Pitcher Bobby Shantz Talks Autographs

Bobby Shantz mentioned his brother
in the great reply he provided!

I’m one lucky hobbyist.

I hit two jackpots with my latest reply from pitcher Bobby Shantz. I shared my first letter from Bobby on the blog back in 2010.

I wanted to know how he felt about autographs today, nearly a half century after leaving the mound.

He replied:

“Tom,

I get around 50 or 60 autographs [request letters] weekly.

Career wise, I suppose I’ve received thousands.”

On why he never stopped signing?

“I like to sign autographs because I’m happy they still remember me.”

Bobby was more than kind pointing out that I hadn’t remembered his career exactly. Too quickly, I referenced his hitting record, believing that his first HR was off Harry Byrd in 1954.

Oops!

“It was my brother Wilmer, who hit the home run off Harry Byrd, with the bases loaded, not me.

I did hit one home run off Allie Reynolds in Yankee Stadium. Allie later told me I was too damn little to him a home run. HA!

Thanks for the nice letter.

Bobby Shantz”

Thank you, Bobby. We will always remember you!

Coming Wednesday: Stay tuned Yankees fans for a book review of The Juju Rules!

‘Feel The History’ — Pitcher Dooley Womack Relives His Arrival In Yankee Stadium

His “D” still breaks
like a sharp curveball!

Pitcher Dooley Womack is like a superhero. Different name, different person.

For elementary-schooler me, I thought the name sounded like a movie star cowboy. When I found out he pitched for a team in Texas, it made even more sense.

I asked the hurler how he went from his birth name to DOOLEY. He replied:

“Horace Guy Womack is my given name. ‘Dooley’ is a nickname. When I reported to spring training in 1966, the reporters wanted to know which name I wanted to be called. I told them, ‘Dooley.’ I told them that Horace was a guy in a three-piece suite, dark horn-rimmed glasses, briefcase and umbrella. I’ve articles written about my name. In school I was Horace. In sports, I was Dooley.”

How did that spring training turn out, by the way? Womack added:

“When we left spring training, headed to New York, I was happy to have made the team after eight years in the minors. When we arrived at Yankee Stadium, instead of going in the clubhouse, I turned right, down the long tunnel to the dugout. I stood on the top stair and said, ‘I finally made it to the House That Ruth Built,’ whether it be for 30 days or longer.


The stadium was old, but you could feel the History.


Mantle’s 500th homer won the game for me. I pitched 3-1/3 innings in relief. Back then, we went as far as we could. I started the last triple play in the old stadium — Womack to Cox to Mantle. It lasted for 42 years, until last year in Oakland.”

Our friends at Baseball Almanac.com share this box score!

Coming Thursday: The record Womack helped set in Houston, along with the prize he did NOT receive.

Roger Repoz Salutes Mickey Mantle

Not Mantle.
Not Murcer.
Still grateful.

Outfielder Roger Repoz did his best to ignore the New York media. However, he couldn’t help but be thunderstruck by his new place of employment in 1964.

Did he remember his Yankee Stadium arrival? His letter confirmed that the impression still remains:

“I remember walking out on the field like it was yesterday. The facade hung out over the field.

It was like being in a canyon.”

Repoz couldn’t just be another outfield prospect. For New York scribes, he had to be a future Mickey Mantle. Who could survive such high expectations. He explained:

“I tried not to notice because there wasn’t going to be another Mantle. He was so good!”

Repoz flashed occasional Mantle-like power in his career. Two homers and six RBI versus the 1968 Tigers in one game. A 1971 grand slam against the mighty Orioles. Neither power display tops his list, though.

“My first major league hit was a home run off Steve Barber. I still have the ball.”

And http://www.retrosheet.org/ has the memory. Flash back to July, 1, 1965.

Tomorrow: one of the 1953 Yankees explains his Topps card of that year, then ponders Casey Stengel.

Bob Usher-ing In Home Run Memories


World War II veteran Bob Usher claimed 18 career homers over a decade of major league service (1946-57). The majority of his playing time came in a Reds uniform.

He swung for the fences in some classic ballparks, but had to play the outfield in one maze known as Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. Between the defensive challenges, did he remember details of any favorite round-trippers?

Usher wrote:

“Tom —

Playing left field with the sloping turf was a REAL chore.

Three (home runs) come to mind:

a) My First home run. Hit it off left-hander Woody Abernathy July 28, 1946 in the N.Y. Polo Grounds.

b) Hitting a home run in Yankee Stadium off Bobby Shantz in 1957.

c) Hitting a game-winning 12th-inning home run on Opening Day 1950 off Johnny Schmitz of the Cubs.

All the Best,
Bob Usher”

The order of details can be telling. Who, where or when? What facts would you deem most important from your baseball milestones?

%d bloggers like this: