Spring training: the perfect question for any retiree

Posted February 20th, 2017 by Tom Owens and filed in Atlanta Braves

Freddie Freeman was a generous autograph signer in 2016’s spring training. Every spring training creates great memories and “what if?” possibilities for players who may never see a day in the bigs. Seek the untold stories! (Photo credit: Arturo Paravila III/Wikimedia Commons)

“He didn’t have much of a career. What can I write to him about?”

These types of questions come yearly from through the mail collectors, or from fledgling journalists and historians wanting to write some kind of a profile of a little-known “cup of coffee” player.

Always, I give the same two-word answer: SPRING TRAINING!

In Florida or Arizona, in every pre-season, countless players yearn for a shot at the majors. Some mount big debuts, only to find a career saddled in the minors. Nevertheless, others cultivate friendships with well-known stars.

Most of all, spring training is the first time a player’s dream seems real.

What does the player remember from his first spring training? WHO does he remember?

Those stories never show up in stats. However, those stories can give baseball history a whole new meaning.

An amazing letter from a Girls Leaguer

Posted February 13th, 2017 by Tom Owens and filed in AAGPBL, Belles of the Ballpark, Diana Star Helmer

It’s time to tell the rest of the story.

I was thrilled to come along for the ride when my wife Diana Star Helmer readied a new edition of Belles of the Ballpark (Summer Game Books) for 2016 publication.

I was racing against time, trying to get surviving players to reply by mail. Diana believed untold stories remained in league history.

One overlooked detail by AAGPBL historians is the fascinating range of jobs these players found after baseball. Pitcher Erma Bergmann (who passed away in 2015) served decades on the St. Louis police force.

I congratulated her on her public service as a police officer. That might be why she concluded her letter this way:

“I never hit a prisoner during my career and I never stole from any drunks.

Love,

Erma”

Asking is free. You never know what details you’ll unearth!

 

Pitcher Bob Allen rewriting baseball autograph hobby history?

Posted February 2nd, 2017 by Tom Owens and filed in Bob Allen, www.sportscollectors.net

Do you think the stone-faced 1960s hurler would crack a smile at the thought of someone paying his new signing fee?

Time for an update…

Pitcher Bob Allen, back in 2013, was shocking through-the-mail collectors by demanding $100 per autograph.

What about today?

One hobbyist on the always-cool www.sportscollectors.net reported that Allen wants $500 per autograph.

If anyone gets a response from Allen that includes WHY anyone should pay $500 for his autograph, I’d love to know.