Former Chicago White Sox General Manager Roland Hemond Honors Hall Of Famer Bill Veeck

The Charleston River Dogs minor
league team gave the first 1,000
fans at their 7/19 game this
amazing bobblehead. Credit son
(and team president) Mike Veeck
for the creation, marking the year his
dad would be 100 years old!

Roland Hemond should write the Hall of Fame plaques. I asked him about his one-time boss, Chicago White Sox team owner Bill Veeck. I’m moved by his tribute that he was so kind to share with a fan.


“Bill Veeck was the most incredible person I have met,” he wrote. “Bill suffered war-time injuries that led him to 36 operations over his lifetime. Yet, he never complained. But I’m sure he was in pain on a day-to-day basis.

“He was highly intelligent, creative, extremely well read, a visionary, daring, creative, loved people of all races, and awaked the others that baseball is a great game. But, on-field promotions could enhance the popularity of the game with joy for people of all ages and draw them to the parks and to return whenever possible.

“I cannot do him justice in a short letter.”

Nor I for you, Mr. Hemond!

Who’ll Be Next Non-Player in Baseball Hall of Fame? A Scout, Perhaps?

Pat Gillick gave me hope for the future regarding the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Would more front office wizards be honored? I think Atlanta’s John Schuerholz will have a spot in Cooperstown, someday.
Someday may not come too soon.
Or will it?
I asked Roland Hemond in a letter his feelings. After winning the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, I hoped the distinguished GM might see a different HOF future. One that might even welcome scouts?
In 2013, he sent this most kind reply:
“This coming May 3-5, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will open an exhibit, “Diamond Dreams,” which will include scout reports from scouts that they submitted to their respective organizations. This exhibit will have a section of “who signed who” from way back. 
I hesitate to list my preference of naming my first inductee, as I want to do justice by awaiting the tabulations and making a very careful study.”
Meanwhile, enjoy one of the best bios of Hemond I’ve ever found, crafted by noted baseball historian Bill Nowlin. 
Coming Thursday: Remembering Bill Veeck

Pondering HOFer Pat Gillick

Don’t wait for
Cooperstown to
give you permission
to write to
front office heroes!

I was delighted with Pat Gillick’s detailed response he sent me in 2011.

He speculated on future baseball executives who could join him as Hall of Fame members.

Since hearing from Pat, I haven’t focused enough on baseball’s history makers in the front office.

Just today, I sent a letter to Roland Hemond. I heard him speak nearly 25 years ago at an American Legion World Series. After the speech, he told me that his philosophy as a general manager was to trade players one year too soon. He wanted to see that both teams got something worthwhile in a deal. He seemed like a kind, insightful man.

Cross your fingers for me.

“The Autograph Card” Guys Provide Arizona Fall League ‘Graphing Update

Interaction.

It comes with a good letter. For in-person autographing, fast and hectic becomes the norm. Good luck hearing anything more than a “here” or “thanks” from the signer.

I love how “The Autograph Card” products allow us to collect anyone’s autograph. That opens doors to conversations. Here’s an attractive, affordable item that anyone would love to sign.

The pair behind the idea do more than sell. They collect. They use it all the time. Here’s proof:

Thanks to Brian Flam for these 2013 AFL insights.

“When Graphing the AFL my #1 tip is also my top advice for all minor league graphing: Keep your eyes open! Some of my best Graphs over the last 10+ years graphing the AFL have come in the stands. The fact that many former players still work in the game in some for (Coaches, Scouts, Agents) along with the amount of former players who live in the area mean you never know who will be in the stands out in Arizona! This year we were fortunate enough to ink Rickey Henderson while he was watching the A’s prospects. We had seen him several times over the last few years, and we finally hit a day where he decided to pick up a pen.
 
But Rickey is an extreme case, there are many lesser known players (both Major and Minor League) in the stands at all AFL games. Especially if a player is related to a major leaguer keep an eye out for there relative, as we’ve seen many Fathers watching there children over the years. Some notable Fathers have been to watch games in recent years (Roger Clemens, Carney Lansford, Kevin Romine) some ‘big names, and some ‘not so big’.

Tom Lasorda, Dave Stewart, Eric Davis, and even Jenny Finch (Watching her husband pitch) have been spotted at AFL games.

Along with never knowing who you’ll see at a game, I can work in a plug: I always carry blank signature cards! This year my two favorite signature cards I had signed were: Richie Shaffer, Tampa Bay Rays #1 draft pick this past June. He didn’t have many ‘mainstream’ cards out (his lone card is a 2008 Team USA U-16 card shared with two other players). He was not only nice enough to sign for all that asked, he took the time to talk to each person, and came off as very genuine. Another of my favorites was Roland Hemond, he was the first recipient of the ‘Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement’ Award given by the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
 
It might be too late for Santa, so do it yourself. Refill your stockings with some gems from The Autograph Card.
 
Coming Friday: Collecting Ford Frick winners.

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