Another Side to Wally Backman

wally-center1

Everyone knows Wally Backman is a bad guy. It’s a known fact. The guy is just bad news.

Right?

Not so fast.

Here’s a story of a bad guy doing something that you might not expect. And you certainly won’t be reading it anywhere else…

This past weekend – before he became the new manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, Wally Backman visited the Park Terrace Care Center in Corona – just a stone’s throw from Citi Field. (Ron Darling appeared at Park Terrace last Monday.)

Backman fielded questions from the Center’s residents for over an hour, sharing his thoughts on subjects ranging from his experience as a World Champion in 1986 to his feeble career homerun total to his opinion of Derek Jeter. Before leaving, he posed with each of the 30+ residents who had come downstairs to see him speak.

And according to my sources, Backman wasn’t compensated for the visit. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and several Yankees teammates were charging between $200-$475 for autographs in New Rochelle, NY.

Here are a few more photos secretly snapped by the paparazzi:

wally-center2

wally-center3

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. James K. November 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm
    In fairness to A-Rod, he made a ton of charity and children’s group appearances this past season and other seasons. I see nothing wrong with the autograph signing. Has Wally never signed autographs for $$$? Besides that, nice post.
  2. metsfan73 November 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm
    Great job! We have been touting Backman for manager. Would love to see him in Flushing one day. Thanks for spreading the good news of a great competitor.
  3. Kenny November 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm
    Good job by Wally! James K is right about ARod tho. For all his flaws, Arod seems like good people I guess. but Stiner sports (who are the ones that charge the $400 for the signing) are evil. EVIL!
  4. astromets November 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm
    That ticked me off a little to read about the charges for autographs, like they aren’t paid enough. A-Rod and all athletes should just sign stuff for the kids, and for free, when in person. He can do the signing of memorabilia that’s sold at some other time and place, but if he is going to be signing stuff then it is the kids who should get to go up to him and ask for it; so they can meet their hero. It means the most to them.
    Props to Wally!
  5. joejanish November 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm
    James – agreed on A-Rod. I didn’t intend to slap him or the other Yanks in the face, though re-reading it now I guess I did. The intention was to make clear that Wally did NOT get paid for this particular event, and that often players do charge for autograph sessions. Though I don’t know for sure, I wouldn’t doubt that Wally has been paid in the past for appearances at card shows, etc. But he mixes in plenty of charitable events as well — most (all) of which no one ever hears about.

    And as long as I singled out A-Rod in the post, I’ll mention here in the comments that I have definitely heard of him doing similar good deeds and giving freebies. In fact this link is to a GREAT story of A-Rod and Barry Bonds at an event several years ago — Bonds pocketed his earnings, A-Rod donated the entire amount ($750K) to charity:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/08/sports/baseball/08roberts.html

  6. ARod November 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm
    I banged Madonna. What else do you want me do for the elderly?!?
  7. joejanish November 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm
    Hey A-Rod, thanks for stopping by. Good point, but let’s try to keep this family friendly!