Speaking of nice, neat signatures, nobody will ever top Jim Gantner. Every signature Jim Gantner performed was meticulous. This one in The Scouting Report is no different from the ones I received on baseball cards. His autograph was always perfect.
Rollie Fingers, another member of Hall of Fame, provided me with his best signature in the book. I have his signature on several cards too, but this one is the best. He didn't quite write every letter of his last name, but it is better than his norm.
Back in 1983, with only a few seasons under his belt, the authors gave Paul Molitor only an "above average" rating as you can see. Little did they know that he would continue to produce and produce and produce for another 15 seasons earning himself a spot in the Hall of Fame in 2004.
Robin won the first of his two MVP awards in 1982. This made him a little more difficult to get an autograph from in subsequent years. However, I wore a Brewers hat (still wear the same hat sometimes in fact) so that may have made it a little easier for me to get Brewers' autographs in Oakland. My nickname at the games was "Brewer" because of the hat.
Oh, the stories I could tell about that hat... One time, I was sitting next to the railing at the Oakland Coliseum. (This is where I would get autographs before games. You can see the location in this baseball card. There is another card in which you can actually see my foot, but I can't remember which card it is anymore.) There was a walkway there that separated the fans from the field by about five feet. The players would walk through there on their way to the dugout. Anyway, a foul pop-up is hit during the game. I look up and see that it is heading straight for me. I take off my Brewers hat at the last second and turn it over. The ball lands right in it. At the same instant I hear a loud bang. I look down to see that Mike Heath, the A's catcher at the time, has crashed into the backstop trying to catch the ball that landed in my hat. He was injured on the play. It wasn't a Steve Bartman situation though. If I hadn't caught it, the ball would have fallen harmlessly into the walkway--not into Heath's mitt, which was on the other side of the backstop net.
Gossage signed his name in two ways that I witnessed, "Rich Gossage" or "Goose Gossage." You can see, below, that the book received the latter treatment.
Griffey Sr. didn't have much of an autograph. I feel old now that his son is nearing retirement.
Who would have thought at the time that these two guys on opposing pages would both end up being managers in the future? Neither was an easy autograph at the time. As the book says about Randolph, he could be quick-tempered, morose, and moody. Is that what it takes to manage in the major leagues?
The stories and pictures continue below...
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