Who is this? Phil Linz, a 1960s major league infielder for the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets
What is this? An autographed card from the 1967 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Linz and asked him to sign it. He returned it in a little over a week. It's my first autograph of 2010.
How much did it cost? Approximately $2, between the cost of the card & postage
Why is this so special? Phil Linz was never a star. He was a utility player who came along near the end of a Yankee dynasty. Most baseball fans wouldn't remember him today except for one story involving a harmonica.
After a Yankees loss in 1964, Linz was teaching himself to play the harmonica on the team bus. First-year manager Yogi Berra didn't feel that this was appropriate, so he told Linz to stop. Linz didn't hear what Berra said, so he asked teammate Mickey Mantle. Mantle told him to play it louder. Linz did, Berra flipped and the press turned it into a bigger story than it deserved to be.
Berra and Linz were reunited on the 1967 Mets, and they staged a photo to commemorate the harmonica incident that Linz now includes on his business cards. He also includes a musical note after his autograph, which is pretty unique and shows a sense of humor.
For more about Phil Linz, check out this article on Baseball Savvy.