By Michael Baadke
The start of the 2016 major league baseball season is only days away, and a new postmark from San Juan, Puerto Rico, pays tribute to the man who was the first major league player from Puerto Rico.
Hiram Bithorn was born March 18, 1916, in San Juan’s Santurce district. After a stint in the minor leagues and playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, Bithorn was picked up by the Chicago Cubs in 1942 and pitched his first major league game on April 15 of that year.
Bithorn served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and pitched in four major league seasons altogether.
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The 18,000-seat baseball stadium in San Juan, adjacent to Roberto Clemente Coliseum, is named Hiram Bithorn Stadium in his honor.
On March 18, the 100th anniversary of Bithorn’s birth, a pictorial postmark celebrating him, sponsored by SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research), was offered by the San Juan post office.
The postmark shows a baseball with Bithorn’s signature and the dates 1916 and 2016.
To obtain this postmark, address your request to:
BITHORN STADIUM Station, San Juan Distribution Office, c/o Supervisor SDO, 585 Avenue FD Roosevelt, Suite 110, San Juan, PR 00936-9681, March 18.
The following cancels are also available:
SHAMROCK Station, Postmaster, PO Box 9998, Ireland, WV 26376-9998, March 17. (“35th Annual Irish Spring Festival,” “Horseshoes,” circle containing shamrock reading “Ireland” and horseshoe reading “Irish Spring Festival.”
CIPEX 58 Station, Postmaster, 400 North A St., Richmond, IN 47374-9998, March 18-19. (Text only circular postmark).
KINKAID Station, Postmaster, 201 North 4th St., O’Neill, NE 68763-1517, March 19. (Large shamrock, Nebraska outline map).
MCKINLEY EX. Station, Postmaster, 675 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Akron, OH 44309-9998, March 19. (Open book, “National First Ladies’ Library”).
The following postmark received a 60-day extension:
AMERICA’S BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL PARKS Station, Postmaster, 101 W. Church St., Harrisburg, IL 62946-9998, Feb. 4. (American flag, treeline, circular design of park scene with flying bird, “Shawnee National Forest”).
The following postmarks received a 30-day extension:
BLACK HERITAGE Station, Postmaster, 7500 E. 53rd Place, Room 2204, Denver, CO 80266-9999, Feb. 14. (Mountain ridge, globe).
25 YEARS OF EKUSHEY FEBRUARY Station, Postmaster, 78-02 37 Ave., Jackson Heights, NY 11372-9998, Feb. 21. (Shaheed Minar monument, “Celebrating,” “International Mother Language Day,” “1992-2016”).
JAMAICA, NEW YORK Station, Postmaster, 8840 164th St., Jamaica, NY 11431-9998, Feb. 27. (Church exterior, “Richard Allen Black Heritage Forever Stamp”).
KNOXPEX Station, Postmaster, 1237 E. Weisgarber Road, Knoxville, TN 37950-9998, March 5. (Cannon, atom symbol, hilltop, “Conserving Our National Heritage”).
WESTFIELD STAMP SHOW Station, Postmaster, 153 Central Ave., Westfield, NJ 07090-9998, March 5. (Golf ball, golf club head).
DAFFODIL FESTIVAL Station, Postmaster, 351 W. Washington St., Suite 100, Camden, AR 71701-9998, March 11. (Daffodil bloom).
MAPLE FESTIVAL Station, Postmaster, Route 250, Monterey, VA 24465-9998, March 12-13. (Maple leaf, “Find your sweet spot Highland County Virginia,” “Maple Festival,” “58th Annual”).
RICHARD ALLEN SECOND DAY CEREMONY Station, Postmaster, 2901 Scott Futrell Road, Charlotte, NC 28228-9998, March 15. (Text only, “39th stamp in Black Heritage series, Richard Allen.”
Requesting pictorial postmarks is easy and fun. Share information by writing to Postmark Pursuit, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365.