Friday, February 24, 2012

Unpossible Autograph- Bert Hamric, Oriole #125

(Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is a few pennies short of a dollar, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible.")   

I know that this is the second consecutive week that I've profiled Hamric as my unpossible autograph, but I feel like that's OK since he was the final player I needed for my collection. Also, last week's post was spent mostly talking about what this autograph meant to me and my "completed" collection. This week I will focus on Hamric, the player, not that there's too much to say.

Bert appeared in just ten games as a Major Leaguer; his first two appearances came with the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and the final eight came with the 1958 Orioles. Bert entered all ten of those games as either a pinch-hitter or runner, so he amassed just eight big league at-bats, and only one hit, a single. He made his Orioles debut on May 2, 1958, and became the 125th different player to suit up in a game for the Orioles.

While his time in the Majors was extremely brief, Bert played professional baseball from 1949-61, spending his first nine seasons in the Dodgers' farm system before bouncing between minor league clubs in the Orioles, Phillies, and Kansas City A's systems. He spent parts of the 1959-60 seasons playing for the Miami Marlins, then the O's AAA affiliate. (Hey, I knew that new team in South Florida sounded familiar!)

Bert was included in two of Topps' base sets; he was pictured in 1955 as a Dodger, and this 1958 card obviously shows him with the Orioles. I guess that it's possible that Bert had been considered some sort of prospect, but it's rather surprising that a guy who played so little in the Majors was included in two major Topps sets. It makes me wonder which players were passed over; I'm sure that many of them had longer, more successful careers or were bigger names than Bert Hamric.

Bert passed away in 1986, when he was only 58 years old. I think the reason his autograph was so hard for me to track down is due to the fact that he passed away relatively young, it was almost thirty years ago before the autograph and memorabilia market blew up, and he was a member of the very popular 1955 Dodgers' World Series Championship team. But now, his signed Orioles card is in my collection, and I will file it away with the 909 other Orioles, just where it belongs.

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