Cub Roe Skidmore Knows 1971 Topps

Friends Kyle and
Tyler Smego
scored Skidmore
in 2012. See his
answers to their
letter at their
swell site,
“The Autograph Addict.”

Roe Skidmore made that one career hit as a Chicago Cub count.

Topps deemed him worthy of inclusion in the next year’s set.

Card #121, “1971 Rookie Stars CUBS,” pictures Skidmore below pitcher Jim Dunegan.

More than 40 years later, what does he see on that card?

Skidmore replied:

“The 1971 Topps picture was actually taken in spring training at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona.

To this day, I receive approximately 2 to 3 dozen cards per week from collectors to autograph. Still feels good that people remember me.”

Coming Thursday: An Illinois native playing for the Cubs!

1958 ChiSox Pitcher Hal Trosky Jr. Amazed

I got the father, never the son.

Hal Trosky Jr. has died at age 76.

The obituary stated that he pitched in only two games in his major league career. Breaking in with the 1958 White Sox wouldn’t have been easy, winning over manager Al Lopez.

The senior Trosky was a 1930s Cleveland Indians home run machine.

I met the famous dad at a card show in Cedar Rapids. I got his signature on a baseball, then proclaimed, “Did you know there are 108 stitches on a baseball?”

Hal Sr. shrugged and grinned. “All I know is that I wanted to hit every one of them!”

I could see the years melt off his face as he said that.

According to www.sportscollectors.net, the younger Trosky batted a thousand with collectors. That is, of the 16 recorded attempts to get his autograph by mail, he delivered every time. Although he was never seen on a Topps card, he had copies of a photo to send.

Most amazingly, collectors who mentioned Trosky’s dad would get a cancelled check from Hal Trosky Sr.(deceased in 1979). An authenticated autograph from a baseball great who had died more than 30 years prior.

Kudos to Kyle Smego at The Autograph Addict for saluting this overlooked Iowan.

Don Mincher’s Autograph Legacy

Rejoining his old team…

Slugging Don Mincher died Sunday at age 73.

How will he be remembered? There’s lots of choices:

  • 1965 A.L. champion Minnesota Twin
  • 1969 Seattle Pilots all-star
  • Minor league mogul…including Huntsville Stars owner and Southern League president

I might add something else to the list: autograph admission fee pioneer.

I scoured the success board on www.sportscollectors.net. Since 2002, Mincher was charging a fee for his autograph by mail. He started out working through a broker, a fan mail clearinghouse. Soon, he was handling his own mail. A shrewd businessman, Mincher must have learned that it wasn’t that tough to keep all the profit.

Reading the results more closely, I see that Mincher was willing to add notations such as “1969 Seattle Pilots.” Several people, such as my friends at www.autographaddict.com, got questions answered.

I’m guessing that Mincher may have given freely to anyone buying a ticket to his Huntsville Stars. Likewise, I think he wasn’t selling individual autographs as much as he was judging the sincerity of each request.

The late Phil Rizzuto was famous for doing this. The check would be returned with a “No Charge!” announcement penned by The Scooter. He’d include an extended personalized inscription (seeing how many words would fit atop a Hall of Fame plaque postcard).

Not that Mincher sent out freebies. Nevertheless, he was one of a breed of autograph signers who seemed to use the fee as a bouncer and velvet rope. The request for money lessens the fan mail load while scaring off casual collectors.

Thanks to men like Mincher, I ask two questions about signing policies: how much and WHY.

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