Entries tagged with “Cleveland Indians”.

When I recently posted a picture of the world’s most valuable baseball that I had recently secured in a bidding war on the interweb thingy, and gave details behind some of the the autographs, I received a deluge of calls, e-mails, registered letters and personal appearances from rabid fans seeking to curry favor.

All were passionate pleas to see the ball, buy the ball—even touch the ball, which is like asking to touch the Mona Lisa to see if the paint’s dried! Preposterous. All offers were denied, with a ready supply of scorn and snide commentary.

Still, to appease the masses, I will give you another glimpse of some of the other luminaries who have inscribed this priceless relic.

Click pic for closer view of baseball history!

Frank Zappa signed the ball in 1984 following a game in which he played centerfield for the San Francisco Giants. Zappa played the entire game on stilts, robbing batters of six home runs. He also stole four bases, Amazingly, the stilts had no cleats.

Ed Asner, the man who brought “Lou Grant” to fleshy dyspeptic life, signed the ball twice. The first, after umpiring a 1978 game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies, a game that is the only one in recorded history that ended in a tie, 0-0, after one inning of play. “Both teams played so well,” Asner said, “it seemed a shame that one had to lose.” So, he used his unlimited umpire powers to call the game (apparently Asner was a much softer touch than his Lou Grant character). The second autograph followed a 1981 appearance as a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians. He hurled a perfect game and ate 56 hot dogs with kraut in nine minutes and washed them down with 19 beers, a major league record.

Lady GaGa. The recording sensation played shortstop for the New York Mets in a game against the Atlanta Braves in 2009. She played flawlessly, turning six double players and throwing out five runners. Unfortunately, she was only one for five at the plate. “I probably could have gotten more wood on the ball,” she said after the game, “if I didn’t have this parrot sewn onto my uniform. Or these traffic pylons stitched on the front of my uniform. Oh, well, what are you going to do– got to look good, right?”

James Joyce penned the ball after playing third base for the Cincinnati Reds in 1911. The legendary Irish scribe had an unassisted triple play, hit for the cycle and wrote a novella in the dugout waiting his turn at bat. “I like baseball,” he told reporters following his impressive game, “but I like writing me tales perhaps a wee bit more.” With that, he spat his chaw, grabbed his typewriter and never cast a shadow in a ballpark again.

Tony Bennett, the legendary Italian crooner, autographed the ball following his incredible performance singing the national anthem before the 1988 World Series game #3 between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bennett held the final note of the song for an incredible 16 minutes 42 seconds while juggling five baseballs and spinning a flaming hula hoop around his hips. Many believe this record may never be beaten.

Charo (A.K.A. María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Hinojosa Rasten). The “cuchi-cuchi” queen played right field for the San Diego Padres against the Montreal Expos on June 28, 1978. The game stands in the record books as being the only game ever played by a player in high heels, and one of two games in which a player sported a sequin dress instead of the official team uniform (trivia experts are challenged to name the other). Charo made many amazing plays and threw out three players at home plate with her incredible canon of a right arm. As a batter, she walked, hit two singles, a triple and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt.

Garth Brooks. The country superstar appeared as a Seattle Mariner in a 1995 game against the Detroit Tigers. In his first at bat, he was beaned, knocking his cowboy hat off his head. Brooks was awarded his base along with two Grammies and five CMA statuettes. He later collapsed.

Al Capone signed the baseball in 1926 following his appearance with the Chicago Cubs. He was a pinch hitter who batted appeared with the bases loaded. Capone stood in the batter’s box and gunned-down the pitcher with a Thompson submachine gun. He then waved the runners home and trotted around the bases as stunned fans and players watched. This is the only grand slam ever recorded where the bat did not touch the ball.

Julia Child inked the ball following her 1965 appearance as a Washington Senator. She was used as a pinch hitter in a game against the Cleveland Indians. Ms. Child was hit by a pitch, awarded her base and proceeded to steal second, third, and home plate scoring the winning run. “I couldn’t be happier,” she said in her sing-song voice after the game, “although I have a knot on my head the size of a pheasant egg. My goodness, that smarts like the dickens! I need four fingers of bourbon and a fistful of bennies to set me straight again.”

Ol’ “Hawkeye” Pierce, Mr. Alan Alda, signed the baseball following his appearance in a 1976 game in which he was a pinch runner for the Boston Red Sox in a tied game. Alda stole second base but felt guilty about it. Showing incredible empathy and compassion for the opposing team, the Chicago White Sox, he returned to first base. It is the only known incidence of a stolen base being returned. The Red Sox lost the game in extra innings. Mr. Alda has not been terribly popular in Boston since.

Secretariat, one of the world’s most beloved thoroughbred racehorses, was a pinch hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals in a game against the Houston Astros. Unfortunately, the Triple Crown winner had a poor showing, being called out on strikes. Many fans questioned the move by manager Red Schoendienst, thinking a horse with such great speed would have been better utilized as a pinch runner instead of a hitter. The Cards skipper said the move was “totally unexpected” and “brilliant” and that “had it paid off, the stupid fans would keep their idiotic yaps shut like they oughta.” As for Secretariat, he kicked dirt on the umpire following the called third strike and trotted off the field proudly leaving a trail of momentos.

Kim Novak, the “Vertigo” starlet, made big news when she appeared as the center fielder for the Kansas City Athletics in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. The batting beauty struck out in all four at bats and committed eighteen errors in the field, a record that still stands. “I guess baseball’s not my game,” she said afterward in a locker room interview. Her teammates consoled her and told her not to worry about it. They said she’d feel a lot better after a long, hot shower. A very long shower. And that’s what makes baseball great–– teammates who care!

A priceless gem, now in my possession. Click for close-up.

I have successfully bid on and now own the rarest baseball EVER. I share this picture with you for posterity’s sake––and to make you envious.

This is the ONLY known baseball signed by a solar system of diverse luminaries including: Vic Tayback (Mel in “Alice”) who threw an 18-hitter for the Pirates against the Reds in ’84. His breaking balls weren’t breaking so well.
Tommy Smothers (Dickie’s little brother) had an unassisted triple play for the Mariners in a ’77 game against the Angels. Smothers didn’t even wear a glove and smoked a pipe of Cherry Blend tobacco throughout the entire game–– even when batting!
Mr. Ed, who in 1964 became the only horse to every steal home plate in a game the Tigers played against the Orioles. He almost trampled O’s catcher John Orsino to death. Orsino ironically had the nickname “horse” and laughed about the incident from his hospital bed. Well, some say it wasn’t laughter so much as moans of agonizing pain and suffering, but the story is still classic. Mr. Ed rarely gave autographs, making this baseball an invaluable sports relic.
Dan Rather hit six home runs playing for the Indians against the Yankees in ’92 (he weighed 278 at the time and looked like the Michelin Man, but it was never proven the newscaster took anabolic steroids– so there!)
Kate Hepburn lept 13 feet over the centerfield wall for the Dodgers to rob Hank Aaron of a home run in ’81 (allegedly, Aaron hasn’t watched any of her movies since!)
Keith Moon. The madman drummer of The Who in 1976 played two innings at shortstop for the Kansas City Royals and compiled nine errors and hurled sick on two umpires. Moon was ejected from the game and immediately bought a tray of ice cold beers.
Paul Lynde, “Mr. Middle” of Hollywood Squares fame pitched six games for the San Francisco Giants in 1973 with an incredible ERA of 0.62. The management of the Giants begged Lynde to join the roster, but he declined. “If I’m going to play games, I’ll play Squares, thank you very much,” he said flippantly adding his trademark cackle. Those fans who saw Lynde pitch said he was an incredible hurler with heat, precision and balls that broke like nobody’s business.
Cher, the woman who defines diva, was the designated hitter for the Yankees in a game against the Royals in ’89. The singer had four at bats with a long drive to left center that was caught, a triple down the right field line, a ground rule double over the centerfield wall and a towering home run into the left field bleachers. “If I weren’t such an incredibly talented singer and gifted natural actor,” she told reporters after the game, “I might just wear some pin stripes full time. They’re slimming on the butt. Hey, Mattingly– buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, ’cause I don’t care if I never get back!”

Those are just a few of the autographs on this priceless item I now own. I will not disclose how much I paid for this baseball, but let’s just say it was a king’s ransom and a queen’s 401-K. But, I am a tough negotiator– I got the seller to throw in some magic beans. Later I’ll give you a peek at some other famous names on this baseball.