Before he makes his way to Hilton Head Island on Friday, former New York Yankees second baseman and South Carolina baseball coach Bobby Richardson will be in Camden today for the U.S. Postal Service's unveiling of a stamp honoring Baseball Hall of Famer and Camden native Larry Doby.
"You know, I went back and I was comparing Doby's career to that of Elston Howard, and it dawned on me, how hard that must have been," said Richardson, referring to the trials of Doby, a Cleveland Indian, and Howard, a fellow Yankee, as the first blacks to play in the major leagues for their respective teams.
"When we'd got to Florida, they couldn't stay at the hotel or eat with us," Richardson said. "I don't think I realized at the time how difficult that was. I think of how embarrassed I am now that didn't change earlier."
Richardson, along with former major league pitcher and Yankees teammate Dooley Womack, will be sharing more baseball memories and signing autographs from 2-4 p.m. Friday at Legends Sports Gallery.
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The autographs are free, and Richardson will be selling copies of his glossy pictorial magazine Bobby Richardson Rare Photos and Statistics.
At 6 p.m., the pair will be joined by a third former Yankee, island resident Bill Henry, for a sold-out dinner with fans at Frankie Bones.
Jerry Glenn, whose daughter Lori owns Legends, invited Richardson to visit the store and participate in the dinner through a mutual friend. He was surprised Richardson agreed so easily.
"He said, 'I'd be glad to,' " Glenn said. "When I asked what his fee was, he said, 'No fee, but if you can make a few bucks and donate it to my daughter's mission, I'd be thrilled to death.' "
Proceeds from sales of the magazine ($15 each) will go to Africa Inland Mission. Richardson's daughter and son-in-law are involved the mission, which supports a Christian high school in Kenya, where missionaries all over the continent can board their children of high school age while they are serving.
Richardson got the idea for the magazine several years back from some friends.
"Some of my friends were in town, and (Mickey) Mantle had put out a pictorial magazine some years ago," the Sumter native said, "and they saw it on my coffee table and they said, 'why don't we do that?' We sent letters to 100 people and 98 of them sent it back with their support and we had enough money to put the book out."
Richardson played his entire career in pinstripes, from 1955-1966, replacing Billy Martin as the starting second baseman in 1957. He was a seven-time AL All-Star, won five Gold Gloves from 1961-1965, finished second to close friend Mickey Mantle in the 1962 AL MVP voting and was the MVP of the 1960 World Series, the only time a player from the losing team has been honored.
In the 1960 World Series, won by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Bill Mazeroski's Game 7 home run, Richardson hit .367 with a home run and 12 RBIs. He played in seven World Series and was on three Yankees teams that won championships -- 1958, 1961 and 1962.
Despite his accomplishments, Richardson is still surprised at the attention he gets.
"The amazing thing for me is that I've been retired almost 50 years," Richardson said, "and those people have aged, but they remember those World Series. I'm just amazed after all these years, that wherever I go, they'll say I was watching on TV in 1960 when you hit that grand slam home run, or I saw that ball that you caught that (Willie) McCovey hit in 1962.
"And then, there are a lot of folks here in the state that remember I coached at South Carolina," he said. "And as a result, all of those USC people remember me, too."
YANKEES AT LEGENDS
2B Bobby Richardson and P Dooley Womack
2-4 p.m. Friday, Legends Sports Gallery, 1517 Main Street Village, Hilton Head Island
Autographs are free, Bobby Richardson's Magazine is $15, 8x10 photos are $7.50. Baseballs, pennants, books and other photos will be for sale, as well.
Proceeds from sales of the magazine go to Africa Island Mission in Kijabe, Kenya
About Richardson: Played for the New York Yankees, 1955-1966; seven-time AL All-Star; five-time Gold Glove winner; played in seven World Series, winning in 1958, 1961 and 1962; runner-up for 1962 AL MVP; Tied for most hits in a World Series, 13 in 1964; Has most RBIs in a World Series, 12 in 1960
About Womack: Played for the New York Yankees, 1966-68; started a triple play off the bat of John Roseboro on June 3, 1968 -- Womack to 3B Bobby Cox to 2B Horace Clarke to 1B Mickey Mantle; appeared in a then-record 65 games in 1967, compiling a streak, at one point, of 26 scoreless innings; Went 7-3 out of the bullpen in 1966; winning pitcher in game Mickey Mantle hit 500th home run; also played 1969-1970 for the Houston Astros, Seattle Pilots and Oakland Athletics
About Bill Henry (at Friday's dinner): Played for New York Yankees, 1966; pitched three scoreless, hitless innings; lives on Hilton Head Island