Hank

My favorite baseball player as a kid was Hank Sauer – left fielder for the (then) hapless Chicago Cubs.  I tried – desperately – to get his autograph.   My dad would take me to Wrigley Field and I’d gallop down the steps to troll for autographs.  I remember one day Hank was walking a few feet away.  I screamed at him “Hank!  Hank!  Mister Sauer!”  He looked at me like I was a 9 year old lunatic.  And walked on. . . . . 

Some years ago, I had an article published which talked about Hank and how I was never able to get his autograph.  Someone read the article and sent me a note that Hank was living in Milbrea, California.   The address was included.  Sooooo, I sent him a letter – including a copy of the article. And I mentioned that I was his biggest fan in the world.  A few weeks later, I arrived at my office one morning and there was a package on my desk.  In the corner was a return address sticker shaped like a baseball.   Between the stitching, it said “Hank Sauer.”  My eyes filled with tears and I opened the package.  Inside was a large album full of original pictures of Hank (a few signed), original baseball cards and. . . .  a priceless handwritten sentiment – “To Scott – my best Chicago fan.”   

Hank passed away in August 2001.  But I will always relish the fact that I “hit the high note” in my autograph collecting career.  It wasn’t a George Washington letter.  Or Henry VIII.  I got Hank Sauer. . . . 

Temperature Rising

(Same subject – same month – different year.  My post of 10/15/2015)

When I was a kid, I had major Cubs fever. But I gave up on the Chicago Cubs years ago. And that put the kibosh on baseball altogether. I can honestly say that I have not watched or listened to a single baseball game in years. I have not watched a single inning of baseball save when I would get my hair cut and some game would be on the tube. If that happened, I would turn away from the screen. And watch the hair fall from my head.

The Cubs have been such a disappointment that I have not been able to bear the thought of them. In the last few seasons – Scout’s Honor – I could not name one player on the roster.

On Wednesday, October 7th, that changed. A resurrection if you will. The Cubs were up against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a one game, winner-take-all playoff. It was a 7:08 pm starting time. Why 7:08? Think military time. 1908. The last time the Cubs. . . . Anyway, I thought what can it hurt. So I had dinner, headed upstairs, piled pillows on the bed and turned on the t.v. Kicked back. And watched. And miracle of miracles. The Cubs won. Now, I have watched or listened to four games in a row. Last night the Cubs beat the Cards. And my temperature is rising. . . . .

So when the NL playoffs begin, I will watch. I am ready to be disappointed. But I will hope. And if the Cubs make it into the World Series, I will be watching. I have heard that Jack Brickhouse, Lou Boudreau, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Ron Santo, Jack Quinlan and Ernie Banks will have front row seats for all the games. Oh and my idol – Hank Sauer (see 8/2/11)? He’ll be in the Cubs dugout — ready to head to the outfield if needed. . . .

Temperature Rising

When I was a kid, I had major Cubs fever.  But I gave up on the Chicago Cubs years ago.  And that put the kibosh on baseball altogether.  I can honestly say that I have not watched or listened to a single baseball game in years.  I have not watched a single inning of baseball save when I would get my hair cut and some game would be on the tube.  If that happened, I would turn away from the screen.  And watch the hair fall from my head.  

The Cubs have been such a disappointment that I have not been able to bear the thought of them.  In the last few seasons – Scout’s Honor – I could not name one player on the roster.  

On Wednesday, October 7th, that changed.  A resurrection if you will.   The Cubs were up against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a one game, winner-take-all playoff.  It was a 7:08 pm starting time.  Why 7:08?  Think military time.  1908.  The last time the Cubs. . . .  Anyway, I thought what can it hurt.  So I had dinner, headed upstairs, piled pillows on the bed and turned on the t.v.  Kicked back.  And watched.  And miracle of miracles.  The Cubs won.  Now, I have watched or listened to four games in a row.  Last night the Cubs beat the Cards.  And my temperature is rising. . . . .

So when the NL playoffs begin, I will watch.  I am ready to be disappointed.  But I will hope.  And if the Cubs make it into the World Series, I will be watching.  I have heard that Jack Brickhouse, Lou Boudreau, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Ron Santo, Jack Quinlan and Ernie Banks will have front row seats for all the games.  Oh and my idol – Hank Sauer (see 8/2/11)?   He’ll be in the Cubs dugout — ready to head to the outfield if needed. . . .       

The Manuscript Society

I began collecting autographs at the ripe old age of 6.  My father would take me to Wrigley Field – home of the hapless Chicago Cubs.  He would settle into his grandstand seat with a hot dog and a beer and I would gallop down the concrete steps to troll for autographs from the likes of Hank Sauer (see post of August 2d).  

My autograph collecting has evolved to a point that — while I still have (and would never part with) my Hank Sauer autographs — I am focused on original handwritten letters and documents of Justices of the United States Supreme Court.   I have them all in some handwritten form.  Only two other private collectors have complete collections. 

One of the great resources for a collector of history in its handwritten form is The Manuscript Society (www.manuscript.org).  A thousand members – colleges, universities, libraries, collectors and dealers in 20 countries.   I’ve been a member since an old friend from the University of Iowa encouraged me to join.  I was President for 2 years.  It’s worth the price of admission ($65.00 a year).  We have made many friends through this great group and taken many trips for annual meetings (London, Washington, Dublin, Belfast, L.A., Seattle, next year Quebec).   If you have any interest in history, manuscripts, genealogy or antiquarian curiosities, check it out.  You will not be disappointed.      

Hank Sauer

My favorite baseball player as a kid was Hank Sauer – right fielder for the hapless Chicago Cubs.  I tried – desperately – to get his autograph when my dad would take me to Wrigley Field but the most I ever got was eye contact.  I was screaming at him “Hank!  Hank!  Mister Sauer!”  He looked me in the eye like I was a 9 year old lunatic. 

A few years ago, I wrote an article talking about Hank and how I never was able to get his autograph.  Someone read the article and sent me a note that Hank was living in Southern California.   The address was included.  Sooooo, I sent him a letter – including a copy of the article and talking about how I was his best fan in the world.  A few weeks later, I arrived at my office one morning and there was a package on my desk.  In the corner was a return address sticker shaped like a baseball.   Between the stitching, it said “Hank Sauer.”  My eyes filled with tears and I opened the package.  Inside was a large album full of original pictures of Hank, original baseball cards and. . . . several autographs – “To Scott – my best Chicago fan.”   

Hank passed away 10 years ago this month.  But I will always relish the fact that I “hit the high note” in my autograph collecting career.  I got Hank Sauer.