Handwritten Versus Typed Letters

Posted March 5th, 2013 by Tom Owens and filed in Bob Will, Jack Smalling

I was ready to switch.

Wanting to break my TTM slump, I thought about going to ALL handwritten letters.

I haven’t yet.

Why? I think it depends on who’s getting your letter. Is it someone with bad eyesight who’ll wince at my penmanship? The late Bob Will, a Cub who became a bank executive, said that typed letters were easier to read.

However, reluctant signers might suspect that you know the magic powers of a computer. To them, the lack of handwriting signifies that you’re running a 24/7 operation, mass-producing autograph requests. In fact, whether it’s a current or former player, someone who’s never typed might think you’re being lazy and impersonal by bypassing handwritten correspondence.

The only fact I’m convinced of is this: write the envelope by hand. I seem to remember from years ago that Jack Smalling tried offering pre-addressed labels from his baseball address list for a fee. I liked the temptation of speed, but knew the impression wouldn’t be favorable.

A hand-addressed envelope is a good first impression. Once the envelope is opened, you’ve got a real chance, even if you used crayon.

Readers: do you use handwritten or typed? Why?

5 Responses to “Handwritten Versus Typed Letters”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Handwritten letters. I use 3×5 cards for my letters and I can write them out quickly and readable. I have a stamp of my name and address that I put on the SASE, but I handwrite the name and address of person receiving my autograph request. In my letter, I ask a question that would be simple for the recipient to answer. I am amazed at how many guys sign, but do not respond to my question regarding their career.

  2. I’m always handwritten, and keep it on a short page. It feels more personal, in my opinion.

  3. First off I just want to say I really liked your idea of using unique colorful envelopes picked up cheap after major holidays from card stores. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’ll be on the look out for some.
    Second I for one hand write all my requests. It just seems to me that it lends a bit of sincerity. Although I can see the lure of convenience typing would have and if your handwriting is bad. I do agree about handwriting the mailing address too and if the player opens the envelope well you’re halfway home.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been seeking TTM autographs since I was in school, and typing wasn’t an option then, so I always hand wrote. I continue to now partly because I think, as you pointed out in the post, the ballplayer might think I’m mass-producing. The other reason is because I’m used to it and can churn them out pretty quickly.

  5. Greg says:

    I wrote by hand at first, but once I started typing, I could never go back. It is just so much more efficient. I always include information that shows my knowledge of and appreciation for that specific player’s career, and I’ll always include either a picture of the player himself or the team logos of every team he played for.

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