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Autographed The Scouting Report: 1983

Len Barker didn't have a great career, but he threw a perfect game once. I don't know why Bert Blyleven isn't in the Hall of Fame. He has better numbers than a lot of Hall of Famers. How many guys have 60 career shutouts and 242 complete games in the modern era? His ERA isn't too shabby either at just 3.31. There are some fun Youtube videos of him as a broadcaster. Check them out.

The Scouting Report authors thought Blyleven's career was near its end. However, he ended up winning more than 100 games after 1982.

Len Barker & Bert Blyleven

If you look closely at this next one you can see Larry Sorenson's signature coming through from the page before Dan Spillner's. You can't see the autographs coming through the pages in real life (thank goodness!). The flash photography somehow does an x-ray job of sorts.

I didn't include this picture just because of that fact, however. These are fairly pretty signatures, and that is the main reason I included this picture in the group.

Rick Sutcliffe

Rick Waits shows an example of a player who added his uniform number to the book (without being asked to) even though he didn't do so when he signed baseball cards. There are probably about a half dozen players who added a uniform number or "best wishes" when they signed the book even though that wasn't their normal autograph.

Rick Waits

You never knew what you were going to get with Lou Whitaker. He added some additional excitement to the autograph collecting process. He was a very nice man, don't get me wrong, but his signature was unpredictable. You could hand him a stack of three baseball cards and they would come back with three different signatures. One would say "Lou Whit," the next would say "Louis Rodney Whitaker," and the third would say "L Whitaker." For the book, you can see, he didn't include his middle name, but he did include his full first and last names. Many, if not most, players went with the "less is more" approach. Abbreviations and missing letters were common. For Lou to sometimes sign his name as Louis or include his middle name was something different.

Lou Whitaker

Vida Blue wins the award for the largest signature in the book at over half a foot in length. Take note of the less-than-stellar condition of the page (on the left especially you can see a bit of water damage). That is because I obtained this signature during a rain delay.

Vida is another guy who should be more strongly considered for the Hall. He was always fun to watch pitch.

Remember the clip of George Brett going ballistic when he was ruled out for using a bat covered in pine tar to hit a home run? Well, I witnessed that rage on more than one occasion when it came to fans asking him for an autograph. He was scary mean.

I recall an instance in which a really little kid went up to him and made an autograph request. This was like three or four hours before a game so he couldn't have been in that much of a hurry. He yelled, "F@#& You!" The next day most of us didn't approach him as he arrived at the stadium out of fear of receiving the same treatment. A few people weren't there the day before and hadn't heard the story of his behavior on the prior day so they went for it. On the first fan's card he signed GB. On the second person's card he wrote "F@#% You." The third person's card was crumpled before being tossed over George's shoulder.

Needless to say, I was very worried what he would do to my book when I approached him on a different trip through Oakland. While the signature isn't all that pretty, at least he didn't give me the expletive treatment.

Years later I saw George at the San Francisco Airport. Even though I was no longer a little kid, just the sight of him freaked me out. It was almost as if I was expecting him to come over and start chewing me out for no reason.

Vida Blue & George Brett

Don Hood and Dennis Leonard provided a couple of the more lovely signatures in the book.

Dennis Leonard

The stories and pictures continue below...

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