Vintage Baseball Autographs

Big League Players--1920s thru 1960s

Toby Atwell  (1924-2003)

Chicago Cubs 1952-53, Pittsburgh Pirates 1953-56, Milwaukee Braves 1956 [.260 avg, 110 RBI, 9 HR, 116 runs]

 

 

Toby Atwell autographed this 1952 Alan Maver cartoon.

Bill Conroy  (1915-1997)

Philadelphia Athletics 1935-37, Boston Red Sox 1942-44   [.199 avg, 452 at bats, 45 runs, 169 games, 5 HR]

 

 

Tony Lupien and Bill Conroy autographed this 1942 Jack Sords cartoon.

He is buried in Mount Vernon Memorial Park, Fair Oaks, California

Walker Cooper  (1915-1991)

St. Louis Cardinals 1940-45,1956-57, New York Giants 1946-49, Cincinnati Reds 1949-50, Boston Braves 1950-52, Milwaukee Braves 1953, Pittsburgh Pirates 1954, Chicago Cubs 1954-55   [.285 avg, 173 HR]

Today's catcher's mitt is like a big, soft pair of pliers.  But with the small pocket we used, you really suffered the sting when you caught the ball.  So you had to stuff some kind of padding into the glove to cushion the blow.  While most catchers, including me, used a sponge, Walker Cooper was a little more exotic.  He used falsies.  I've always tried to imagine how surprised the saleswoman must have been when this big guy, more than six feet tall and over 200 pounds of rawbone, looking like he stepped out of a John Wayne movie, asked for a D cup.  One day Coop made a tag play at the plate, and his glove was knocked off.  The falsie rolled out, made a perfect little turn, and landed right in the middle of the plate.  The next day the fans sent him a lifetime supply.
    Joe Garagiola

 

This 1941 cartoon autographed by Walker Cooper was drawn by the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Jim Berryman.  He also intermittently drew sports cartoons.

Del Crandall  (1930-    )

Boston Braves 1949-50, Milwaukee Braves 1953-63, San Francisco Giants 1964, Pittsburgh Pirates 1965, Cleveland Indians 1966; Manager—Milwaukee Brewers 1972-75, Seattle Mariners 1983-84 [.254 avg, 179 HR]

Crandall wasn’t a Hall of Famer by any means—he hit only .254 lifetime—but he made himself into an All-Star catcher with his defense and his ability to handle pitchers.  In 1954, when Crandall was only twenty-four years old, Braves manager Charlie Grimm made him the team captain.  “I don’t care how old he is,” Grimm said.  “Del takes charge on the field.  He’s always hollering and keeping everyone on their toes.  A guy like that means a lot to the rest of the club.”  Crandall was also a dead pull hitter when he first came up, but somewhere along the way he got help with his hitting to the point where he became a real good hit-and-run man.
    Don Zimmer

 

Watch a TV news video clip of Del Crandall giving his thoughts about being inducted into the Albuquerque Dukes Hall of Fame in 2008.

Harry "The Horse" Danning  (1911-2004)

New York Giants 1933-42  [.285 avg]

We didn't smoke or drink. We never did anything to jeopardize our career. I only chewed (tobacco) twice in my life, and both times I got sick.

     Harry Danning 

 

 

This 1940 cartoon is one of three Tom Paprocki drawings autographed by Harry Danning in my collection. The others are from 1937 and 1941. I also have Danning-signed cartoons from Willard Mullin, a 1944 Alan Maver "Stars in Service," and three Jack Sords from 1938, 1939, and 1940.

Watch a video clip of Harry Danning recalling some of his baseball memories.

He was cremated

Cliff Dapper  (1920-2011)

Brooklyn Dodgers 1942   [8 games, .471 avg, 17 at bats, 8 hits, 1 double, 1 HR, 2 runs, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1.000 fielding average]

 

Ed Albosta and Cliff Dapper autographed this 1942 Jack Sords cartoon.

Dapper was buried in Riverside National Cemetery, California.

Ed Fitz Gerald (1924-    )

Pittsburgh Pirates 1948-53, Washington Senators 1953-59, Cleveland Indians 1959  [.260 avg, 199 runs, 217 RBI, 19 HR]

 

Ed Fitz Gerald autographed this 1948 Jack Sords cartoon. Bob Chesnes died in 1979, almost a decade before I started collecting.

Herman Franks (1914-2009)

St. Louis Cardinals 1939, Brooklyn Dodgers 1940-41, Philadelphia Athletics 1947-48, New York Giants 1949; Manager—San Francisco Giants 1965-68, Chicago Cubs 1977-79 [.199 avg, 35 runs, 43 RBI]

Our catcher was Herman Franks, and Herman had the notorious habit, when there was a play at the plate and he had the ball, he would swarm all over the player and dig that ball right into his ribs, and we knew that one day it was going to result in a fight.
    Spider Jorgensen

 

 

This Art Krenz cartoon signed by Herman Franks appeared in newspapers in 1940. I also have a signed 1943 Alan Maver, a 1941 multiple-signed Paprocki (see Mickey Owen below), and an Ev Thorpe cartoon.

Watch a TV news clip reporting the death of Herman Franks.

Joe Garagiola (1926-    )

St. Louis Cardinals 1946-51, Pittsburgh Pirates 1951-53, Chicago Cubs 1953-54, New York Giants 1954  [.257 avg, 198 runs, 255 RBI, 42 HR]

 

 

Joe Garagiola autographed this 1949 Alan Maver cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Joe Garagiola on Johnny Carson's Tonight show in 1984.

Mike Garbark (1916-1994)

New York Yankees 1944-45 [.244 avg, 46 runs, 56 RBI, 2 HR]

  

 

This Al Vermeer cartoon signed by Mike Garbark appeared in newspapers in 1945.

He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ray Hayworth (1904-2002)

Detroit Tigers 1926,1929-38, Brooklyn Dodgers 1938-39, New York Giants 1939, St. Louis Browns 1942, Brooklyn Dodgers 1944-45 [.265 avg, 221 runs, 238 RBI, 5 HR]

My brother Ray was about twelve years older than me.  Ray was a pitcher, could throw hard, threw overhand. His ball carried good.
    Red Hayworth

 

 

He is buried in Guilford Memorial Park, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ray Lamanno  (1919-1994)

Cincinnati Reds 1941-42,1946-48   [.252 avg, 18 HR, 150 RBI]

 

This 1942 cartoon autographed by Ram Lamanno has the earmarks of being drawn by Sam Davis.

Charley Lau  (1933-1984)

Detroit Tigers 1956,1958-59, Milwaukee Braves 1960-61, Baltimore Orioles 1961-63,1964-67, Kansas City Athletics 1963-64, Atlanta Braves 1967   [.255 avg]

There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works.
    Charley Lau

 

This autograph was obtained in-person on Feb. 12, 1960 and was given to me in the early 1970s by a man who lived in Detroit.

See his grave at Moreland Memorial Park, Parkville, Maryland

Howard Maple  (1903-1970)

Washington Senators 1932   [44 games, .244 avg, 7 RBI]

He is buried in Belcrest Memorial Park, Salem, Oregon

Dee Moore  (1914-1997)

Cincinnati Reds 1936-37, Brooklyn Dodgers 1943, Philadelphia Phillies 1943,1946   [.232 avg, 228 at bats, 98 games]

 

 

Dee Moore and Jimmy Outlaw autographed this 1937 Jack Sords cartoon.

He is buried in Riverview Cemetery, Williston, North Dakota.

Ray "Iron Man" Mueller  (1912-1994)

Boston Braves 1935,1951, Boston Bees 1936-38, Pittsburgh Pirates 1939-40,1950,  Cincinnati Reds 1943-49, New York Giants 1949-50   [.252 avg, 56 HR, 373 RBI]

 

 

This is one of two slightly different 1943 Jack Sords cartoons autographed by Ray Mueller in my collection.

He is buried in Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  

Mickey Owen  (1916-2005)

St. Louis Cardinals 1937-40, Brooklyn Dodgers 1941-45, Chicago Cubs 1949-51, Boston Red Sox 1954   [.255 avg, 378 RBI, 14 HR, 163 doubles]

He is so far and away the most valuable player on the ball club [1945 Brooklyn Dodgers]—and that goes for the whole league—there isn't even a close second.
    Leo Durocher


 

This is one of two cartoons drawn by Paprocki autographed by Mickey Owen in my collection. This one, also signed by Herman Franks, appeared in newspapers in 1941 and the other Pap cartoon is from 1950. In the lower right corner "Ole Mick" wrote that "Franks was a very smart baseball man."  I also have two different signed 1942 Jack Sords cartoons. In one of the Sords' cartoons, Owen was paired in the cartoon with a drawing of pitcher Larry French. Owen wrote me that "Larry French developed a one finger knuckle in 1942. Larry that season was the best left handed pitcher I ever caught."

He is buried in Patterson Cemetery, Springfield, Missouri.

Buddy Rosar  (1914-1994)

New York Yankees 1939-42, Cleveland Indians 1943-44, Philadelphia Athletics 1945-49, Boston Red Sox 1950-51   [.261 avg, 18 HR, 367 RBI]

 

This Willard Mullin cartoon autographed by Buddy Rosar appeared in newspapers in 1941.

He is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Cheektowaga, New York.

Billy Sullivan  (1910-1994)

Catcher/First Base/Third Base/Outfield—Chicago White Sox 1931-33, Cincinnati Reds 1935, Cleveland Indians 1936-37, St. Louis Browns 1938-39, Detroit Tigers 1940-41, Brooklyn Dodgers 1942, Pittsburgh Pirates 1947   [.289 avg, 29 HR, 388 RBI]

Billy was a good hitter, not that great a defensive man.  But he was an excellent hitter, and he could bunt and drag.
    Bob Feller

 

 

This Jack Sords cartoon autographed by Billy Sullivan appeared in newspapers in 1940. He made a copy of it accompanied with a photocopied photo of him upon which he wrote a very nice note.  He wrote: "It is wonderful fans like you that keep the game alive.  It is high time the owners and the players realize this--and have a moderation in these enormous salaries--but with the stipulation that the public fans benefit by greatly reduced ticket prices."  What a nice man, but I doubt we'll see his hope of reduced salaries and ticket prices come true.

Birdie Tebbetts  (1912-1999)

Detroit Tigers 1936-42,1946-47, Boston Red Sox 1947-50, Cleveland Indians 1951-52; Manager—Cincinnati Reds 1954-58, Milwaukee Braves 1961-62, Cleveland Indians 1963-66    [.270 avg, 38 HR]

Birdie Tebbetts was catching once when a batter crossed himself.  Birdie called time, and crossed himself.  And he told the hitter, "Now it's all even with God.  Let's see who's the better man."
    George "Shotgun" Shuba

 

This Tom Paprocki cartoon which Birdie Tebbetts autographed to me appeared in newspapers in 1937.  He also autographed another copy of it which he didn't personalize. I'd certainly consider dickering for it in a trade.

He is buried in St. Bernard Catholic Church Cemetery, Holmes Beach, Florida.

Louis J. "Luke" Urban  (1898-1980)

Boston Braves 1927-28   [.273 avg, 128 at bats, 50 games, 11 runs, 12 RBI]

 

Luke Urban was one of several two-sport athletes in the pros. He was an end for three years on the Buffalo All-Americans from 1921 thru 1923 in the NFL. That is principally why I purchased this autograph.

He is buried in Notre Dame Cemetery, Fall River, Massachusetts

Wes Westrum  (1922-2002)

New York Giants 1947-57   [.217 avg, 96 HR, 315 RBI]; Manager—New York Giants 1965-67, San Francisco Giants 1974-75

I played many a game with a broken finger.  Eight broken fingers.  That's why my average was so low.
    Wes Westrum

 


Wes Westrum signed this 1950 Alan Maver cartoon twice.

He is buried in Silver Creek Cemetery, Clearbrook, Minnesota.

Sammy White  (1928-1991)

Boston Red Sox 1951-59, Milwaukee Braves 1961, Philadelphia Phillies 1962   [.262 avg, 66 HR, 421 HR]

One time in Chicago I had the bases loaded and nobody out, and I was looking down to throw to Minoso, who was at the plate.  Sammy called time out, and he came out.  I didn’t want him too close to me because he used to chew tobacco and spit through his mask, and it was awful.  It looked awful.  But I wanted to hear what he had to say, and he came out and he looked over at third, he looked over at second, he looked over at first, and he looked back at Minoso, and then he looked over at me and he took off his mask, and he said, “Geez, you’re in a lot of trouble.”
    Frank Sullivan

 

Sammy White autographed this 1953 Alan Maver cartoon.

He was cremated.

Watch a Video Clip of:

  • Richie Ashburn (Hall of Fame)
  • Eldon Auker (Pitchers)
  • Hank Bauer (Outfielders)
  • Joe Black (Pitchers)
  • Bobby Bragan (Infielders)
  • Ralph Branca (Pitchers)
  • Lou Brock (Hall of Fame)
  • Tommy Byrne (Pitchers--Southpaws)
  • Jerry Coleman (Infielders)
  • Del Crandall (Catchers)
  • Harry Danning (Catchers)
  • Larry Doby (Hall of Fame)
  • Leo Durocher (Hall of Fame)
  • ElRoy Face (Pitchers)
  • Herman Franks (Catchers)
  • Joe Garagiola (Catchers)
  • Goose Gossage (Hall of Fame)
  • Bob Grim (Pitchers)
  • Dick Groat (Infielders)
  • Billy Johnson (Infielders)
  • Al Kaline (Hall of Fame)
  • Bob Kuzava (Pitchers--Southpaws)
  • Clem Labine (Pitchers)
  • Al Lopez (Hall of Fame)
  • Phil Marchildon (Pitchers)
  • Minnie Minoso (Outfielders)
  • Stan Musial (Hall of Fame)
  • Pee Wee Reese (Hall of Fame)
  • Phil Rizzuto (Hall of Fame)
  • Robin Roberts (Hall of Fame)
  • Nolan Ryan (Hall of Fame)
  • Mike Schmidt (Hall of Fame)
  • Bill "Moose" Skowron (Infielders)
  • Duke Snider (Hall of Fame)
  • Warren Spahn (Hall of Fame)
  • Eddie Stanky (Infielders)