Tuesday, February 1, 2011

These are a few of my favorite baseball things #1 - Autographed photos

Thorzul wrote a post a couple of weeks ago where he detailed a story of how a co-worker brought in some baseball cards of her husband's for Thorzul to value. He found that most of the cards were worthless, a story well known to those of us still interested in baseball memorabilia and were avid collectors in the era of over-produced cards (late eighties, early nineties).

His story reminded me of my own similar situation which had a happier ending. But I get ahead of myself.

Although my baseball collecting is 95%+ limited to baseball books nowadays, throughout my life, I have picked up items here or there that were of interest to me. I thought it might be fun to share (and maybe encourage others to share their stuff too) some things in my collection that I especially enjoy for one reason or another. My plan is to post one of these at the end of each month (I think I can up with a dozen themes).

As you can tell from the title, this month is my autographed photo collection. I have a huge autographed photo collection of three. Autographed cards, definitely more. Photos, not so much.

I wrote about the nearest and dearest to me, my Dave Righetti photo, in this post. It hangs on the wall on the left-side of a window in my library. On the right-hand side hangs the photo of Mr. Max Manning, the great Negro Leagues pitcher (southpaw pitcher on the left, right-hander on the right. Makes sense, right?):

I acquired this photo from the above-mentioned similar situation. A co-worker asked me if I would look at memorabilia that her ex-husband and deceased son had gathered over the years. I told her I would be happy to do so. She brought in the stuff and it was comprised of two things. One, mass-produced cards from the eighties and nineties, much of it rubber-banded as Thorzul said he found his co-worker's stuff. Absolutely nothing of value. The other thing was a pair of binders filled with autographed photos. Apparently, they would hit card shows frequently and get signed photos. All sports, the majority of them Philadelphia and Pittsburgh players. Lots of big names; Schmidt, Ashburn, Roberts, Franco Harris, Lambert, just too many to even remember. But I was most jazzed about Manning. From what I know of the Negro Leagues, I think he is possibly the most under-appreciated player there was.

When I brought everything back into work, I told my co-worker that I really liked the Manning photo and would love to purchase it from her. She said she'd talk it over with her husband. She came in the next day, said that it was clear I would appreciate it and that they would love to give it to me. So I'm very grateful for that.

The last autographed photo I own does not hang anywhere. It is an old black-and-white photo taken at spring training in Sarasota, Florida in the 1940's or fifties. My ex-wife's father grew up in Sarasota and his Dad owned a sporting goods store. The Red Sox players would come visit and hang out at the store. The ex's Dad would go out to spring training. They'd take photos. My ex and I were just engaged when her Dad gave me two photos, one each of the Red Sox middle infield during that era, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr.

A little later I was in San Diego for a SABR convention where the keynote speaker was none other than Bobby Doerr. I caught up with him and asked him if he would sign the photo. He couldn't get over that a whipper-snapper like me had such a photo, asked about it and I told him the story.

It is a small photo and has become a little warped over the decades. I have kept it in a Total Baseball to keep it flat. I should probably come up with something better. But here's that photo:

So there you have it, my autographed photo collection and the history behind all three.


Mark A. said...

Sweet. Part of what makes the photos so special are the stories that go with them.

Thanks for sharing.

Mad Guru said...

Glad you liked it. I don't want this feature to be a "Look at what I spent money on" type of thing. I certainly have stuff like that but I want to focus on either the good acquisition stories or the reasons for my having specific items.