Sunday, June 6, 2010
#2) GEORGE ALTMAN
George Altman was traded along with Bill Wakefield by the St. Louis Cardinals to the the New York Mets in exchange for Roger Craig on November 4, 1963. The timing of the trade placed Altman on the team during the first season at Shea Stadium and his second spot in the batting order on Opening Day 1964 made him number two in the autograph project.
The former two-time National League All-Star with the Chicago Cubs was brought in to provide a left-handed power bat in a line-up that sorely needed one. George would hit the second Mets' home run in the new ballpark's history on May 6, 1964. It was surprisingly one of only nine home runs that George would deliver for New York in his 124 games that season. His 47 RBIs spoke more to the overall poor offense of the club.
Altman was traded back to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Billy Cowan on January 15, 1965. The left-fielder remained with the Cubs until taking his baseball career to Japan in 1968. There he played for both the Lotte Orions and Hashin Tigers teams during a seven-year stint. "I had a lot of injury problems with the Cubs," Altman said. "When I went to Japan I got in better shape than most of my teammates. I worked out a little harder than most. They used to get on me a little bit for trying to show them up." The slugger earned All-Star honors five times before retiring in 1975. He hit more than 200 home runs during that time.
George had been a member of the Negro League team, the Kansas City Monarchs before reaching the major-leagues. The manager of the Monarchs was Hall of Famer, Buck O'Neil and Altman was also privileged to have a very famous teammate. "To be on the same team as the legendary Satchel Paige, and to sit around listening to him tell stories, was something." recalled George. "He used to brag about how he could hit. He could hit a little bit too."
After his baseball career, George returned to Chicago where he worked for the Board of Trade. Following that Altman has run a pre-paid legal services business and traded commodities out of his home near St. Louis, Missouri. All while volunteering with the Boys Foundation and mentoring youth within the community.
George Altman signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on November 14, 2008.