FanPost

OT Friday. Not getting Roger Maris' autograph.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports


The people here at Royals Review are lively and opinionated, which is just in line for my taste with baseball fans. I do have my doubts about the young immortals who hang out here, however, since few have suffered Kansas City baseball going back to the Athletics. I claim to be one of the older people here. This dubious honor makes me either a butt of jokes (Stefen Romero), or some strange visitor from another planet. I will tell a true story, then I will attempt some OT Friday.

Back in 1966, I went with a friend to the Muehlebach Hotel with the intention of getting autographs from the New York Yankees. Both of us were clean cut kids, but the doorman stopped us before we entered. The doorman asked our business, but I flashed two new Little League baseballs and told him the honest excuse that we wanted to get autographs from the Yankees. He let us enter with the stipulation that we had to stay in the lobby and could not under any circumstances enter the restaurant.

The 1966 New York Yankees finished in last place, so they were a team in transition with many new faces. I sat with my friend in the lobby and looked around and right away I mentioned to him that some fellow reading a newspaper looked familiar to baseball card collectors. I approached the guy and asked, "Lou Clinton?" Lou Clinton seemed surprised that someone could pick him out of a police lineup and appeared happy to see us. He signed the baseballs with a smile on his face.

The Yankees were basically heading down to the restaurant late in the afternoon in preparation for a night game with the Athletics. Including Lou Clinton, the baseballs got autographs from sixteen of the twenty-five Yankees before it was time for us to leave for supper. We did not see Elston Howard or Roger Maris. Roger still had friends in town. We did get two more autographs.

I suppose we were polite and maybe the word got around that these two kids knew their Yankees. Very late in the day, a fellow with a fancy suit approached us and asked, "Do you want to meet Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford? They are in the restaurant."

I explained to the guy in the fancy suit that we were told that we could not go into that forbidden territory. The fellow (I figured out eventually that he was the maitre d'hotel) assured us that, "The restaurant is my responsibility. Follow me."

Back in the deep corner of the old Muehlebach Hotel, special guests in the restaurant were hidden from common view. Our guide led us through a long path of mere peons eating dinner into the secret realm where a draw of the curtains revealed Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford. We had a visit for a minute or two before they both signed our baseballs.

I don't know what a Little League baseball signed by 18 of the 25 last-place 1966 Yankees is worth. It would be worth more if it had included Elston Howard and Roger Maris.

Questions:

1. What is your most valuable baseball autograph?

2. Could you pick out a fourth or fifth outfielder for the Yankees today?

3. Should the Royals kiss and make up with Frank White and how should they do so?

4. Who is the most friendly Royals player you have ever met in person?

5. I guess all OT Fridays must have a musical question. What Beatles 6th inning song besides "Kansas City" should have been included in the voting?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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