Who is this? Virgil Trucks, a former major league pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Athletics and New York Yankees
What is this? An autographed card from the 1956 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Virgil Trucks and asked him to sign it; I got the autographed card back about two weeks later.
How much did it cost? A little over $4 for the card and postage.
Why is this so special? This is the oldest card in my collection, signed or unsigned.
Virgil Trucks threw two no-hitters during 1952, only the third pitcher in major league history to accomplish that feat at that point in time. He won 177 games, and easily might have won more if he had played on better teams more often. He finished with a career ERA of 3.39 and twice led the American League in shutouts.
For more about Virgil Trucks, check out this interview at Baseball Almanac.
Virgil Trucks is also special because he is one of those former baseball players who really seems to enjoy hearing from baseball fans. When I wrote to him, I asked if he still follows baseball today and if so, who was the best pitcher in the game today.
He included a short note saying that he was glad to sign the card for me. He also wrote that it is difficult to say who is the best pitcher in modern baseball because they all only pitch five or six innings. He also added a signed card commemorating his two no-hitters and a signed postcard promoting his book.
If I reach age 92, I hope my handwriting looks that good. (Who am I kidding, it doesn't look that good now.)
You just have to love the version of his autograph on the postcard with the fire truck stamp and his nickname written in red ink. Pat Neshek is the only one I can think of who does anything near that clever with his autograph.