Sharing The Thrill of Will Clark

Behind these autographs are great memories.
(Photo courtesy of Roger “Super RC” Chen)

If you liked him on Youtube, you’ll love him here.

I can’t say it often enough. I want the word MEMORY in all my memorabilia.

Roger Chen gets that. He tells about his face-to-face encounter with Will Clark in the debut of his new blog “Golden Gate Graphing.”

Check out his uplifting tale. I’m hoping he shares many more.

Coming Friday: Legendary pitcher and personality Steve Dalkowski’s untold story.

San Francisco Giant Phil Nastu Wows A Hobbyist

Nastu has been a faithful
autograph signer for 30-plus years!

Remember Mike “Tiger Nut” Micho? He’s shining the spotlight on one of the greatest responses I’ve ever imagined recorded by a collector.

As first shared on, Mike relayed this fascinating story:

“Earlier this month I sent 2 cards to former Giants pitcher Phil Nastu. After nearly a month, I wondered if I`d get them back again, as usually he signs and returns cards quickly.Well, what I received back in the mail yesterday just floored me.

It seems Mr. Nastu had signed the cards quickly and had sent them back out a few weeks ago. However, the Postal Service had totally destroyed the envelope (it was ripped in half) and the cards.This pile of waste was returned to Mr. Nastu as he had placed a return address sticker on the envelope.What he did for me was unbelievable!

I received this huge white envelope in the mail yesterday, addressed from him.When I opened it, he had wrote me a short note explaining what happened. It read:

‘Michael, I received these cards I signed for you back from the Post Office. They were destroyed, so I replaced them for you. I searched the web for your correct name and address from the letter you sent me. Hopefully, I`ve sent these to the right person, since I couldn`t read the full name. If not, I tried my best. Phil’

I was shocked that he cared enough to replace the cards, search the web for my name and addy, and send everything back to me (including the destroyed cards and envelope).

He is for sure going to receive a Thank You card from me for this one! Thanks so much Mr. Nastu.”

I wrote a note of thanks to Phil Nastu, too. Hey, everyone should. When one collector wins, the hobby wins. Amazingly, I found that Mike’s story had another side…

Coming Friday: Phil Nastu replies, explaining his amazing kindness.

Giants Broadcaster Russ Hodges Gave Lon Simmons The Birthday Gift Of History in 1960

Gone are the days of season highlights LPs. The awesome
website preserved this one.
To learn more about the two Giants broadcast icons,
start with this sensational site, part of the
California Historical Radio Society!

Lon Simmons not only announced the first-ever San Francisco Giants game, he did it with a legendary voice at his side.

Russ Hodges is remembered for shouting “The Giants Win The Pennant!” after Bobby Thomson’s 1951 miracle home run. It seems we should be remembering Mr. Hodges for a whole lot more.
Simmons recalled:

“I was blessed to work with Russ Hodges on the Giants broadcasts from the start in 1958 until he passed in 1972.

He was a great broadcaster and a wonderful friend. Destiny was very special to bring him and major league baseball into my life.

A true story of generosity by a fellow announcer came on my birthday in 1960, when Russ gave me the chance to finish the broadcast as Juan Marichal flirted with a no-hitter in his first major league start. Unfortunately, Clay Dalrymple got a pinch-hit single for the only hit.

Russ said he wanted me to get a chance to announce my first no-hitter and that was his birthday gift to me. No other announcer would ever do that, but it is something I have always remembered and during my later years, was able to give some younger announcers and equal opportunity.”

Coming Monday: Lon Simmons shatters a Wikipedia myth.

Giants, A’s Broadcaster Lon Simmons Downplays Hall Of Fame Status As Ford Frick Winner

Thankfully, the ghost
of Frick hasn’t put
an asterisk by
Simmons’ name!

Any Bay Area baseball fans will recall his calls. He’s the voice that beckoned Giants and Athletics followers. He’s Lon Simmons.

In an amazing reply of blunt humility, the acclaimed broadcaster questioned his 2004 Frick Award honor from the Baseball Hall of Fame. He wrote:

“I did not and do not feel I deserved to be inducted into Cooperstown. But it was the first year fans were allowed a vote in the process. Bay Area fans cast enough votes for me to join the final ten and it didn’t take a great number of votes from the committee to give me the honor.”

Simmons did accept the award. He recalled the ceremony:

“I was overwhelmed by the fact that there were fifty Hall of Famers at the ceremony, most of whom I was privileged to speak about and with in my time with the Giants and A’s. Also a good friend from my years with the A’s — Dennis Eckersley — was inducted in the same ceremony.”

Didn’t make it to Cooperstown that year? Relive the glory courtesy of the Bay Area Radio Museum, offering a replay of Simmons’ acceptance speech!

Coming Friday: Simmons salutes Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges!

Bud Harrelson: ‘I Always Wanted the Mets.’

Good luck finding
a ‘Derrel’ autograph

Did Bud Harrelson want to play for the San Francisco Giants? I quoted to him from The Ballplayers, a 1990 reference book.

“Harrelson grew up in California wanting to play for the Giants, who rejected him as too small.”

This was repeated in a thorough SABR biography.

I asked for details. Who did the rejecting? How? His reply was fascinating:

“The Giants never scouted me. I always wanted the Mets.”

The Ballplayers did point out one epic week in Harrelson’s career. In the same week in late 1966, he secured Met wins against the Giants and Pirates with dramatic steals of home. The losses dashed pennant hopes for both clubs.

Why don’t we see more steals of home today?

“The old-time pitchers had a longer wind-up.”

Harrelson learned to switch-hit after struggling to hit his weight in 1965.

“Casey Stengel encouraged me. I wanted to play every day, right and left.”

I enjoyed discovering the Ultimate Mets Database entry for Harrelson. Be sure to check out the fan memories section, too.

Tomorrow: Revisit Yankee Stadium, circa 1964, with Roger Repoz