Sunday, April 24, 2011

Autograph Tales:Paul Splittorff and Buck Martinez

It was a very cold night either early or late in the 1973 or 1974 season. The Kansas City Royals were in Chicago for a game against the White Sox.  I think it rained a bit before or during the game.  I have tried researching the exact date and I think it was either 10/1/74 or 10/2/74.
My dad took my friend Tom Skalski and me to the game and we were sitting by the Sox dugout.  At some point before the game started (or was it during a rain delay?), we went to the concourse and ran into Paul Splittorff and Buck Martinez, two of the Royals.  They were in full uniform, but I am not sure what they were doing.  It certainly wasn't an organized autograph session.  I swear, they were just getting food at the concession stand.  I did get autographs on a scorecard I still have somewhere.
Looking back, it was very odd to see the players in that area, although at the time, I don't think we thought about that.  Why would they be there?  It still boggles my mind.
The White Sox won the game and Sox centerfielder Ken Henderson made a great catch at some point.  The attendance was horrible (less than 5,000 at either game).
The wins allowed the Sox to finish at 80-80 for 4th place.  It was a forgettable season, but that game remains one of my favorite (and earliest) memories of baseball.

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