Philadelphia A's auction seeks biddy bodies

Shantz
Shantz
Posted: August 26, 2014

ERNIE MONTELLA attended his first Philadelphia Athletics game in 1943.

It was the start of a love affair that continues today.

Montella was co-founder of the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society, which closed its museum and gift shop in Hatboro in April of last year after a 15-year run.

Former players were known to pop into the place from time to time. They'd also showed up at the society's annual breakfast to relive glory days with each other and fans.

Sadly, said Montella, the players are dying off, or are simply too old to commit to personal appearances.

In November, the society will publish the final edition of its Along the Elephant Trail newsletter. And this Saturday, it will host its final event - a live collectible sports auction at the Days Inn conference room at 245 Easton Road in Horsham at 10 a.m.

Montella said at its height, the society had 900 members from 44 states and five countries, 200 of which were former players.

"When you lose all of your heroes its hard [to keep the society going]," the 80-year-old Montella said last night. "Lou Brissie, Joe Astroth, Eddie Joost, have all died. They were always there when we needed them. Not one of those guys ever turned us down when we asked them to make an appearance."

That includes Bobby Shantz, a lefthander from Pottstown who started his major league career with the A's in 1949 and ended it with the Phillies in 1964. Montella said the 88-year-old Shantz has graciously agreed to show up at Saturday's auction.

Montella said items at the auction, which aren't solely A's related, won't have minimum bids, They include illustrations by renowned sports artist Ronnie Joyner, complete sets of factory-sealed trading cards from 1970-90 and Hartland figurines and bobbleheads commissioned by the society, including a unique Chuck Bednarik figurine that shows him as a Penn Quaker and an Eagle.

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