Friday, May 20, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Howie Fox, My Favorite Wedding Present

As one of my few family members or friends, besides my wonderful wife, who understands my autograph collecting ways, my dad has happily supported my hobby since I was a little kid. He would take me early to games to try to get autographs and I remember waiting with him for hours after an Orioles game in the 2131 era Cal autograph lines inside Camden Yards more than once .
So it's fitting that someone who understands me and my collection so well was the one who added such an important piece to the puzzle. My dad's wedding gift to me, among other things, was this AMAZING Howie Fox autograph.

Howie, along with Tom Gastall whose autograph I tracked down over the winter, were honestly two guys' autographs who I thought I would never obtain when I started my project. Both have been dead over 50 years, and the likelihood of adding their autographs to my collection just seemed too remote. Well, now I've scratched them both off of my want list and I couldn't be happier. I've also learned that a few other deceased former Orioles' autographs might be even harder to track down than these two, but I'm not going to let that take away from this milestone.

Fox pitched in the Major Leagues for nine seasons between 1944-54 with the Reds, Phillies and Orioles, spending seven of his nine seasons in Cincinnati before single season stints in Philadelphia and Baltimore at the end of his career. It's possible that Howie would have pitched a few more years in the Majors, but his life was cut tragically short in October 1955. I've read conflicting accounts about the events leading up to his death, but it's a fact that he was stabbed to death in a Texas bar. Some accounts state that he was involved in a fight while others say he owned the bar and was trying to throw out some trouble-makers when things took a bad turn. Either way, Howie was only 34 when he died of his injuries from that day.

The fact that he died almost 56 years ago makes his autograph rather hard to track down, as you might imagine. But since he did pitch in the Majors for almost ten seasons, there are a few of them floating around, but they aren't cheap. Fox was included in the 1954 Topps set as an Oriole, so theoretically there might be a signed copy of that somewhere, but I doubt I will ever see one.

One of my favorite parts of this postcard, besides the autograph of course, is the back of it. I don't know how well you can see it in the scan but it's outstanding.  From the two cent "stamped" stamp featuring Benjamin Franklin, to the August 21, 1954 postmark, to the plea of "Don't Wait Join Civil Defense Now", looking at this is like stepping back in time. And I applaud the forward thinking Jim Davidson for putting together this Orioles postcard so that I could eventually add it to my collection.


zman40 said...

That is pretty cool. Congrats!

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

Thanks Zach