Stowe shut down the Red Sox in one September relief outing. In 1961, after an impressive spring training, legend has it that a dispute developed between the pitcher and manager Ralph Houk. Banished to the bench for an entire season, Stowe’s demotion to AAA proved to be a career ender.
Stowe penned on my letter

“To Tom, My Best to you and God bless

Hal Stowe, Yankees ’60”

However, his answers were terse:

I asked if he saw the Red Sox as just another foe or a special rival before his debut.

“Yes”

(Indicating that the opponents were just that.)

Being with the legendary Yankee personalities, I wondered if he’d have roommate tales. Who were his roomies, and what adventures did they have?

“Robin Roberts, Phil Linz, Clete Boyer”

Phil Linz?!? Did Stowe like harmonica music better than Yogi Berra would?

Lastly, I hoped to get a comment about the 1962 Topps cards. Check out the background. I guessed it was a minor league setting or spring training. Trees like that growing in Yankee Stadium?!? Most of all, I asked Stowe how he felt (or feels today) seeing that card.

Stowe answered with two question marks. Nothing more.

The lesson I take from Stowe’s response? Even 50 years later, disappointment may not disappear. If you don’t get a response from your letter, if a question is ignored or a card isn’t autographed, don’t take it personally. We’ll never truly know how it felt then to be a major leaguer…or how it feels today.

(Kudos to Historic Baseball for pointing out Stowe’s enduring fame at Clemson University, where he pitched stellar college ball.)

Tomorrow: Run, Jim Kaat! Max Alvis is coming!!!

Pitcher Moe Savransky Savored the 1954 Reds

Moe Savransky squeezed a lifetime of memories out of a one-year major league career. Don’t think Savransky pitched “only” for the 1954 Reds. His recollections could rival any all-star. Savransky wrote:

“In 1948, when I signed with Cincinnati, I signed a major league contract and traveled with the Reds until July 5th and then went to a minor league team to end of the 1948 season. I went to spring every year with the Reds and did well in spring training but in those years they didn’t bring us young up so fast. They preferred for us to get more minor league experience. In 1951. I came up to the Reds from Buffalo in the International League ‘triple A’ after our season was over. They called a cup of coffee. I was in the Army in 1953 (Korean war) and returned to Reds in spring training 1954 and had a great record and was notified when we were heading north to Cincy that I made the team by Gabe Paul the GM and Birdie Tebbetts the mgr. Of course, I was elated. In the day the Reds always played a day before any other (as they were the first big league team). Opening day was exciting and I was in the bullpen.



“When I played amateur ball, I played first base and outfield, as I was a good hitter. In ‘A’ Ball in Sally League I hit .325. The hitting champ hit .326. At Buffalo Bisons AAA I hit .278. At the Reds in 1954, I hit .500, 1 for 2. I could’ve been 2-for-2. I hit a shot to left center in front of the scoreboard. The left fielder was playing out of position in left center and caught the ball. My hit I got off Milwaukee pitcher was Gene Conley. A pretty good right-hander. (Incidentally, also played pro basketball, 6-foot-9).

The out that was caught was off a Hall of Fame pitcher, Robin Roberts of the Phillies, recently passed away. If you look it up, I scored more runs than at-bats, because I was fast. Tebbetts used me for a pinch-runner and scored a couple of times.”

Concerning my Sally League days in 1950, I was 15 wins. I had four shutouts in a row: a 4-hit shutout, 2-hit shutout, a NO-HIT shutout on July Fourth and one-hit shutout. My manager, Gee Gee Walker (ex-major league outfielder) wanted the Reds to bring me up. I was 19 years old. Head scout Pat Patterson said no, he’s young. Let him get more experience.

“My most exciting game I came in relief was against the Philadelphia Phillies. Robin Roberts was pitcher for the Phillies in Philly. The pitch he threw was to Bobby Adams (3rd base). Adams hit in the upper in left field. Roberts proceeded to retire the next 27 batters. I came into the game in the fifth inning. We trailed 3-1. I faced nine hitters, got all of them and left the game for a pinch-hitter. The final score was 3 to 1. It was a thrill to be a part of historical game.”

Moe’s recall of the game isn’t exact. The fine fellows at http://www.retrosheet.org/ fill in the gaps with their accounts of the Reds-Phils matchup. What’s important to remember is that baseball still has Moes, the men who relish every inning they were given. Make the most of their experiences, while they’re still here.

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