View Full Version : Act of Kindness from a Hall of Famer

03-20-2019, 11:18 AM
Frank B. started a thread about jerks in the Hall of fame, and there certainly is no shortage of them. Thought I would start a new thread about good deeds involving HOFers. I'll start with one I've told before, but many probably didn't see it. Please feel free to add one of your own.

Around 1966 my friend Steven and I went to Shea Stadium to see the Mets play the Houston Astros. Steven was a diehard Astros fan, and somehow he got us seats in the first row a little behind first base. I guess he had a connection.

During the game we were buying lots of food and Steven was putting the change in the top pocket of his shirt. At some point he leaned too far forward, and all the change came pouring out and rolled in different directions. He leaned forward to retrieve it but nearly all of it was out of reach.

The Astros were at bat at the time, and Nellie Fox was coaching first base. Somehow he must have seen this happen, because when the inning ended he jogged towards us, got on his hands and knees, gathered every last coin and handed them to Steven. We were both in awe that he would have taken the time and made the effort to help us. I will always remember the kindness he showed to two kids that day. And I remember how thrilled I was when he was finally elected to the Hall.

03-20-2019, 11:40 AM
Not a personal anecdote but Jim Rice once rushed into the stands after a boy was hit by a foul ball and carried him into the dugout where he could get immediate medical attention.

Chris Counts
03-20-2019, 11:46 AM
When I was a teenager, I once spent an afternoon chatting with Duke Snider at a card show in Fallbrook, CA. He was signing autographs, and I had a table next to him. We exchanged lighthearted banter throughout the day, and when the show was over, I asked him if he would sign a photo for me. Before he got started, I asked him to inscribe it, "To Chris, the greatest pitcher I ever faced ..." He smiled and wrote those exact words, along with a few more.

Although he's not in the Hall of Fame, Dock Ellis comes to mind as someone whose act of kindness I will never forget. Myself and another kid were sneaking around a hotel in Anaheim seeking autographs from Yankees players when a security guard caught us and started reading us the riot act. Just then, Dock Ellis pops out of a nearby elevator, walks straight up to the security guard, and says, "Don't mess with these guys — they're my friends." Dock was a pretty imposing guy, and the security guy literally slinked away. I will always treasure the time when Dock Ellis had my back.

03-20-2019, 11:51 AM
Thanks Barry for starting this thread.

I don't remember the time or the place of this incident (probably at a show in Cleveland), but Whitey Ford did a small act of kindness that I really appreciated. I had paid for an autographed picture with the HOFer. The photograph was taken on a large platform that was at least a couple of feet off the floor. You had to climb up onto the stage to get your picture taken.

I was having a real hard time getting up on the platform because my back was out and I was in a lot of pain. There were a lot of people around including the gentlemen who were putting on the event, but no one would help me. Mr. Ford saw my dilemma and came over and helped me step up onto the platform. He asked if I was okay and held onto my arm as we moved over to the curtain where the photograph was taken. He asked me where I was from and how long I had been a Yankees fan. We chatted for a few minutes before the picture was taken. He then walked me back across the stage and he helped me off the platform and said that he hoped I would feel better soon.

It wasn't a big deal but I will always remember it.

Howe’s Hunter
03-20-2019, 07:13 PM
At one time I was trying to get autographed baseballs of players I met in person. Bob Gibson had a charity golf tournament every year in Omaha and quite a few former players would be there year after year. One year, Robin Roberts was there and was one of the few players who went along with Gibson’s request that only the official program be signed and nothing else. When I approached him, Roberts said to contact his website, run by his son and he would send a baseball. I did, and several months passed with no ball. Contacted again and got a reply that they weren’t doing that much anymore, if I wanted a pre-signed ball I could order one at a new price list they had online. Ordered a ball with just the signature and waited. By this time almost a year had gone by and I called the number in the website. Who answered the phone but Robin. He said he remembered my request at the tournament and had a few choice words for the kid they had hired to run the website. He took my name and address and said he’d make it right. Less than a week later I had a ball with a signature, a HoF inscription, a Sporting News player of the year inscription ... in total there were twelve inscriptions on the ball. It was covered with every award he had ever won. With the sig and HoF inscription on the sweet spot. Way beyond what he would have had to do to make me a happy guy.

03-20-2019, 07:52 PM
Not a HOFer but I went to a lot of Yankee games in MSP and KC while Tino Martinez played for them. After every inning he would get the game ball and throw it up to a kid in the stands. I know that made me a big fan of his.:)

03-20-2019, 09:26 PM
My wife and I were leaving old Yankee Stadium in 05 after a blowout Yankee win. We were about to cross the road that led to the player's parking lot and a car was coming from the lot. We were more than glad to wait for this one car to pass by since there were not too many other people around and no other cars leaving the lot. However, this car stopped just for us and the driver waved for us to cross.....I looked over and a smiling Marino Rivera was the one waving. I have crossed a lot of roads in my life and while most every car would just keep going ignoring pedestrians waiting to cross, Mariano did not. While this was a very simple act on his part, it was beyond a classy act on his part IMO....probably indicative as to who he really is as a person.

How many other HOFers, or even players for that matter, would have stopped?

03-20-2019, 09:55 PM
I am guessing in 1978 or 1979 Bob Feller came to Charleston WV on behalf of the American Cancer Society. He came out in his uniform and for $2 you could hit a pitch off him. All the money went to the ACS. After pitching to heaven knows how many people, he showered and came sat in the stands with the fans and signed autographs for every person who asked for one. FTR, I blooped a single over second base, making me 1-for-1 career versus Hall of Fame pitchers.

03-20-2019, 11:06 PM
When my sons were born we named them Brooks Robinson Andrews and James Palmer Andrews. A few months after they were born I received an envelope addressed to me by Brooks Robinson and it contained a wonderful inscribed photo and note. My aunt had sent a small clipping to him via his office at Crown Oil that had appeared in the Baseball Weekly newspaper that mentioned their birth.

I've related my Frank Robinson story previously but I guess it's appropriate here:

In 1969 I went with a buddy, also an Oriole fan, to see the O's play at Yankee Stadium on a mid-week afternoon. We'd decided that we'd make a couple of banners to support our club. We set to work dividing an old bed sheet and, with orange paint and a marker, we each created a work of art. His was the number '5' for Brooks Robinson. Mine was a '20' in orange with 'RF' added on.
We missed the Orioles' batting practice session but we hung out near the third base dugout in hopes the players would see our signs when they warmed up. Then a batboy approached me and asked if I would like him to take my banner to Frank in the clubhouse and show it to him. I said 'Sure' and handed it to him not knowing if I'd see it again. Moments later here comes my banner up the dugout steps being carried by Frank Robinson himself. He asked whose it was and brought it over to me and thanked me for bringing it. He asked for my pen and signed it right in the middle on the '0'. Almost 50 years later I still have it. It's discolored and been stained a bit along the way, the orange color had darkened to a pinkish red and the autograph has faded some. But that banner still means more to me than any piece of memorabilia I own.

348121 348122

03-20-2019, 11:42 PM
In middle school, during baseball season, Lou Brock was in town at an autograph event at my favorite card shop. But because of practice I couldn't go. My mom went for me. After practice, I got my mom to take me back to the shop to see if he was still there. The shop had closed up, but the owner liked me well enough that he let me in so I could take a photo with Lou. Lou didn't just take a picture, but he initiated conversation with me and was asking me question after question after question. He made the atmosphere so relaxed that it was easy to stand there and yak away. Great day, and great guy.

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03-21-2019, 12:31 AM
I was at the 2nd World Children's Baseball Fair 1991 in Chiba, Japan. I was able to get on the field and met Joe DiMaggio. I asked him if he would sign the baseball to me. He said "I wish I could personalize all of them". I still have the ball.

03-21-2019, 12:42 AM
In 1978 I drove from Edmonton, Alberta, to Seattle to watch a Yankees-Mariners series and was lucky enough to catch a foul ball. A couple of weeks later, I boxed up the ball, along with a short note and a US money order for $20 to cover postage, and mailed it to my all-time favorite player, Catfish Hunter. A month later a package arrived at my home, sent by special delivery. Inside was the autographed ball, inscribed to me, two signed 8x10 glossies of Catfish on the mound at Yankee Stadium ... and the unused money order. Attached to it was a hand-written note saying "Always happy to hear from my friends in Canada."

03-21-2019, 04:01 AM
I have had a few such experiences with Stargell, Puckett, and Edgar. However, my favorite experience occurred when I was around 12. My friends and I would hang out in the parking lot waiting for foul balls at Cheney Stadium which was the home of the Twins AAA team. One such day we were entertaining ourselves by playing wiffle ball in the parking lot prior to a game. At that time Lyman Bostock was a raising star on his way to the big leagues. Nonetheless, he approached us and asked if he could take a few swings. He wound up taking quite a few swings. He was laughing and overly friendly. After about 15 minutes a crowd began to gather. He shook our hands and said he had to get to work. Before he jogged off he signed a small piece of paper for me. I folded it about 20 times and stuffed it deep in my pocket so I wouldn't lose it. I still have it all creased up. Whenever I see it I think of that day and smile. I was devastated a few years later when I learned he had been murdered. What a tragic waste of a nice man.

03-21-2019, 07:24 AM
These interactions are nice to read!
I've had many positive encounters with players at Fenway, but also when I was a teen working at a grocery store in Natick, MA. So many Red Sox and Celtics shopped there and they were all beyond nice.
The one who stands out the most is former Celtic player and coach, KC Jones.

03-21-2019, 08:04 AM
Not a HOF'er but a great person. Growing up Hank Sauer was always my favorite player. In 1952 I sent an autograph request to him during Spring Training. Never heard back but he remained my favorite player anyway. In 1995, I think, he was signing autographs at a show near Atlanta. We would drive down from Baltimore to Asheville to visit wife's family so I decided to drive on the show and get his autograph. When I got to the podium I related the story of never getting his autograph back in 1952. He said he was surprised because he always answered requests. He invited me to sit next to him on the podium which I did and we talked baseball and family in between him signing autographs for about 2 hours.

03-21-2019, 01:19 PM
I have lots of stories of kindness players showed me as a kid that used to hang around the show circuit, but one moment especially comes to mind. I was at a show where Jim Palmer was signing, and I was hanging around him and chatting him up as best as a 12 year old kid could do. He asked me if I played little league, and I told him that not only did I play, but I was also a pitcher like he was. He looked at me and said "oh really, want to show me what you got?" I looked at him a little bewildered - which he clearly could see - and said "come on - I need a break anyway. I happen to have my glove with me so let's go see what you got." So, to the back parking lot I went with Jim Palmer his glove, and a newly unboxed baseball. He crouched down and had me fire it in at him. For a good 5 or 10 minutes we played catch in the back lot. And after our warm up was done, he spent the next 5 minutes showing me grips on the ball while an assistant at the show grabbed the glove to catch. That 15 minutes playing catch with an HOF'er will be a memory I won't soon forget.

03-22-2019, 09:28 AM
As a kid growing up my favorite player was Rod Carew. I managed to talk my Dad into taking me to a White Sox game against the Twins so I could see my favorite player in person. But I also desperately wanted to get his autograph. So I brought his latest card with me (71 Topps) and a marker and after the game we went over to where the players exited the stadium to get on the bus to go back to their hotel.

There were a few other people hanging around looking for autographs as well, and we waited patiently for about 20 or 30 minutes, and then the players came out. Unfortunately, the security people hustled them right onto the bus without allowing them to interact with the fans at all. I was super disappointed and my Dad was already starting to console me by trying to come up with other ideas for how to get Rod's autograph, when I happened to look up at the bus, and there was Rod sitting at the window pretty much right above my head. So I pounded on the bus to get his attention and held up his card.

Rod saw the card, and promptly got up, went up to the front and had the bus driver open the door so he could get off and come over to sign my card, as well as sign for the other people who were still there. This act only strengthened my fandom for Rod Carew, and that card, while kind of beat up now, remains one of my favorites in my collection.