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Go Back Forums > Net54baseball Main Forum - WWII & Older Baseball Cards > Net54baseball Sports (Primarily) Vintage Memorabilia Forum incl. Game Used > Autograph Forum- Primarily Sports

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Old 08-08-2022, 03:51 PM
Hoy'sNoDummy Hoy'sNoDummy is offline
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 23
Default 532 ft Home Run Autograph - Hugh Willingham - 1930

I recently snagged this small photo of Hugh Willingham on ebay. It is signed on the back. Willingham played (as a bench player) for the White Sox and Phillies in the early 1930s.

The only reason I know about him is he was my grandmother's cousin. She gave me copies of some old press clippings when I was a kid.

Willingham blasted a 532 foot homer on Saturday July 12, 1930 in Dallas, Texas while playing for the Dallas Steers. He hit 39 homers that season.

This might be the most little-known tape-measure home run in professional baseball history! It is interesting the detail the journalist goes into on how they measured it and specifies the distance was measured to where the ball landed with no roll.

Anyway, thrilled to have a signed photo of my distant baseball relative from the early '30s.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg HughWillingham1.jpg (170.9 KB, 169 views)
File Type: jpg HughWillingham2.jpg (194.0 KB, 169 views)
File Type: jpg HughWillingham3.jpg (227.0 KB, 169 views)
File Type: jpg HughWillingham4.jpg (188.7 KB, 169 views)

Last edited by Hoy'sNoDummy; 08-08-2022 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 08-08-2022, 04:16 PM
dgo71 dgo71 is offline
Derek 0u3ll3tt3
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,191

That's awesome! I imagine he's not that common of an autograph to begin with, but to also have it have a personal meaning for you makes for a great story!
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Old 08-08-2022, 05:49 PM
Hoy'sNoDummy Hoy'sNoDummy is offline
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 23

OK. I'm interested in verifying this measurement as much as possible.

So I just pulled up some old photos online from Steer Stadium in Oak Cliff, across the Trinity River from Dallas (later Burnett Field).

These aerial photos were taken that very same year, in 1930 and are similar to Google satellite view today.

Pulled my tape measure out haha - I'm sure there are more precise ways to measure this on the computer, but here you go.

Photo #1 -
The LF line was 329 at this stadium, so for reference 329 feet = 1.625 inches (see white arrow) - The top of the levee is very visible beyond LF as there is a white line/path on top (right at the 2 5/8 inch mark on the measuring tape)

So 1 inch = 202.46 feet.

Photo #2-
2.625 inches = 531.45 feet (see white arrow - the 532 foot measurement as described seems very plausible, given the description).

This would place the ball well up onto the levee beyond the stands as described. Willingham was a right-handed batter and the outfield stands do not extend past left-center field, according to these photos.

So the ball must have been hit to straight away left or slightly toward left-center.

Photo #3 - This was taken in 1932 - showing the stadium, levee and river.
I put a white x on there as a possible landing spot up on the levee.

Ok. I'm done. Admittedly I got WAY too into this
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Homer1.jpg (202.9 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg Homer2.jpg (182.1 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg Homer3.jpg (19.0 KB, 149 views)
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Old 08-08-2022, 06:19 PM
BillyCoxDodgers3B BillyCoxDodgers3B is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,502

Funny, I own a couple of different autographs personalized to the same collector.

In case any of this information is new to you, Hugh had the following occupations:

--Minor league manager
--Scout for the White Sox
--Undersheriff, Canadian County, Oklahoma
--First National Bank, El Reno, OK (not sure in what capacity)
During WWII, he was employed by Haliburton Oil Well Cementing Co., Duncan, OK
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Old 08-19-2022, 02:39 PM
tha-rock tha-rock is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 99

Bob Himes was a collector who lived in the Philadelphia area many years ago and sold baseball autographs, mainly 3x5s and cuts. His sales lists were typewritten and Xeroxed (remember that term?) and mailed to collectors on his mailing list. His lists were, like Jack Smalling and Conrad Anderson's, torture on the eyes but Bob sold things inexpensively and had a lot of players, so if you were looking for a 3x5 and Bob had it, it was usually cheaper to buy it from Bob than to write to the player yourself.
These were the days long before the internet, so the only way of advertising was in the few trade publications that were available, or by direct mail. I bought many, many autographs from Bob over the years.
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Old 08-19-2022, 04:21 PM
BillyCoxDodgers3B BillyCoxDodgers3B is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,502


Thanks for that info! Somehow, Himes' name has never come up outside of a couple of personalized pieces. If you deal in 3X5s regularly, Jack, Conrad and Jim MacAllister's items appear with great frequency. They were the three main dealers of that era based on the sheer volume that still survives to this day. You'll see them all on a daily basis without looking very hard, yet this is not so with Himes. I wonder why that is. I've dealt with a LOT of this material over a very long time, so to learn of such news this late in the game is equally surprising and enjoyable.

Should you ever find one of his sales lists among your material, I'd certainly love to read it! Same goes for any of the other guys mentioned, although I have already spent a lifetime reading Jack's lists.

Last edited by BillyCoxDodgers3B; 08-19-2022 at 04:25 PM.
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dallas steers, home run, tape-measure, texas league

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