Mourning Ryan Freel, Gone At 36

Posted December 24th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Ryan Freel, www.sportscollectors.net

He signed autographs like he played: wild, unpredictable, all out.

Ryan Freel is dead. An apparent suicide.

According to www.sportscollectors.net, Freel responded to just 30 of 106 recorded TTM contacts, the last being in April, 2009.

Look hard at the autograph request letters you send. Be sincere. Be honest, But make sure that you make it clear that you think that each person matters, not just each autograph. The recipient might make a difference in your collection. You might make a difference in his future

See you in January.

Baseball’s Best Broadcasters: Collecting Ford Frick Winner Autographs

Posted December 21st, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Brian Flam, Ford Frick Award, Jack Buck, The Autograph Card

Brian Flam (www.theautographcard.com) brings new hope to the TTM hobby. He pointed out one attractive subset of baseball history that many autograph buffs have overlooked: the Ford Frick winners, as honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Although many early pioneers have died, Brian noted that he’s had good success through the years writing to broadcasters in care of their teams.

I agree. I treasure the bonus photo I received years ago from Jack Buck. He added “HOF 1987” and “Go Crazy Folks.”

Who’ll be the next names on the list? Get them early.

1978 Allen, MelMel Allen New York Yankees
1978 Barber, RedRed Barber Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees
1979 Elson, BobBob Elson Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Mutual
1980 Hodges, RussRuss Hodges New York/San Francisco Giants
1981 Harwell, ErnieErnie Harwell Detroit Tigers
1982 Scully, VinVin Scully Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, NBC
1983 Brickhouse, JackJack Brickhouse Chicago Cubs
1984 Gowdy, CurtCurt Gowdy Boston Red Sox, NBC
1985 Canel, BuckBuck Canel New York Yankees, New York Mets
1986 Prince, BobBob Prince Pittsburgh Pirates
1987 Buck, JackJack Buck St. Louis Cardinals, CBS
1988 Nelson, LindseyLindsey Nelson New York Mets
1989 Caray, HarryHarry Caray St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs
1990 Saam, ByBy Saam Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics
1991 Garagiola, JoeJoe Garagiola NBC
1992 Hamilton, MiloMilo Hamilton Houston Astros
1993 Thompson, ChuckChuck Thompson Baltimore Orioles
1994 Murphy, BobBob Murphy New York Mets
1995 Wolff, BobBob Wolff Washington Senators, NBC
1996 Carneal, HerbHerb Carneal Minnesota Twins
1997 Dudley, JimmyJimmy Dudley Cleveland Indians
1998 Jarrín, JaimeJaime Jarrín Los Angeles Dodgers
1999 McDonald, ArchArch McDonald Washington Senators
2000 Brennaman, MartyMarty Brennaman Cincinnati Reds
2001 Ramírez, FeloFelo Ramírez Florida Marlins
2002 Kalas, HarryHarry Kalas Philadelphia Phillies
2003 Uecker, BobBob Uecker Milwaukee Brewers
2004 Simmons, LonLon Simmons San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics
2005 Coleman, JerryJerry Coleman San Diego Padres
2006 Elston, GeneGene Elston Houston Astros, CBS Radio
2007 Matthews, DennyDenny Matthews Kansas City Royals
2008 Niehaus, DaveDave Niehaus Seattle Mariners
2009 Kubek, TonyTony Kubek NBC, Toronto Blue Jays
2010 Miller, JonJon Miller Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants, ESPN
2011 Van Horne, DaveDave Van Horne Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins
2012 McCarver, TimTim McCarver New York Mets, ABC, CBS, Fox

“The Autograph Card” Guys Provide Arizona Fall League ‘Graphing Update

Interaction.

It comes with a good letter. For in-person autographing, fast and hectic becomes the norm. Good luck hearing anything more than a “here” or “thanks” from the signer.

I love how “The Autograph Card” products allow us to collect anyone’s autograph. That opens doors to conversations. Here’s an attractive, affordable item that anyone would love to sign.

The pair behind the idea do more than sell. They collect. They use it all the time. Here’s proof:

Thanks to Brian Flam for these 2013 AFL insights.

“When Graphing the AFL my #1 tip is also my top advice for all minor league graphing: Keep your eyes open! Some of my best Graphs over the last 10+ years graphing the AFL have come in the stands. The fact that many former players still work in the game in some for (Coaches, Scouts, Agents) along with the amount of former players who live in the area mean you never know who will be in the stands out in Arizona! This year we were fortunate enough to ink Rickey Henderson while he was watching the A’s prospects. We had seen him several times over the last few years, and we finally hit a day where he decided to pick up a pen.
 
But Rickey is an extreme case, there are many lesser known players (both Major and Minor League) in the stands at all AFL games. Especially if a player is related to a major leaguer keep an eye out for there relative, as we’ve seen many Fathers watching there children over the years. Some notable Fathers have been to watch games in recent years (Roger Clemens, Carney Lansford, Kevin Romine) some ‘big names, and some ‘not so big’.

Tom Lasorda, Dave Stewart, Eric Davis, and even Jenny Finch (Watching her husband pitch) have been spotted at AFL games.

Along with never knowing who you’ll see at a game, I can work in a plug: I always carry blank signature cards! This year my two favorite signature cards I had signed were: Richie Shaffer, Tampa Bay Rays #1 draft pick this past June. He didn’t have many ‘mainstream’ cards out (his lone card is a 2008 Team USA U-16 card shared with two other players). He was not only nice enough to sign for all that asked, he took the time to talk to each person, and came off as very genuine. Another of my favorites was Roland Hemond, he was the first recipient of the ‘Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement’ Award given by the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
 
It might be too late for Santa, so do it yourself. Refill your stockings with some gems from The Autograph Card.
 
Coming Friday: Collecting Ford Frick winners.