Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Dream Card, Courtesy of Coot Veal and His #1 Vealtone

Not too long ago, I received an email from Rick Veal. That's right, son of the famed frontman of this very blog, Mr. Coot Veal himself, the Cootster. Rick got a kick out of the blog, and that made my day. I wonder how the hell he ever stumbled onto this thing. As Rick said, it's amazing how lore keeps popping up about the Coot. And that's something I've seen and loved about the blogosphere--that we bring back the lore of the lesser-known players featured on these scraps of vintage cardboard. That's why I love this hobby.

Rick read my first post about how this blog got its name, and he saw a big problem: I was missing one of Coot's cards. Well, Rick was not pleased with this gaping hole in my collection, so he decided to send this:
I'd been wanting this card for a long time, but it was a tough one to find a decent price on. It's one of those short-printed cards from the 1963 set, and being the cheapskate that I am, I've been waiting endlessly to stumble on a good deal or trade. I'm glad I waited. Rick came to my rescue and sent this card. I can't believe he was so generous to send this, with UPS tracking, no less. Rick, thanks a ton. You've gifted this blogger his holy grail.

You probably noticed that this is not your run-of-the-mill Coot card (though no Coot Veal card could ever be run-of-the-mill). Oh no. Rick had this one signed by Coot himself.
A fresh Coot auto, just for me. You can see a bit of marker streak on the V and A, and that's how you know it's fresh. Coot signed and then it went right into the penny sleeve. The Coot has a nice sig, one you can clearly read. I love that he signed "Coot" here, rather than Orville.

There are a lot of differences between the signatures of 1959 Orville and 2011 Coot. He has a steadier hand now, a confident flow, because now he's the Coot. I imagine young Orville trying to make this signature perfect. You can see a bit of quavering in the O. I sense young Orville's excitement. And wouldn't you be anxious? He's about to start the majors. He's signing his first real baseball card.

There's a bit more personality to this card:
Someone penciled in the number sign. Maybe it was Coot. Maybe it was a Vealtone. But definitely it's another thing that makes this card special. This part of the '63 design is so great, the big red bottom and the yellow bubble where we get a posed action pic Coot. It eats up a lot of card, but with true retro gusto in screaming primary colors. And check out that gigantic D on Coot's hat. When was the D ever that big? Also note the bulge in Coot's cheek. Was he a chaw chewer? Going for the Guinness record for biggest gum bubble?

Onto the back of a card that keeps getting better and better:

Coot may not have been a power hitter, but, as the always-cool comic shows, he was a hell of a fielder. According to the ol', Coot had a lifetime fielding percentage of .976 as a shortstop. For comparison, Ripken had a career fielding percentage of .979. Not bad, Mr. Veal.

I also like that Coot had one home run in his whole major league career. One makes it special. One day like none other.

Lots of stories on one bit of cardboard. Thanks again, Rick, for sending the card. This is the new gem of my collection. It finishes off my Coot Veal player collection with a serious bang. I think that's it anyway. But the Coot pursuit will not end here, or ever. The Vealtones will jam on. Stay tuned for more encounters with the Coot.


  1. I was waiting for you to get to the "D" on the cap.

    Great stuff.

  2. Very cool story! Thanks for sharing. Maybe I'll rename my blog...Tino Martinez and the Martones? Kidding, but congrats on the great card.

  3. Awesome! I love it when relatives of White Sox players contact my blog. This is above and beyond. A great memento and a cool story!