Wade Boggs was always an easy autograph for me. Maybe because it was early in his career. I don't know. But back in 1983 he would sign everything and anything you put in front of him. He had a great rookie season in 1982. Although The Scouting Report gives him high marks, they didn't, nor did anyone else, expect Boggs to continue to hit so well for as long as he did after this time period.
Dennis Eckersley was one of the few players who provided a sloppier signature in the book than he normally did. I suppose if my name was as long as his was I wouldn't always sign it neatly either. Perhaps I just caught him on a day when he was in a hurry. He always seemed to be in a hurry. He was still a starting pitcher at the time. It would be another few years before he made the switch to closer that turned him into a Hall of Famer.
Dwight Evans was coming off of one of his best seasons. His autograph was always nice. It is especially beautiful in the book as you can see.
The book had power to pull extra special autographs out of some players. A player would sign maybe 10 autographs for a group of us. The other nine would be on baseball cards. Those holding the baseball cards would all come over immediately after the player was gone to compare signatures. The signatures on the cards usually looked the same (with the exception of the occasional smear). The book would usually end up with a quality signature several cuts above the autographs on the cards. The group would sigh with envy.
Rod Carew was extremely famous by 1983. He had almost 3,000 hits. That helped to make him a difficult one to get an autograph from. In my four years of "work," I think I ended up with two or three Rod Carew signatures. This is one of them. With his last name he just kept on going. Had the page been three feet longer, I think he would have drawn a line at the end of Carew that went on for three feet. As it is, it goes on for several inches before falling off the edge of the page.
Reggie Jackson was unpredictable. Sometimes he wouldn't sign at all. Other times he would just sign "Reggie," "R Jackson," or "R J----." The autograph below is the best signature I ever obtained from Mr. October.
After quickly signing, Reggie started reading his scouting report. After a paragraph, he says, "What is this?" Before I could explain, he ripped the book out of its cover (leaving me cringing of course as I think he may damage the book). After looking at the cover, he says, "Interesting, can I borrow this?" What can I say to Reggie Jackson? So I tell him, "sure." He takes it into the dugout. This was a half hour or so before the game.
I'm thinking that he will be back with it any minute. As time went by I became worried. What if he damages it? What if he doesn't like what it says about him and rips out his page? The game begins and he still hasn't returned my precious book. Horrible thoughts continue to go through my head. As the innings pass I can't even enjoy the game. I'm too stressed about my book and the fact that I may never see it again.
Finally, in about the sixth or seventh inning he returns it. He says something about it being pretty accurate. Apparently he was sitting in the dugout reading it through most of the game getting some pointers on the pitchers in the league. Maybe he was passing it down the bench so the whole team could read it. I don't know as I couldn't see into the dugout from my seat.
Britt Burns cranked out about the most beautiful signature in the book here. Tony Bernazard--not so much.
On this page, packed with Hall of Famers, it is only fitting that I finish with another one. 1983 was probably the best year of Fisk's long career. No one would have guessed at the time that his playing career was only about half over and that he would end up playing more for the White Sox than he did for the Red Sox.
The stories and pictures continue below...