Bob Addis Was Thinking Outside the Box

I like autographed baseball cards. Ones from ’52 Topps are even better. The cards include a facsimile signature as part of the design, a feature that makes the cards attractive. Collectors of signed ’52 cards sometimes use an eraser to remove the facsimile and have players apply an actual signature to this tailor-made space.

Someone found a wonderful example of card #259, carefully removed the facsimile, and sent it to former Brave/Cub/Pirates outfielder Bob Addis. He signed the card in the same manner every as every other example I have seen: Across his uniform and above the box containing his name.

I laugh a little at this every time I pick up this card. There’s something I find humorous about skipping over the ready-made signature area of the card and using a ballpoint pen. It’s almost as if Mr. Addis set down a half-finished crossword puzzle, signed the card, and went back to figuring out the seven letter answer to “Person with no business anywhere near the ballpark” (Answer: M-A-N-F-R-E-D). I had a distant relative from the same era who played for the Philadelphia Athletics who signed autographs in just this way.

Addis hit for a solid average (.281), but didn’t have a lot of power. He only seemed able to hit home runs against the Brooklyn Dodgers, taking both Don Newcombe and Joe Black deep.

His military service includes a lesser-known station: He served part of his tour of duty in China.

An Interesting Bob Addis Card

Addis did not appear in many baseball card sets as his career only spanned four seasons. He appeared in the 1953 Topps set, which prompted his inclusion again in 1991 when the company released a retrospective reprint of the cards under the name “Topps Archives.”

These cards are very interesting to me as my lackadaisical autograph-signing relative also appeared in the same Archives set. Before he passed away, he told me Topps had asked for a release to print the card, paid him a small amount, and dropped off a stack of about 50 copies of his card when the set was finished printing. Unlike the original 1953s, these were extremely glossy and his ballpoint pen did not do well with the slick surface. Did this phase him? Absolutely not. He signed the whole stack with ink washing around inside the indentations made by the pen and collecting in random spots. I like to imagine Bob Addis would have taken the same approach.