Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The curious case of Billy Mays Hayes

In the package that Paul of Scribbled Ink sent me, there was a curious card.

It was an autographed card of Bill Hayes of the Yankees, featured with a picture of Joe DiMaggio. I hadn't heard of Hayes, but that's not uncommon for some of the lesser known players of the '30s.
I also hadn't seen "Big League Cards" brand.

I had some digging to do.

From what I can tell, Hayes never made it to the Majors. The back of the card says that he spent 14 years in pro ball, but I assume they were all in the Minors. I can't find any of his stats, however. Perhaps I am not very good at Google.
That is a lot of "quotes".

The most info I can find comes from his obituary (credit: Amarillo Globe News):
Bill spent 16 years in professional baseball, starting in the spring of 1937, including two years in spring training with the New York Yankees. During his baseball career, he also served the Chicago White Sox, Boston Braves and Detroit Tigers. After the 1951 season, he appeared on the cover of the Sporting News magazine as the Minor League Executive of the Year. In 1954, he moved to Texas and became well known as a pioneer in developing a two-party state. He won the first contested Republican primary for lieutenant governor of Texas and delivered more than 1,300 speeches. In 1964, he was nominated unopposed as U.S. congressman-at-large and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention pledged to Sen. Barry Goldwater in his bid for the presidency. He flew with Sen. Goldwater to many cities, including Amarillo, where he spoke preceding Sen. Goldwater's address.
Interesting. It looks like he was obviously a very bright and well-rounded guy to play pro ball for so long, serve as a successful minor league executive, and then have a very accomplished career in politics.

As for Big League Cards in Teaneck, NJ, here is a Google image of the office since the address was listed on the card.
Upon searching, it is actually the brand of cards that Jim Bouton created! Check out the website here. It was most recently run out of Dayton, OH, although the link no longer works to order cards. But clearly the same card design!
My biggest question is where did this card come from? Did Hayes himself order a bunch of these as a keepsake for his career or to sign and give to fans? Did a fan order this to sent to Hayes for a TTM autograph? Who put the sticker on the back that says "Bill Hayes/Joe DiMaggio at Boston 1938"?

So many questions still unanswered, but this is certainly one of the more unique cards I've ever received from another blogger.


  1. Coincidentally, Nick sent me one of these cards a few weeks ago - interesting little oddballs, aren't they?

  2. Very intriguing. From the same newspaper, "Hayes is a man who owns a photo of himself standing arm-and-arm with Joe DiMaggio. The Yankee Clipper and Hayes dressed in Yankees uniforms at Boston's famed Fenway Park.

    This is the man who still receives phone calls from Joe's brother, former big leaguer Dominic DiMaggio.

    So what's up with the baseballs?

    "When I'm driving around neighborhoods, if I see a pickup baseball game, I like to stop and give those kids a baseball card and a baseball," Hayes said. "I bet I haven't given five away this spring and summer. Kids don't go out and just play baseball, anymore. Things have changed."
    There's a picture here of Bill at 89.

    1. Interesting! Thanks for looking that up. He was like a real life Moonlight Graham.

  3. I found it at the bottom of a random garage sale box of commmons here in Michigan.