At the beginning of last month, I was fortunate enough to interview former Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Marvin Miller about his recent statement regarding the Hall of Fame. In the weeks since, the topic of mortality has been an all-too-prevalent one around here, underscoring just how lucky I was to pursue the 91-year-old Miller to talk while he’s still alive and kicking.
Alex Belth, who played no small role encouraging me to talk to Miller, was less lucky when it came to Eliot Asinof, and he recently lost a valued correspondent in the far younger Jules Tygiel. He fared much better, however, in talking to Ray Robinson, author of the biography Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in his Time as well as a host of several other sports books.
Alex not only got to meet Robinson, an octogenarian who’s luckily still very much alive, but to examine his pair of 75-year-old scrapbooks containing autographs and pictures — cut out of newspapers, magazines and baseball cards — of ballplayers of the 1920s and 1930s. At Bronx Banter yesterday he shared his account of their meeting while offering numerous photos of those unique mementos. Also included is a link to a recent New York Times piece written by Robinson about his volumes and his experiences hunting autographs from the likes of Honus Wagner and Connie Mack. You can’t go much deeper into baseball history than that. Amazing stuff.