Thursday, January 28, 2021

Great Advice From A HOFer

When my son was young, between 6-9 years old, the question I asked of old-timers centered around advice for Tommy who was playing little league at the time, and for me as a dad of a little leaguer. I was surprised, and moved, how often these vets gave some genuine advice. Enos Slaughter was almost 81, and a HOFer for 12 years when he graciously responded to my request.

"Tommy, Get your educating first, work hard, listen to your coach, and try [to] learn the right way to play and keep practicing."

That's some great advice right there.

Correspondence received in February 1997.
Enos Slaughter passed away in 2002 at the age of 86.

St. Louis Cardinals (1938–1942, 1946–1953)
New York Yankees (1954–1955)
Kansas City Athletics (1955–1956)
New York Yankees (1956–1959)
Milwaukee Braves (1959)

Career highlights and awards:
10× All-Star (1941, 1942, 1946–1953)
4× World Series champion (1942, 1946, 1956, 1958)
NL RBI leader (1946)
St. Louis Cardinals No. 9 retired
St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame

Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (1985)

Batting average .300
Hits 2,383
Home runs 169
Runs batted in 1,304

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Bob Dillinger Does Not Like Questions

I love this response that I got from 86-year old Bob Dillinger. He longed for the old days of just scribbling his name on a piece of paper, and not having to fill out a short questionaire based on long ago memories.

Corresponence received in January 2004.
Bob Dillinger passed away November 7, 2009 (aged 91).

St. Louis Browns (1946–1949)
Philadelphia Athletics (1950)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1950–1951)
Chicago White Sox (1951)

All-Star (1949)
3× AL stolen base leader (1947–1949)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Bob Doerr, My First Signed HOF Plaque Postcard

In 1996 I made my second trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. One of my pickups from the giftshop was a set of HOF Plaque postcards (wish I would have thought of it during my first trip in 1992). The first postcard I sent out for an autograph was Bobby Doerr's who was always a very generous TTM signer.

I used to ask pretty generic questions back then, thought I'd make it easier on the player. These days I do a little more research and ask more specific questions.

I wrote to Mr. Doerr several times over the years, the correspondence directly above came with the plaque postcard in March 1997.
Bobby Doerr passed away November 13, 2017 (aged 99).

Boston Red Sox (1937–1944, 1946–1951)

9× All-Star (1941–1944, 1946–1948, 1950, 1951)
Boston Red Sox No. 1 retired
Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame (1986)

Saturday, January 16, 2021

One Page of Jack Paepke

This series will highlight "one page" at a time from my binder of correspondence and autographs from former Angels and Patriots players and personnel.

   Jack Paepke, Coach/Scout, Los Angeles/California Angels 1961-1966
Correspondence received September 2008.
Coach Paepke passed away November 7, 2014 (aged 92).

Minor Leaguer in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh systems (1941-1958)
Manager in Pittsburghs farm system (1953-1958)
Bullpen Coach Los Angeles/California Angels (1961–1966)
Angels and Expos Scout

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lonny Frey, A Typewriter, And Onion Paper

Years ago, when I started sending out correspondence to former players, I didn't have any vintage cards to send out for autographs, so I used index cards. I'd handwrite a note, ask a few questions and mail it off with a SASE. Often, the ballplayer, especially the older veterans, would include a little note, and a signed picture of their own. Every once in a while the player would take the time to write, or in this case, type, a more lengthy response.

Lonnie included the two signed photocopies of himself.

And like I said, he typed a very thoughtful response...on onion paper (he was 94 at the time!). If you dont know what onion paper is, it's what we used to use for typewritten letters: super thin, strong, but slightly translucent, making it a bit difficult to read sometimes, especially if your ink ribbon was starting to dry out.

Correspondence received in January, 2004.
Lonny Frey passed away September 13, 2009 (aged 99).

Brooklyn Dodgers (1933–1936)
Chicago Cubs (1937)
Cincinnati Reds (1938–1946)
Chicago Cubs (1947)
New York Yankees (1947–1948)
New York Giants (1948)

3× All-Star (1939, 1941, 1943)
2× World Series champion (1940, 1947)
NL stolen base leader (1940)
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame

Saturday, January 9, 2021

John Welaj Left Me His Number

It must have been in early 2003 when I read a short biography in the Star-Telegram about an old ballplayer named John Welaj, who was 88 at the time, spending his senior years in a nearby retirement home. After his playing days in the early 40's he had worked for the Senators, then Rangers, but I was relatively new to Texas then, and hadn't heard of him. At that time I was heavy into corresponding with the older veteran ballplayers and thought I'd reach out to him. I sent him a personal note, mentioning the newspaper article, and asked him a few questions about his life and career. He responded to my note, signed my index card and included a signed photo.

Correspondence reveived in March, 2003.
Mr. Welaj passed away shortly after this on September 13, 2003 (aged 89).

So cool that he sent me his phone number. I have a vague memory of calling him and talking briefly about his career. I think what he's referring to in the second sentance is that he was glad that I reached out to him, and showed interest in his life.

Washington Senators (1939-1941)
Philadelphia Athletics (1943)
Major league executive for the Senators and Texas Rangers (1957- )
Director of stadium operations for the Rangers (1973-1984)
Rangers' spring training director (1985-1999)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

One Page of John E. Olerud

 This series will highlight "one page" at a time from my binder of correspondence and autographs from former Angels and Patriots players and personnel.

This is not the Olerud you're probably thinking of, instead its his father who played for the Pacific Coast League Seattle Angels from 1965-1968.

   John Olerud C PCL Seattle Angels 1965-1968

Correspondence received November 2006.

Catcher in Angels, Cardinals, and Expos systems (1965-1971)

Monday, January 4, 2021

Where I'm Heading This Year

Last year may have been the death blow to me buying cards and ripping packs just for the fun of it. Money has been tight and packs have scarce at my local retailers. After coming back to blogging early last year, it's been a bit of a struggle keeping up interest in collecting and, therefore, keeping up with blogging about it.

I swore last year that I would keep up my 1995 Skybox Emotion blog, especially since I'm fairly close to finishing going through the set. But even that has petered out. Maybe this year?

I had a pretty good year trading, or at least, not one of my dryer years. And I received a lot of nice things in return. I'm still in for trading and receiving, but I'm kinda burned out blogging about it. I think I just need a little change to the routine.

Lately I've been a bit nostalgic about my binders of TTM correspondence, much of which I received prior to starting this blog, so I'm thinking of putting more of a focus on sharing that this year. And not just from former Angels as I have been doing with my "One Page" series. I have a lot of written responses and autographed items from non-Angels old-timers as well.

Anyhow, that's where I'm at.

Let's all have a great year.