Thursday, April 3, 2008

1960 Topps #524 Bill Henry

Baseball season has begun, so let's look at a card from a Cougar ballplayer. But this isn't just any Cougar, this is the first Coog to make the major leagues, Bill Henry.

Bill Henry played for UH's first baseball team in 1947, but he only played one season. He played 16 years in the majors as a pitcher, primarily as a reliever. In 1960, he made the National League All Star team. In 1962, he pitched in two World Series games. Click here for career stats.

That's interesting enough, but there are some odd stories related to Bill Henry. First, is the story of how he was scouted for the pros. The story goes that he made all-state in high school as a basketball player, but his school didn't have a baseball team. He was signed after a scout saw him pitch in a fast-pitch softball league. That's a great story, but I'm curious how pitching at UH fits into that timeline.

The wilder story is the premature report of his death. Evidently another person named Bill Henry had been pretending to be the baseball player for decades, fooling even his wife. Upon his death, it was reported that he died to the great surprise of the real Bill Henry and his family. UH's Bill Henry is still alive and well, but here are a couple of stories about his fake death:
Major League Fake
Untimely Death

Today's card is the 1960 Topps #524. This is not his rookie card (1955 Bowman) and it doesn't mention UH like his 1961 Topps card, but I love the look of this card. The front has a head shot with a stadium backgroun and an "action" shot with a yellow background. The back contains season and career stats as well as season highlights.

1 comment:

Joannes Paulus said...

I remember the story of the fake Bill Henry dying and the real one being found alive and well. I never saw any mention of him being a fellow Coog though.

A great part of this blog is that it serves as some kind of archive for UH sports. Keep up the great work.