Monday, July 23, 2012
I received some other returns recently. I had sent two cards to Roland James which he returned signed. He was an excellent cornerback with the New England Patriots after an excellent career at the University of Tennessee. He was part of the Super Bowl team in 1985 that lost to the Chicago Bears. He said that going to the Super Bowl was his favorite memory and even though they didn't win, it taught him so much. I also asked him about the snow game against the Miami Dolphins where they plowed a clean spot for the winning field goal. He said it was a great win for the Pats and he believes that after the game Coach Shula said they would never come to New England that time of the season again. That is pretty funny. I asked him who had the greatest impact on his career and he said that it was his junior high football coach. He taught him so much about working through adversity and playing as a team. He still stays in contact with him. I love to hear things like that since I am a teacher and always hope that I have made a difference in my students' lives. The second return was from Ed Mickelson. I sent him a Ronnie Joyner bio-illustration. I really love these. He returned it signed as well as another photo. He sent me information about the book he wrote which I hope to purchase down the road. Mr. Mickelson got his first major league hit off of Warren Spahn (which he stated was his favorite memory). He was subbing for the great Stan Musial that day. Unfortunately he was blocked in St. Louis so he became kind of stuck in the minor leagues. He put up great numbers and if he would have played in today's era he would have had a lot more opportunities in the majors. A cool point of trivia is that he drove in the final run in St. Louis Browns history. I asked him about his time in Portland, Oregon in the minors. He said that he loved Portland and that it was a great town, great people, and great ballpark. He also said it was his favorite place to play. The last return I will talk about is Ed Mayer. I had read online how Mr. Mayer became a teacher after his baseball career so I knew that I needed to write him. He signed two photo customs (for a lack of a better term) and sent along a card and photo of his own. Mr. Mayer had very good numbers in his limited action. He sent along some information about his career and it was very cool reading. The HOFers he faced had a .210 batting average and all hitters he faced hit .209. He would have made a lot of money in today's game as a lefty reliever! He said that he is very happy-has a large family with five great-grandchildren, he and his wife travel a lot, and they are avid birders. He loved pitching in Wrigley Field-great fans, beautiful ballpark, interesting city. He said that Willie Mays is the best ballplayer that he ever saw. He could do everything. He said he was one of many pitchers that gave up a homer to Willie.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Since I am on a roll I will talk about two more returns that I received recently. Both are for my Oakland A's coffee table project. They were Harold Baines and Ron Hassey. Harold Baines was a great addition to the A's and is one of the best DHs in the history of the game. Personally I would like to see him get Hall of Fame consideration. It was great to watch him in person and on tv. He was a superb hitter. I got him through a private signing on sportscollectors.net. Ron Hassey was a catcher who became the personal catcher for Bob Welch and helped him win the Cy Young. Another note about him is that he caught two perfect games in his career- Len Barker and Dennis Martinez. That is pretty awesome. I sent to him in care of the New Orleans Zephyrs where he is the manager. These are great additions to my coffee table.
Hi again, I knew that I wouldn't be able to update this blog nightly but I thought that I would do better than what I have done. I was busy with my wife and two daughters, teaching, writing letters to expand my collection, and being lazy :). I have an idea about what I want to do going forward and we will see if I can do it LOL. I want to talk about what returns I have gotten as well as anything else I can think of. It will be similar I am sure to some of my favorite blogs like baseball by the letters, baseball interactions, baseball historian, etc. I love to read about players and their thoughts. There are so many great stories out there that I have never heard. I have been able to expand my collection with some great pieces because of the blogs mentioned above and sportscollectors.net. My first return that I will discuss is my most recent: Roy Gleason. Some of you probably know his story but some may be like me and don't. He was a young hot prospect with the Los Angeles Dodgers and received his major league debut in September of 1963. He was primarily used as a pinch runner and did receive one at bat. He doubled and would come around and score. His future looked bright but then he was drafted and went over to fight in Vietnam. While over there he was injured and received the purple heart. He returned the US hoping to return to the major leagues but it just wasn't meant to be. He ended his major league career with a 1.000 batting average. He signed a photo of a baseball and included a signed picture of himself from 1963. He also answered my questions. He was heavily recruited by the Red Sox who sent out Ted Williams to woo him. He said that they hung out, hit in the batting cages, went to a bbq, and talked some more. He said Ted Williams wrote him letters when he was over in Vietnam and that he still cherishes those letters today. I also asked him what it was like to put on the Dodgers uniform and he said that he felt professional and proud and that he felt like he belonged. Thanks for reading and hopefully I will do better in the future.