When I first started collecting autographs back in the 1960’s I had ballplayers sign pictures or pieces of paper. In those days it was quite common for ballplayers to add “Best Wishes” to their autograph without any prompting.
More recently I have had ballplayers add a number of interesting things along-side of their signatures, again with no prompting.
Dock Ellis added the date of his LSD no-hitter on the sweet spot of a baseball under his signature.
Steve Lyons added his nickname “Psycho” under his signature on a bat with autographs of other members of the 1986 Red Sox team. I do have to admit that I was going to ask him to add his nickname, but I thought he would be offended.
Several ballplayers have added a Bible reference alongside their signatures on baseball cards. Not being a Bible scholar, these always cause me to look up the reference.
Tim Foli card with Bible reference.
But the biggest surprise was when I got my first Manny Sanguillen autograph and he added “God Bless”.
Manny’s career overlapped with Johnny Bench, so he did not get the recognition that he deserves. Manny compiled a .296 lifetime batting average over 13 seasons in the majors. He has two World Series rings and played in three All Star games. He was also involved in one of the most interesting baseball trades of the 1970’s when the Pirates traded Manny in 1977 to the Oakland Athletics for then A’s manager Chuck Tanner. After one year in Oakland Manny was reacquired by the Bucs.
Even now, 40 years after his last at bat in the majors Manny is a fan favorite. He is a goodwill ambassador for the Pittsburgh Pirates appearing at Fantasy Camps, PirateFest, and team signing events. And if you are lucky you can also find him at some ball games holding court at Manny’s BBQ at PNC Park.
Over the last 15 years I have collected six signatures of Manny on baseball cards. He added “God Bless” to 4 of them.
I would be interested in hearing about unprompted additions to autographs on baseball cards from others. If you have an interesting addition, please share it by way of a comment.
Manny if you are reading this post – God Bless!