I drove over to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly this morning to spend some time with old friends at the Collector's Showcase of America sports collectibles show. Any reports you may have heard that the sports collecting hobby was dying are entirely premature - the place was jumping and very busy.
There was a star-studded array of autograph guests on hand, including Hall of Famers and Heisman winners, but I was intent on visiting with my Senators' pals of years ago who were signing autographs to benefit breast cancer research. Roy Sievers, Don Lock, Claude Osteen, Ken Retzer, Fred Valentine, Chuck Hinton and Jim Coates were all present, and I tried to talk with everyone, though my time was limited.
Speaking with Roy Sievers is always a treat. At 83 - he'll turn 84 next month - he's in shape, and as lively as anytime I've seen him in recent years. We talked about his swing: a smooth, almost hitch-less swing that produced 318 home runs.
"Ted Williams once told me I had one of the three best righthanded swings he'd ever seen," he told me, "and that's good enough for me." The Washington Post did a side-by-side photographic comparison once of Roy's swing and Bob Allison's swing, and they were identical. "That's because Bob consciously copied me," Roy said. "He had a pretty good career, too."
Chuck Hinton was sitting about 10 feet away from Jim Coates, and he leaned over and said "That guy always pitched me inside," he said, "way inside. He was big, too, and threw hard." Coates, of course, had his best years in a Yankee uniform.
Don Lock always enjoys coming back to the area from his home near Wichita, Kansas. "It always astounds me that so many people remember me," he said, "since so many of them seem, far too young to have seen me play." Lock hit 99 home runs in a Senators' uniform. I asked him if he regrets not getting to 100. "Nah, 99 makes it easier to remember, I think," he said. "Better they remember 99 home runs than 500 strikeouts."
Nats' skipper Jim Riggleman has told me multiple times that he'd love to be involved in a Senators' reunion at Nationals Park. These guys aren't getting any younger. It would be a wonderful gesture on the part of the ballclub, and would certainly please a large segment of the fan base.