Friday, July 29, 2011
Unpossible Autograph Friday- Bob "Tex" Nelson
He was known as the "Babe Ruth of Texas" in his younger days but never was able to find much success at the Major League level, at least partially because of the "bonus baby" rules that were in effect in those days. As far as I understand it, players who signed for large amount of money (who would've been first round type picks today) were forced to spend two full seasons on that team's Major League roster immediately after they signed. The rule was a precursor to the amateur draft and was intended to prevent any one team from stockpiling too much young talent. Overall, it seems that the rule stunted many players' careers, as it did for Bob, because it forced kids just out of high school to immediately compete against established big leaguers. Generally, they were overmatched from the beginning and many never recovered.
Brooks Robinson gave Tex his nickname and it not-surprisingly came about because Bob was from Texas. It's nice to see that baseball players' nicknaming skills have "progressed" all the way to taking someone's first initial and first three letters of their last name and running with it. But you can't argue that B-Nel is better than Tex.
After hanging up his spikes in 1961, Bob worked for 30 years in the trucking industry. He spent his spare time as a Boy Scout troop leader and was a member of "The Vocal Majority", a regionally famous barbershop quartet. His obituary says that "he especially loved having a beer or two while watching baseball on TV!" Sounds like he was my kind of guy, RIP Tex.