Saturday, May 1, 2010

Autograph Tales:Harry Saferight

Harry Saferight appeared on his only Topps baseball card in the 1980 set. He was pictured with two other players on a "Pirates Future Stars" card. I had followed Saferight's career and was happy to see him on a Topps card. I never knew (or maybe I had forgotten) he actually made it to the majors with the Pirates in September of 1979.
Several years ago, I sent Saferight a couple cards, asking him to sign one and keep the other if he wanted. I also offered to get him a few more of his card if he wanted.
A couple weeks later, I received a nice note from Saferight.
He thanked me for the cards and told me that he was in the majors. He had spent September of 1979 with the Pirates. That included a trip to Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, Saferight never officially played in a game though. He was in the on-deck circle four times, but the batter made an out each time. Saferight never appeared in the majors again.
Players who made it to the majors, but never actually played are sometimes called "phantom players". They usually do not appear on baseball stat sites such as Baseball-Reference.com, although there is a movement to change that. Saferight (and any others like him) should be included with the rest of the major leaguers. He was on the roster, on the team, in uniform and ready to appear in a game.
I had followed Saferight's career, including seeing him play in person in Columbus in 1978 and Toledo in 1982. I also was at one of the games in Wrigley when Saferight was with the Pirates.
This is why I believe I just forgot. Everyone here knows I am an encyclopedia for backup catchers. Being that I followed Saferight's career, saw him play twice in the m
inors and was at one of the games in Wrigley, I just had to have known he was in uniform. It doesn't make sense otherwise.
Either way, I really appreciated Saferight's letter. I had a lot of fun following his career. It's always nice to get a little extra with any autograph request. In a near future post for Taking Care of Business, I will be highlighting Saferight again.
Harry Saferight's autographed 1980 Topps baseball card.

4 comments:

Mike Gonzalez said...

I remember him. He was caught in a logjam with Pittsburgh. They had Ott, Sanguillen and Nicosia.

White Sox Cards said...

I would love to see a list of "phantom players"! Great story!

Jim from Downingtown said...

I seem to recall Saferight's name popping up on one or more Phillies' (mental) spring training non-roster lists.

Johngy said...

Steve,
I'm sure this list isn't complete, but the link below is a partial list on BR-Ref

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Category:Phantom_Major_Leaguer

Jim and Mike-HS had several good years in the minors. I always wonder why a guy like him never made it to the majors. guess timing and luck play a part, too.