Friday, September 7, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Les Moss, Oriole #26

Unfortunately, my weekly Unpossible Autograph feature has already returned after just a one week break. As I mentioned in my U.A. post two weeks ago, I had run out of autographs from Orioles who had passed away. That changed when Les Moss passed away on August 29; I didn't hear about his passing until early this week, so am playing catch up.

Les spent the better part of a half century playing, scouting, coaching, and/or managing around the game of baseball. He was chiefly a back-up catcher over the thirteen seasons he played in the Majors from 1946-58 and he spent time with the Red Sox, White Sox, and Orioles, but played most of his career for the St. Louis Browns. Overall, he appeared in 824 games and hit .247 with 63 homers. 

1954 was his only season in Baltimore and he became the 26th player to don the Orioles uniform in his Birdland debut on April 29, 1954. He played in 29 games for the Orioles before being traded to the White Sox in early June. This Orioles Crown card and a '54 Bowman are the only two cards that pictured Les as an Oriole during his short time in town.

After his playing career ended, Les stayed involved around the game of baseball in many different capacities, highlighted by short stints as the manager of the 1968 White Sox and 1979 Tigers. He also served as the pitching coach for the 1981 Cubs and filled that role for the Astros from 1982-89. He officially retired from baseball in 1995, over five decades after his professional career began with the 1942 Americus Pioneers in the Georgia-Florida League. 

By all indications, Les was a great TTM signer until late in his life. When I attempted to send him a request in 2009, I got this very nice letter back from his daughter, informing me of his health problems. I had hoped to upgrade my autograph to a personalized version but truly appreciate the time that Sandy took to write back to me and I was very sad to hear about Les's passing. 

Thanks for taking care of your fans for so many years, Les. Rest in peace, it sounds like you were a great man.

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: 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 not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

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