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What’s all this?

It all started with a box of keepsakes my father kept on his closet shelf, far from the dirty hands of his only son. The box was full of magic, as far as I was concerned, and I spent many a day staring at it on that ledge, just out of my reach, hoping he would take it down again and show me the treasures it held within. What as in it, you might be asking? Well, I will tell you. It was full of wonder. Postcards and baseballs and other things from the baseball players he had loved to watch when he was a child. Pictures like the one of Ted Williams (above) or Stan Musial.

Scan 173 copy (1)

Or Red Schoendienst

Scan 176

After years of looking at my father’s collection, I got the idea to start my own. Initially this involved me trying to get Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski to write me back. My campaign involved numerous yearly letters as well as Christmas Cards, but Yaz was never that interested in becoming my pen pal, so I chose to move on to others and there were certainly plenty of successes. However, one thing that stood out to me when I was a kid was that I could never really get the players to write back to me. Yeah, it was great to get back an autographed card, but what I was really looking for was a little bit extra. Maybe just a few words on a piece of paper, telling me about their careers and what it was like when they played, maybe an entire letter. Whatever the case, I decided I should try for more.

This led to the questionnaire. The idea is not to take up too much of anyone’s time. In fact, it should just take a couple minutes to answer the questions. But it was a ready-made form that would get a response in a way that simply asking questions in a letter did not. Over the years, the questions have changed a little, and there have been times when more than five were included, but for the most part the same core questions have always been asked and the many answers I have gotten back have been amazing.

Of course none of this was ever supposed to be released into the wild. I figured it was just a nice way for me to pass some time and continue the collection my father started in the early 1950’s. But, a job posting for a person to collect the oral histories of World War II veterans eventually convinced me otherwise. While they are certainly short, some more-so than others, these documents still are micro-histories of the men who played the game of baseball in their own words. These are not just the stories of the players we have come to know so much of. Yes, there will be all-stars here, but there will also be journeymen and guys who only ever got a cup of coffee in the majors. When I worked as a sports editor, I liked to say that no one sport ever held more importance in any paper I worked for than any of the other sports. This meant I paid as much attention to the local cross country runners as I did to the football team. That is the case here. All of the stories are equal and hopefully, equally enjoyable.

I have started the site off with a few entries, but will be adding more in the coming weeks and even more as I get more back in the mail. I hope to add oral history video in the future as we get out into the field and interview some of these men in person. I dream that one day we will have a completed questionnaire from every living person who played Major League Baseball. While I know this is not going to happen, for reasons of time and cooperation, it does not mean I cannot try – and have fun in the process. So, take a look around, and make sure to check back regularly for your daily dose of baseball history.

The push to 600

Friends, first of all thank you for all of the support over the years. It means a lot and helps us preserve the stories of all the players we’ve featured on this site. I am excited to report that yesterday we published our 589th player feature (Mike Stenhouse). That means we’re just 11 players away from 600! In order to help us reach this milestone, I figured I’d do some fundraising. We still have a little swag left over in the form of t-shirts and hats and we continue to get the random LFHP business card autographed by players we wrote to. So, here is what I’m prepared to offer in way of rewards.

Every person who donates $5 will get one LFHP card autographed by a random player. If you have a favorite team, let me know and I will try to send you one from a player who played for that team, but no guarantees. I have a lot of them, but I’m not sure I have one for every team in MLB. Here’s a look at a few we still have. I believe they are Jerry Turner, Ken Forsch and Glenn Hoffman.

For every $5 you donate, you’ll get another business card.

Second level is the LFHP t-shirt. Donate $25 or more and I’ll send you a shirt. (Was going to do $20, but have to cover cost of shipping.) We don’t have a lot of these left, but we’ve got enough to cover basically any size from S-XXXL.

Sorry they are wrinkled, but I’m not really an ironer. (Is that a word? Should be.)

Donate $30 and we’ll send you a hat. Only four of these left. (Again, had to go a little higher to cover shipping. These are New Era snap backs.

Finally, if you can chip in $50 or more, I’ll send you a hat, a shirt, some autographed cards and an LFHP sticker!

As always, this money will be put right back into the site to purchase supplies (stamps, envelopes, cards, etc.), pay our web site fees and, if we raise enough money, used to promote the site on social media.

Guess that’s it. Thanks so much for reading! It’s a lot of fun working on this and I love to hear from everyone who loves baseball’s history as much as I do.

To donate to our push to 600, click here for PayPal or Venmo me @Chris-Grant-192

Once you’ve donated, shoot me a message, either on here or on our Facebook page and let me know which reward you want and a mailing address. I will get it out to you ASAP.

Mike Stenhouse

1985 Topps

Stenhouse appeared in 207 games for the Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox from 1982-1986. In 416 at bats he hit .190 with nine home runs. He had the best year of his career while playing for the Twins in 1985. Stenhouse hit .223 with five home runs that season.

Stenhouse played with Pete Rose on the Montreal Expos in 1984. Rose got hit number 4,000 on April 13 in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Stenhouse did not appear in the game.

Mike Stenhouse – career stats

1986 Topps

Rick Peters

1981 Topps

Peters spent parts of five seasons in the majors, playing for the Detroit Tigers and Oakland A’s, between 1979 and 1986. In 307 games, Peters hit .277 with two home runs and 20 stolen bases. He was a starter for Detroit in 1980, playing 133 games, mostly in the outfield. He hit .291 that season with both of his home runs and 13 steals.

Peters’ first home run came while playing for Detroit on May 27, 1980. He came up in the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and Mike Griffin on the hill for the Yankees. Peters’ grand slam cut New York’s lead to 9-6, but the Tigers could not complete the comeback and ended up losing the game by the same score.

Peters helped the 1977 Arizona State baseball team win the College World Series.

Rick Peters – career stats

1984 Topps

John Pacella

1981 Topps

Pacella pitched for five teams during parts of six seasons in the majors. He broke in with the New York Mets in 1977 and finished with the Detroit Tigers in 1986. In between he also played for the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles. In 74 games he posted a 4-10 record with a 5.73 ERA and three saves.

John Pacella – career stats

1983 Topps

Randy Scarberry

1980 Topps

Scarberry pitched for two seasons (1979-1980) for the Chicago White Sox. In 60 games, he went 3-10 with six saves and a 4.50 ERA. He threw 101.1 innings as a rookie for the ChiSox and posted a 4.62 ERA. Scarberry pitched professionally from 1973-1980.

Scarberry faced the Toronto Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium in his first-ever big league game. He entered in the fifth inning, in relief of Lerrin LaGrow, and pitched 3.2 innings to earn the win. He gave up four hits and one run. The White Sox put seven runs on the board in the top of the seventh, thanks in large part to a Bill Nahorodny double, to get the victory for Scarberry.

We featured Mike Proly in 2018.

Randy Scarberry – career stats

Courtesy Randy Scarberry

Brent Mayne

1991 Donruss

Mayne caught for 15 years in the majors, playing for the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1990-2004. In 1,279 games he hit .263 with 38 home runs. He enjoyed the best year of his career while playing for Colorado in 2000. He appeared in 117 games that year and hit .301 with six home runs, 64 RBIs and 36 runs scored.

Mayne got his first hit in his first big league game. He was playing for the Royals against the Minnesota Twins in the Metrodome on Sept. 18, 1990. He singled off Scott Erickson in his first at bat to drive in Sean Berry in the top of the third inning. His hit helped Kansas City to a 3-0 lead, but the Twins came back and won the game 10-4.

Mayne caught Bret Saberhagen’s no hitter on Aug. 26, 1991. He was an All-American at Cal State Fullerton and is a member of the Orange Coast College Hall of Fame.

(“Unit” = Randy Johnson.)

Brent Mayne – career stats

1992 Fleer

Swings and misses

1984 Topps

Howard Bailey pitched in 50 games for the Detroit Tigers from 1981-1983. In 118.2 innings he posted a 6-9 record with a 5.23 ERA.

1987 Topps

Nate Snell pitched for four seasons in the majors, breaking in with the Baltimore Orioles in 1984 and finishing with the Detroit Tigers in 1987. In 104 games, he went 7-6 with a 3.29 ERA and five saves.

1989 Donruss

A five-time all star, Tim Wallach spent 17 years in the majors, playing for the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers and California Angels from 1980-1996. He hit .257 with 269 home runs and 1,125 RBIs. Wallach twice won the Silver Slugger award, first in 1985 and again in 1987. In addition to being a fine hitter, he was also a great fielder and was awarded the Gold Glove for third basemen in 1985, 1988 and 1990.