Ask Babe: Autograph hounds on hunt after no-hitters – Today’s News
Ask Babe: Autograph hounds on hunt after no-hitters
Scripps Howard News Service
What’s an autograph collector to do? Usually, it’s a no-brainer when it comes to adding signatures of players who pitch no-hitters or perfect games.
On June 13, Matt Cain tossed the 22nd perfecto in Major League Baseball history. That night the hunt began for a ball or card autographed by the San Francisco Giants pitcher.
The same pursuit is usually true following no-hitters. Johan Santana sent autograph collectors scurrying after he tossed the first no-no in New York Mets history a few weeks ago.
But the Seattle Mariners made things more complicated when no less than six hurlers combined to shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers (one of the better hitting teams) on June 9. It was the 10th combined no-hitter in Major League history and first since the Houston Astros did it in 2003.
What should a collector do?
“I would put them all on one baseball,” said Mike Breeden, a Sports Collectors Digest columnist and autograph expert. “Seems to be more interesting that way. Same with the Astros guys who did it a few years ago. The starter goes on sweet spot.”
“If it was mine, I would have the starter sign it,” said Mike Heffner, president of www.Lelands.com auction house in New York. “Six will take up too much space on the ball. Or I would have the starter and the closer sign it.”
Mike Gutierrez, consignment director for Heritage Auctions (www.ha.com), made a good point: “One ball with all sigs would be quite coveted and far more tough to collect.”
After all, who knows how long the Mariners pitchers will be around for those looking for autographs? The list is not exactly a “Who’s Who” of MLB hurlers.
Kevin Millwood, the starter, is 37 and probably near the end of his career. Tom Wilhelmsen the closer, is 29, but has been in the Majors for three seasons. Brandon League, 29, is the other veteran with a 17-26 record over eight-plus seasons. He does sport a nice 3.70 earned run average. Charlie Furbush is 26 and in his fourth season with a 7-11 record. Lucas Luetge, 25, and Stephen Pryor, 22, are both rookies.
For the record, Babe Ruth was part of the first combined no-no way back in June 1917. Ruth was one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball while with the Boston Red Sox. He was also short-tempered and had lots of trouble with umpires. The future New York Yankee slugger walked the Washington Senators’ first batter. His argument with the umpire over the calls escalated to the point that Ruth was ejected.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. Ernie Shore took over for Ruth. The man Ruth walked was quickly erased trying to steal. After that, Shore simply retired the next 26 Washington batters. Twenty-seven consecutive outs while he was on the mound — a perfect game. It was just that until MLB changed the scoring rules and downgraded his feat to a no-hitter.
The Astros used six pitchers — Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner — for their no-hitter on June 11, 2003, against the Yankees.
Dear Babe: We have a Coca-Cola beach towel autographed by Bill Walton. There is no date, but he addressed the signature to my wife, wishing her good luck. The towel is one that is a roll-and-tuck and has never been opened up or used.
– D.M., Temecula, Calif.
Babe: Had Walton been a beach volleyball star rather than a basketball Hall of Famer, there might be some interest in a signed towel. I checked with Mike Breeden, a Sports Collectors Digest columnist and autograph expert. As I suspected, the towel has little if any value outside of it being a nice conversation piece.
(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or email babewaxpak(at)charter.net.)(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com)
Bytes: 23,040 Word Count: 0673
Olympics ’08: Dwayne Wade’s Final Video Diary
For its 35th anniversary the San Francisco Decorator Showcase returned to the Classic Revival mansion on 2020 Jackson Street, which had also been the home of the 1991 showcase. The honey-colored brick structure overlooking the Bay was designed in 1902 by German-born architect Julius E. Krafft (1855-1937), and is being offered for $17.5 million (as of June 2012.) Our Claudia Juestel, of Adeeni Design, gives us a tour…