Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chris Potter reels in Dr. Mike Marshall for his March 22nd signings

Chris Potter, who was profiled earlier this year for his tremendous work traveling the country, tracking down retired players to offer autograph signings for fans and collectors, is about to embark on his next round of signings on March 22nd.

Potter's catch this trip is the reclusive Cy Young Award winner, Dr. Mike Marshall. While Marshall has made himself readily available to spread his knowledge about preventing pitching injuries, he has remained one of the most reluctant autograph signers in baseball.

This dates back to his playing days, as Marshall's his anti-autograph stance was detailed in a 1974 Sports Illustrated Article. "Marshall explained that he would willingly sign if the boys could show him that their autograph books also contained the signatures of their teachers and others who 'were really meaningful in their lives.'" Marshall defended his position by stating, "As an athlete, I am no one to be idolized. ... I will not perpetuate that hoax.  They say I don't like kids.  I think that refusing to sign autographs, I am giving the strongest demonstration that I really do like them.  I am looking beyond mere expediency to what is truly valuable in their lives." 

Whatever magic the leprechaun on Potter's site contains must have rubbed off of Dr. Marshall, as Potter has been able to get Marshall to agree to a signing fee, while pricey ($185 for baseball cards), is less than when Marshall did a rare signing with promoter Bill Cocoran a few years ago. For the hardcore collector, this is an opportunity to nab one of the toughest living signers in professional sports.

Potter's next signing trip also includes another tough autograph in former Milwaukee Brave Joey Jay, brothers Gaylord and Jim Perry, Choo Choo Coleman, Cy Young Award Winners Dean Chance, LaMarr Hoyt, Mike McCormick, Rookie of the Year Award Winners Alvin Dark, Ron Hansen, Gary Peters and Stan Bahnsen. He is offering signings with over 50 former players in total. 

Click here to view all of Potter's signings for his March trip. Items are due by March 22nd, 2012.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lloyd Hittle, 88, pitched for Washington Senators 1924-2012

 Lloyd Hittle, former pitcher for the Washington Senators, died March 3, 2012 in Lodi, Calif. He was 88.

Born February 21st, 1924 in Acampo, Hittle entered professional baseball with the Stockton Ports in 1946 upon returning from his service in World War II. In 2008, Hittle’s wife Bernice, who was assisting her husband with a phone interview due to his hearing loss, told his story of signing a professional contract.

“He had just got out of the service at Thanksgiving in 1945. He was pitching in Stockton and the catcher was Jack Hachett who played pro ball. He told him to go pitch batting practice for the Ports. He threw batting practice one day after work and they signed him up. That's how he started in professional baseball,” she said.

Click here to read the complete story of Hittle's professional career told by his wife, including eye-witness accounts of two of the most infamous brawls in Pacific Coast League history.