Auction features treasure trove of hand-written baseball questionnaires

Want to talk about all-stars? Don't forget the SABR members who are devoted to getting 125,000 baseball player questionnaires digitized and shared online!
Want to talk about all-stars? Don’t forget the SABR members who are devoted to getting 125,000 baseball player questionnaires digitized and shared online!

A standing O for Rich Mueller, editor of SportsCollectorsDaily.com.

With Sports Collectors Daily, he’s giving proof that “baseball by the letters” can build a one-of-a-kind collection.

Hand-written questionnaires from baseball legends. What could be better?

Consider what the profits from the All-Star game auction will get used for.

Hunt Auctions promises that 100 percent of the net proceeds will go towards the digitization of the questionnaires. The San Diego Baseball Research Center housed at the San Diego Public Library will host the collection of nearly 125,000 questionnaires assembled by historian Bill Weiss in seven decades. Imagine being able to view all of these online, for free. Sigh…

Meanwhile, each of us can only dream of full mailboxes with even a fraction of Weiss’s successes. Keep sending those baseball letters, and swing for the fences!

 

 

 

The Mystery of Milwaukee Brave Johnny Logan

1954 Bowman

From baseball address king Harvey Meiselman comes news of an autograph fee.

Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan wants $5 (cash) per signature by mail.

Logan is 85 years old. He’s been a fast, dependable signer by mail beforehand. The stats on http://www.sportscollectors.net/ are stunning — 273 successes in 280 requests. Why demand money now?

Illness could be an explanation. However, I see another possibility.

Virtually all the responses came in just 1-2 weeks. Logan seems like a same-day signer. Is that because he’s seen signing autographs as more of a duty than an enjoyment?

I think signing has become a chore for Logan. Being paid for “work” makes the situation tolerable.
Some retirees wonder if they truly matter to today’s collectors, many of whom weren’t born when the player last competed. I hope this isn’t Logan’s case, too.

For a great profile of Johnny Logan, check out this feature by acclaimed Braves historian Bob Buege on the SABR Bio Project website. Bob was the source who confirmed that Johnny fudged his birthdate by one year.

Pitcher Dennis Bennett Ponders The Past

Bennett maintains that trademark
autograph, showcased by a
reverse slant much like
Willie Stargell’s.

Pitcher Dennis Bennett never got a do-over.

He was a key hurler for the 1964 Phillies, winning 12 games for the team who seemed destined for a pennant until the last weeks of the season.

He summed up his career with great emotion, writing:

“Just being in the Big Leagues was my biggest thrill. Seeing and playing with the greatest players in the world.


My career was cut short by a car wreck. But I made the most out of a bad deal. With today’s technology, I would probably still be pitching.


I was one of the young and coming star(s) of the year.


It’s hard to say where I might have ended my career without getting hurt. They said I had the makings of a superstar. Oh, well. At least I got to play the game I loved for 17 years.


It could of been.


Dennis Bennett”

Read more about Bennett’s roller-coaster career ride in the fine SABR biography written by Mark Amour.

Coming Tuesday: In part 2, Bennett shares fond memories of Johnny Podres and Gene Mauch.

Brownie Babe Martin Compares Two Homers

For years, Martin has signed
with both names for this card!

Boris “Babe” Martin proved my theory.

If you want to get a rise out of a former player, go deep.

Getting deep is another story. I’m talking long-balls, dingers…homers!

Martin had two in his career. He wrote:

Homer off Allen Gettel was a home run right on the line and off the handle of my bat, only about 295 feet.

Homer #2 was really a long one in left center field just ot the left of the bullpen, and I would say close to 400 feet. I forgot the name of the pitcher. Thanks for asking.

Sincerely,
Babe Martin”

Thankfully, http://www.retrosheet.org/ remembers. Good job, guys! Martin connected off Hank Borowy, who won 21 games that year. Both homers were off Yankee hurlers in Yankee Stadium in 1945.

Enjoy this superb SABR biography of Martin by noted researcher Bill Nowlin.

Pitcher Barney Schultz Mixed It Up With Milwaukee Braves Hitters in 1961

Schultz endured the “Take your
cap off, in case you get traded”
pose request from Topps

Barney Schultz is a man with honor.

I delighted in the http://www.retrosheet.org/ find of his 1961 relief outing against the Braves. He fanned SIX Milwaukee hitters in 2.1 innings. I envisioned a smirking knuckleballer watching hitters pull their hair out after each strikeout. Over and over, he’d throw the same fluttering butterfly pitch, knowing they’d never touch it — even when they knew what was coming.

Maybe not. Schultz answered:

“No, not all knucklers. I used fastball and curve at times.”

The next year, Schultz recorded a then-record ninth straight relief appearances.

History remembers Schultz most for his 1964 heroics with the St. Louis Cardinals. Schultz recalled the team skipper:

“Johnny Keane was a fine man — a good manager and knew how to get the best out of his players. Yes, he did believe in me. I played for Keane about four years. In the triple A Leagues, he used me mainly as a starter, but a lot as a game saver at times.


Yours in sports,
Barney Schultz

P.S. Excuse my writing. I’m recovering from back surgery and mostly in a prone position.”

To learn more about Schultz, check out this fine SABR biography by John Stahl!

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