Three Lessons From Former Players

Posted October 15th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in 1971 Topps, Dick Billings, Mark Dewey, Rich Billings, Ted Williams

Who needs fortune cookies? The hobby has been sending me messages! Such as…

1. This hobby is humbling: When Mark Dewey replied politely, he began his letter, “Dear Mr. Owens.” People called my Dad MISTER. That means I’m old?!?

2. Count your hits, not your misses: This coming week, I’ll share a fantastic reply from RICH Billings, the 1970s catcher. He made an incredible observation about Ted Williams. What I’ll try not to bemoan is how the envelope looked like an origami project run amok. Mister Billings had enclosed a card. Not since I put dupes in my bike spokes has such a result been seen. Nonetheless, I’m grateful to the Postal Service. This was my first disabled list envelope in eight months.

3. Don’t believe every card you read: If any of you write to Billings, note that he is not a DICK. The 1971 Topps card reproduced his signature as RICH BILLINGS. Still, Topps insisted on identifying him as “Dick.” Billings signs his autograph as “Rich.” Even his return address label confirms his first name of choice.

Readers: what lessons have your TTM responses taught you?

3 Responses to “Three Lessons From Former Players”

  1. Tony says:

    The main lesson I have learned is not to send items you can’t afford to lose. I mailed out a team photo with 7 signatures on it when a player appeared to be catching up with his mail. And I received a card from him earlier in under a week. So out went my photo. I’ve been waiting for it now for over a year…

  2. Tom Owens says:

    I feel for you, Tony. We don’t get second chances with choices collectibles. Even though your photo may be history, your experience can help others to send with caution.

    Years ago, I had sent self-addressed gov’t postcards to Joe DiMaggio, one for me and one for my brother. Only one came back in the mail. I wrote a humble follow-up, saying that I felt someone may have claimed the great one’s signed postcard before it was delivered. I sent one more postcard.

    The second postcard came back, PERSONALIZED.

  3. Tony says:

    I ended up buying another team photo, and I am going to start over again. Fortunately, of all the signatures I had on it, everyone is still living. It will just take a bit more work now to finish it. Onward and upward!

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