God Bless Manny Sanguillen!

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!

20 thoughts on “God Bless Manny Sanguillen!”

  1. Great post, and good question. Bill Lee (Spaceman) wrote “Earth 1997” on my Red Sox gamer bat which had already been signed by 40+ other BoSox. I’m still not happy about that, and if given the chance to write “Ding Dong, 2020” on his forehead in sharpie, I’d do so with a smile.

    I loved watching the Manny Sanguillen bat. He could hit it off his shoe tops or up in his eyes. Whack!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the post. Yes – Manny, a card carrying member of the Lumber Company, was not afraid to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee, Earth 2019”
    “Sir Hensley Muelens ‘Bam Bam'”
    HOF years from Juan Marichal and Mike Mussina
    “Go Card” from Frank Duffy
    And, my favorite, “Not Me” from Al Kaline.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so odd to me…I see that so many seem to love Manny Sanguillen and say he is so nice.

    When I was maybe ten years old, he was signing at a large card show in my hometown.

    He wasn’t polite at all, barely acknowledging a ten year old kid that was just in awe of a man that played the game I (then) over more than anything at the highest level. He barely mumbled and seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but there.

    Maybe it was a bad day, who knows. However, 30ish years later, that always sticks with me any time I see his name. I guess it just shows that we need to always put our best face forward, as I will never be able to see him in a positive light.



    1. I think it was a bad day. All of my encounters with Manny over the last 15 years have been great. He is very accommodating when it comes to signing autographs and getting your picture taken with him. I hope you have another chance to meet him. Maybe at Manny’s BBQ at PNC Park when things get back to normal.


  4. This is a very cool post. As a teen, I got dozens of players’ autographs and nobody every added anything other than their name. I’m just grateful most of them made it legible. More than I can do with my own name now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Among the numerous times I met Bob Feller (usually at Reading Phillies games), he always added HOF 62, but in 1996 he was signing outside the Eastern League AA All Star Game in Trenton and he had a nice sepia-toned 8×10 available for sale (with the autograph being free), so I bought one. He had one already signed and handed it to me, and it included what looked to me like “MY MY, 40” above his name. I asked “Mr. Feller, what does ‘my my, 40’ mean? Is that some sort of birthday greeting for someone?” (I was going to add that I was only 28 and ask for a freshly signed photo.) He looked at me for a second with a bemused expression, then replied–and picture in your mind Bob Feller’s distinctive voice here–“No, that says New York, New York 1946. That’s when that picture was taken. I pitched a no-hitter in Yankee Stadium on April 30, 1946. Look at it again.” I debated for a moment asking him to add “no-hitter” to the inscription or even fix the “40” to look more like “46” but decided to leave well enough alone and just thank him and move along….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not a written unexpected addition, but I hope you enjoy the story. I got a ball beautifully signed by Ernie Banks. He was finishing a Snickers bar at the time, and inadvertently got a big wipe of caramel way around to one side. He apologized and gave an embarrassed look, but hey, if we ever need to clone Mr. Cub, call me.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I vended beer at Pirates and Steelers games in the 70s. We watched batting practice before the fans got in. Often when the players cracked their bats, we fought and scrambled to the dugout to ask for the bat. Once, Manny cracked his (he swung a huge bat). My friend beat me to the spot to ask him for his cracked bat. After he gave it to my friend, he saw me huffing and puffing seconds later. He went into the dugout, brought out an uncracked bat of his, and gave it to me. Manny is the MAN! We always rooted for him and loved it when his single in the second game of the 79 Series was the game winner.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My aunt met Ted Williams on a plane flight in 1983–or rather, my uncle did, and when he told my aunt who he was, she thought I would like his autograph and went straight to his seat. Ted was known to be abrasive at times like that, but he was in a good mood and asked, “What would you like me to sign?” She then realized she went to him with literally nothing to sign, or sign with.

    Williams saw the terror in my aunt’s eyes, laughed, and pulled out a pen, grabbed the cover of his friend’s “Sporting News” (back when it was a newspaper format) and signed the cover and gave it to her. So I assume I have the only picture of Nolan Ryan autographed by Ted Williams!

    Liked by 1 person

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