Meeting A Pair of Legends

Bobby Shantz and Curt Simmons

Bobby Shantz and Curt Simmons

Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet a pair of Philadelphia pitching legends - Curt Simmons and Bobby Shantz - at Carl's Cards in Havertown.  Amazingly, though both are in advanced age and have been active participants on the autograph circuit, it was my first time meeting either Golden Age hurler.

Upon arriving at Carl's, I found the pair busy signing 8"x 10" photos.  With the signing session winding down, most collectors had already passed through the small card shop - which meant I would have a little time to personalize my visit.  I brought an old official National League baseball that my dad found at a flea market years ago and was anxious to discuss it with the men.  

The ball is neatly inscribed, "June 12, 1949 - Phillies vs. Cards.  This ball pitched by Curt Simmons and fouled by Harry Brecheen." Approaching the signer's table I started the conversation with, 'My dad found this ball at a flea market - and, it says it was pitched by you in 1949...' Mr. Simmons cut me off, "Don't believe it!"  Followed by a laugh.  Carl read him the inscription (Mr. Simmons had forgotten his glasses), and Simmons' face softened with a smile as he admitted - "Well, I guess I could've..."  The four of us continued to examine the ball for a minute or two, covering topics ranging from how it was period-appropriate and the fact that Harry Brecheen was a "heck of a good pitcher."  Finally, the old Whiz Kid took the ball in hand and signed the side panel.

I moved down the table and presented Mr. Shantz with a Second Edition 1964 Phillies Yearbook.  Originally bought on eBay with a few signatures already on it, I have diligently added to it with new ones over the past four or five years.  With Bobby Shantz in blue Sharpie on the cover, I now have 13 autographs!   

Manny Trillo Visits Carl's Cards

The only controversy connected with former Phillies second baseman, Manny Trillo is his inclusion as one of the five traded for Von Hayes in 1982.  During his tenure in Philly, Trillo was awarded an NLCS MVP (1980), three gold gloves (1979, 1981, 1982) two Silver Slugger Awards (1980, 1981) and appeared in two All-Star Games (1981, 1982) and one World Championship (winning in 1980).  That would be enough for most careers – but, for the former-Phillie, it was just a small part of a 16-year career that spanned 1973-1989.

Mr. Trillo was back in the Delaware Valley last weekend, checking in at Carl’s Cards and Collectibles in Havertown.  It has been a few years since he was here.  In fact, it’s been so long that in the time since I last met him I have started and almost completed two full 1980 team projects – a team photo and the Reunion poster.  And from the sounds of it, I must not have been the only one looking for him.   “So many people have asked for him that we knew we needed to make it happen,” Lauren Henderson of Carl’s Cards told me. 

For those who have not had the pleasure, Trillo is a welcoming autograph guest – posing for pictures, starting conversations and shaking hands.  A small shop with an old-time feel, Carl’s Cards provides the perfect setting for such interactions.  With autograph guests wedged in opposite the main showcase and surrounded by team-specific memorabilia – signings are an intimate affair.  And, unlike the convention hall signings, customer-guest interactions are encouraged.  It was nice to stop and chat for a minute.

Not knowing when I would catch him next, I brought three different 1980 projects for Mr. Trillo to sign: the 1980 Reunion poster, and team picture and a new project started during last summer’s Alumni Weekend.  The team photo has been a labor of love, with all but one other autograph coming via TTM (including Steve Carlton).  I am now down to four living players.  I’ve made similar progress on the Reunion poster – needing a different combination of four players.  Since I have never mailed the Reunion poster, it has been much more expensive to assemble. 

Carl's Cards Kicks Off '12 Days of Christmas'

Cliff Lee signed home plate   (photo via

Cliff Lee signed home plate 

(photo via

Carl's Cards in Havertown kicked off their '12 Days of Christmas' promotion today with a bang!  The first deal, a custom, wood home plate display signed by Phillies All-Star pitcher, Cliff Lee for $40 lasted only six hours before selling out!  If this teaches you anything - you need to act quickly to ensure you don't miss out on one of the remaining 11 deals.

The best way to keep track of the daily deals is to either follow Carl's on Twitter, or Facebook - or, of course, either of my pages...  I am looking forward to seeing what Carl pulls out for the next week or so!

How to Buy:

  • Stop in-person at the store: 22 West Eagle Road  Havertown, PA
  • Calling Carl's: 610-789-4996
  • You CANNOT purchase these items on their website

Small Print: 

  • One item per person, while supplies last
  • Supplies are limited
  • Purchases are done on a first paid basis