Pitcher Bobby Shantz, age 95, is sidelined temporarily as an autograph signer

Recently,  I enjoyed a chat with Bob’s wife Shirley Shantz.

1955 Bowman card of the Shantz brothers
Younger brother Bill, a catcher, got his own 1955 Bowman card. That card front read “W. Shantz,” referring to his full name of Wilmer.

The left-handed pitcher/husband fell in October, breaking his left elbow and hip.

Mrs. Shantz said the 1952 MVP is looking forward to returning home, but didn’t know when that date might be.

“His mail has been piling up since his injury,” she said. “It may take three weeks to a month until he can catch up and sign all that.” Mrs. Shantz mentioned that he keeps ahead of his mail, “…not wanting to let it sit around.”

I consulted www.sportscollectors.net, to see some Bobby Shantz autograph stats. More than 1,700 collectors had recorded TTM successes. The number of special requests he’s agreed to, such as including special inscriptions with his autograph, astounded me.

Of course, the most telling number was the average time of reply. For years, it seems that the norm for getting a Bobby Shantz reply is one week. At his age!

I asked which elbow was broken. She thought his left elbow and hip were the ones injured.

Then, his autograph-signing arm will need longer to mend?

“He’s always signed with his right hand,” Mrs. Shantz said.

Not sending autograph requests now should go without saying. However, I wanted to know if we could send get-well cards or even cards of thanks for the past autograph replies he’s sent to us.

“I’d rather that everyone hold off,” she said. “He has a mountain of mail to go through as it is. I don’t want him to have more waiting.”

I blogged about Shantz for the first time in 2010. I await good news on his recovery, which will be shared in this blog. He’s an autograph icon, the likes of which the hobby may not see again.