Friday, September 24, 2010

Unpossible Autograph Friday-Bob Avila & Other Cards from Russell

Recently one of my favorite Orioles autograph trade partners, Russell, got in touch with me about a trade we started discussing months ago but didn't make much progress on at the time. Once he emailed me this time, we didn't waste any time in working out a trade. This isn't my first trade with Russell, and we always seem to follow a similar model; I trade him current O's autographs and he sends me older and harder to get autographs. It works well for both of us, so I hope we can work out another trade down the road.

Since this is "Unpossible Autograph Friday",  I will start out by showing off the unpossible autograph that Russell traded to me. 

Bobby Avila was one of the first great Mexican players to play in the Major Leagues. While with the Indians in 1954, he became the first Latino player to win a batting title when he posted a .341 average. Over his 11 season MLB career, he was also a 3x All-Star, led the A.L. with 11 triples in 1952, and appeared on the MVP ballot three times, highlighted when he came in third behind Yogi Berra and Larry Doby in '54. 

He played his first 10 seasons with the Indians before being passed around from the Orioles to the Red Sox and then on to the Twins in his final big league season. He only appeared in 20 games for the O's in 1959 before they put him on waivers, so I'm glad that he was featured on a Topps card as an O. 

Before and after his MLB career, Bobby played in the Mexican Leagues, and after he officially retired following the 1960 season, he became President of the Veracruz Eagles team and then took over as President of the entire Mexican League. His leadership skills carried over to politics and he was later elected as the Mayor of Veracruz.

He was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 and passed away from diabetes in 2004. RIP Bobby.

Next up is Eddie Robinson. Eddie had a long and pretty accomplished career in baseball, both on the field and in several front office positions. He got his first taste of the Bigs in 1942, followed by an unexplained three season absence that I can only guess was due to being drafted into service for WWII.  Eddie returned to baseball in 1946 and played through the 1957 season with seven of the eight American League clubs in existence at the time; the Orioles were the last team of three teams he played for in 1957, and he only made it into four games for the club. I'm just glad that his Crown card was able to use a picture of him in an Orioles uniform for the set. Earlier in his career, he played on four All-Star teams and appeared on the MVP ballot three times. He was also a member of the 1948 World Series Champion Cleveland Indians; to date, that's the last time the Indians won the World Series. 

After Eddie's playing career ended, he started his work behind the scenes in baseball by becoming the field director for the O's in 1961. Over the next 35 years, he worked in player development for five different organizations and rose to become the General Manager of the Braves from 1973-76 and Rangers from 1977-82. 

Foster Castleman played the last of his five professional seasons for the O's in 1958 when he appeared in 98 games, 91 of them at shortstop, but only hit .170 on the year. His first four seasons were with the New York Giants, although he only an everyday player in 1956.

Jesse pitched in 1,252 games over his 24 season career that spanned four decades. I'm pretty sure that he broke that record for pitching appearances at some point during his 5 seasons with the O's from 1995-99 because I believe that there is a plaque commemorating the feat in the O's bullpen at Camden Yards. He is probably best remembered for his time with the Mets at the start of his career. During his 8 seasons in New York, he was a closer for the 1986 World Series Championship team, elected to two All-Star teams and received Cy Young and MVP votes for his 1983 season. He also won a World Series with the '88 Dodgers and pitched for nine different teams during his career.

Russell also threw in an orange uni autograph of Jim Palmer. You all know about Jim, so I probably couldn't tell you anything that Jim hasn't already told you. He was great, maybe the best pitcher ever (he is definitely the best O's ever had), etc...

Here's an autograph index card of Werner "Babe" Birrer.  Babe used to be good at signing TTM requests, but hasn't signed recently.  Over the past year or so, I've sent him two requests at two different addresses, so I hope that I get one back some day. 

Finally, here is an autograph index card of Leo Burke.  I won't say too much about Leo right now because I should have another post about him coming soon.

Thanks for the awesome trade Russell!  I hope that you are as happy with your cards as I am with mine.


kasliwi said...

I have a picture of the Orosco plaque in the bullpen. I'll scan it and e-mail it to you.

Orioles Magic said...