Friday, January 13, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Frank Kellert

(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.") 

Finally, here is the third of the three autographs my dad gave me for Christmas. (I already showed off my Lou Jackson and George Brunet autographs.)

Frank Kellert was a member of the inaugural 1954 Orioles, having come east with the franchise from St. Louis where he played with the Browns in 1953. Frank appeared in only 10 games for the Orioles, all in September, and had seven hits, including two doubles, over 34 at-bats. He played in only 122 games over his four seasons in the Majors from 1953-56, and is best known and remembered for being a member of the World Series Champion 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. He was actually the batter when Jackie Robinson famously stole home, a play that Yogi Berra still disputes to this day, which makes him an interesting foot-note in baseball history. He certainly had the best view of the play and I believe I read somewhere that, years later, he agreed with Berra's take that Robinson was out. 

Frank enlisted in the Army during World War II and spent over three years serving his country. He even survived a torpedo attack by the Germans when he was aboard a ship in the Mediterranean Sea which caused thousands of U.S. soldiers to lose their lives. I can't imagine dealing with a tragedy like that! 

After his baseball days were over, Frank returned to his native Oklahoma and became the director of a credit union while also serving on the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. He certainly led an interesting and varied life. He passed away from lymphoma at only 57 in 1976. RIP Frank.

I think that his autograph is so hard to track down because of three reasons. 
1) He was a member of a very popular World Series Championship team.
2) He died 35 years ago and was relatively young when he passed away.
3) He was a fairly obscure, part-time player during his career, so likely wasn't hounded for too many autographs.

Frank's only major issue card was his 1956 Topps card, which pictured him with the Cubs. His only Orioles card was the 1991 Crown card, which came out 15 years after he passed away, so he obviously never signed it. So this index card is in my collection for good, and Frank's name is permanently scratched off of my list. I'm very happy to have this PSA/DNA certified copy, even if it's a bit of a pain to store in my binder. 

And I have to say that Frank's autograph is amazing. You can make out every single letter and the flourishes on the F and K to start each name really give it some character. However, if I saw that F all alone, I don't think I would guess it was an "f", but rather a strange "g" or maybe a "t". Regardless, his autograph is gorgeous and I'm very excited to have it in my collection, thanks again dad!

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