Thursday, January 26, 2012

Autograph Tales:Larry Colton

I first knew of Larry Colton in 1977, when I read his first book Idol Time, a profile of the NBA champion Portland Trailblazers. At the time, I did not realize that Colton had pitched in the major leagues.  I liked that Trailblazers team and I really enjoyed the inside look at the season.
Years later, I realized that Colton had pitched for the Phillies in 1968.  He appeared on a 1968 Topps Phillies Rookie Stars card.  He was traded to the Cubs in 1970, although he never made it back to the majors.
I read Colton's next book, Goat Brothers, a look at his life and the lives of four of his fraternity brothers.  The book is wonderful.  It is funny, poignant, informative, reflective and much more.  I have read it a couple times since.
On a side note, Goat Brothers also contained a short story on Colton's trade to the Cubs.  Colton's page on Baseball Reference did not mention this trade.  I notified the staff there and eventually they added it to his page.
Colton has written two more books.  The first was Counting Coup, his account of life on the Crow reservation in Montana.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well.
The second, No Ordinary Joes, was published recently.  It deals with the lives of four submariners from World War II.
Colton has also written many articles for various publications.  Additionally, he is a founder of Wordstock, a literary fest in his hometown of Portland (OR).
I wrote Colton a while back asking him to sign his baseball card.  He returned it very quickly and added a promo piece for Counting Coup, along with a short note.  I appreciated the extra note with the signed card.  More importantly, I appreciate Colton's writing.  I really hope to make it to Wordstock someday to meet Colton in person.

1 comment:

Jim from Downingtown said...

In the interests of full disclosure, Colton pitched ONE game (2 innings) in the majors.

This is surprising, since he seemed to have above-average stats during his 6-year minor-league career, and the Phillies had quite a few suspects filling the 10-man pitching staff in those days.