Since we are having our carpets cleaned I have some free time so I figured I would update my recent returns.
The first one I will talk about is the great Virgil Trucks. I have to first send my best wishes to Mr. Trucks as I have read that he took a fall and is in the hospital. I received my items from him a couple of days prior this. I really hope he is ok. He truly seems like a really nice man and I am not saying that just because he signed for me. I have sent to him before but I had to send to him again because I found this cool artwork greeting card of him. It is on fineartamerica.com It is an artist rendition of him on the mound and you can put whatever you want on the inside. I put his name and major accomplishments. He signed it on the inside. I thought it was an unique item to get signed and included an extra copy for him. I also had him sign a Ronnie Joyner bio-illustration. Mr. Trucks wrote me a letter back and in it stated how much he enjoys peoples interest in his career. I included a donation to his church.
Another return was from Bill Stein. I remember watching him play for the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers. I always liked his baseball cards because in a lot of them he is smiling. He just seemed to be a nice guy and that he enjoyed playing baseball. One of the best is his 83 donruss where he is in the process of fielding a grounder (or it could have been posed) and he is smiling. I asked him what his favorite memory is and he said playing against Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. His favorite place to play was Fenway Park. His former head coach at Southern Illinois Joe Lutz had the biggest impact on his career. I also asked if he collected baseball cards growing up and he said that he did.
I also received a return from Jack Faszholz a former pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals and Rochestor Red Wings. I read about Mr. Faszholz on the blog baseball interactions. He is a great story. He had a great career in the minor leagues and due to the time period and circumstances never really got a great chance in the majors. I think he would have had multiple chances if he played in today's game. He set the record for all-time wins for the Red Wings. The fact that I thought was so cool was that he struck out both Jimmie Foxx and Mickey Mantle. There are probably not too many people who can say that. Ultimately he had to make a choice between staying in baseball and pursuing his other passion-the church. During his playing days he was also studying to become a minister. He chose to leave baseball and work for the church. He said that although his career was basically in the minor leagues-it's great to look back to competing with players who later ended up in the Hall of Fame. He also played a season with his brother Gene and he said that it was the most enjoyable season of any he played. They both had good seasons. Brother Gene played every inning of every game in 154 game season. He thinks his brothers numbers would have been better if he had been given some days off. His favorite biblical passage is Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by the grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of your own doing, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD - not because of works lest any man should boast." In addition to signing for me, he sent along copies of newspaper articles for the games he struck out Foxx and Mantle.
I turned 40 last week so I have started to do a collection of autographs of players from 1972. I was looking for players that had done something on the day of my birth or during that year. One player I sent to was Denis Menke. (Side Note: one of my peeves with today's game is all the strikeouts!!) On my birthday he walked 4 times in a nine inning game and this was the second time he had done that in a month (no intentional walks in either game). The high for the year was 5 and those were in extra inning games and included at least one intentional walk. I thought that was cool and then I come to find out while researching his career that he was born the same day as me (July 21st). He signed a custom photo for me. Another player that I received was Bill Stoneman who threw a no hitter in 1972 (also had one earlier in his career). He signed the same custom photo card for me. Mr. Stoneman also was the general manager for the Angels and helped build the team that won the World Series over the San Francisco Giants.