Saturday, October 19, 2019

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Chuck Thompson

I wasn't going to buy anything for quite a while.  I have been trying to save money, and be able to pay for Chris's braces when they are finally put on next month.  I had two different friends offer me two amazing deals on some signed baseballs, so I couldn't pass them up.

The first baseball was an absolute steal that my good friend, Cal, offered me.  His reasoning was that he wanted the baseball to go to a true Orioles fan, and didn't want me to pass it up.  Fair enough.  Cal had actually shown me the ball a while back, and I helped him identify some of the signatures on the ball.

It is a Baltimore Orioles team signed baseball from what appears to be 1994. I would have already been interested in the ball, if it only contained some Orioles players, but whomever got this ball signed (Cal got it from his neighbor who collected when he was a kid) had it signed by Hall of Fame broadcaster, Chuck Thompson.

Thompson was to the Orioles what Ernie Harwell was to the Tigers; Jack Buck was to the Cardinals; Vin Scully was to the Dodgers; you get my point.  I missed out on a good deal on a Thompson single-signed baseball a couple years ago, and regretted it.  When Cal told me Thompson was on this ball, and at the price he offered, I jumped all over it.

Thompson (b. 1921 - d. 2005) began his broadcasting career in 1939, in Reading, PA.  His career was interrupted by a stint in the Army in World War II, where he fought at the Battle of the Bulge.  He resumed his career in 1945.  Beginning in 1946, he called all home games for both of the Philadelphia baseball teams (A's and Phillies).  In 1949, Thompson was hired to broadcast games for the International League Orioles (the O's were not yet a MLB franchise) and the Baltimore Colts.

When the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, Thompson was unable to broadcast Orioles games because their broadcasting rights were owned by a rival corporation.  The company hired Ernie Harwell to broadcast the games, but wanted Thompson to be a part of the broadcast, so he ended up working alongside Harwell beginning in 1955.

From 1957 to 1961, Thompson called Washington Senators games with Bob Wolff.  Thompson would return to the Orioles, and broadcast their games from 1962 to 1987.  During his time with the Orioles, he would call games for two World Series Champions, five AL pennants, six AL East titles and only one losing season.

Thompson would come out of retirement in 1991, to call games part-time for the Orioles, but would retire for good in 2000.

Thompson received the Ford C. Frick Award (which makes him a Hall of Fame broadcaster) in 1993.

Thompson passed away in 2005 after suffering a stroke.

Other players/personnel on the baseball include: Peter Angelos, Elrod Hendricks, Rafael Palmeiro, Harold Baines, Lonnie Smith, Arthur Rhodes, Mark Eichhorn, Mark Williamson, Chris Hoiles, Alan Mills, and Leo Gomez.

Thompson becomes my 147th Hall of Famer on a baseball.  Thank you so much for the deal, Cal!

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