AAGPBL Calls: Girls Leaguers Still Sign!

Posted August 14th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in AAGPBL, Belles of the Ballpark, Diana Star Helmer, Summer Game Books

A book deadline is calling.

I need to say, “See you in September.” Not forever, but only until I can help get one epic story back into print.
Meanwhile, you’ll find an archive of more than 900 posts here to keep your summer sizzling.
When I return, I’ll have news about the much-anticipated new and expanded edition of Belles of the Ballpark, thanks to talented co-author Diana Star Helmer and Summer Game Books. The AAGPBL survivors who are still physically able are signing by mail, by the way. I heard from 13 who answered questions for the book. Some were 90 and above. Write to these wondrous women soon.
Thank you for your support of the blog since 2010. I’ve always insisted that I’m about the stories behind the signatures, instead of mere autographs.
You’ll see more of why this project has been so important this fall. When September call-ups happen, I’d be grateful if you’d promote me back to your active roster.

Goodbye, Detroit Tigers Catcher Bob ‘Red’ Wilson

Posted August 11th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in Al Kaline, Bob "Red" Wilson, Frank Lary, www.sportscollectors.net
To the end, he signed first name and nickname.

Gotta love those 1950s players

Bob “Red” Wilson passed away Aug. 8. He didn’t write me the longest reply in 2010, but it was one of my most memorable returns.
I wasn’t alone. The last check at the ever-reliable www.sportscollectors.net says that Wilson signed 131 out of 135 requests.
The 1950s players are going fast. They feel a special obligation to fans, even those not born when they played. 
Plus, so many from that decade never stopped being fans. Wilson wasn’t big on discussing himself. Ask about Frank Lary or Al Kaline, and he lit up. When you’re writing to the men of the 1950s, don’t forget to ask about the stars they admired.

Mind-Melding With Future Seattle Mariners: Insights From An Appalachian League Clubhouse Manager

This is a baseball first for me.

My friend. On his own baseball card!

Lynn “Chipper” Cripps is the real thing. He deserves a real card.

The clubhouse manager told his Facebook universe about his Pulaski M’s, Seattle’s Rookie League affiliate. On Tuesday, he shared news that the Choice minor league team set had arrived.

Plus, he noted that he started getting autograph requests himself. “Gotta laugh,” he added.

I asked what he saw from the young players surrounding him. His response:

“The guys were super excited as l was to receive our first batch of ball cards. There were card collectors and autograph seekers at our stadium the first day the Appalachian League cards came out. It’s a blessing to to have a picture of yourself on a ball card, kind of an awestruck type moment. Most of the guys are first-year players, so they were super pumped. I have probably signed about a dozen ball cards so far for people who have came to our home games. Since the cards just came out the other day, lm sure the actual fan mail card/autograph hounds will be sending them via mail shortly. Yes plenty of Sharpie pens around here, pal. The biggest thing for fans to remember is be patient and respectful when seeking an autographed card from a player or staff member.”

Lynn reminds every one of his friends with mere-mortal occupations that he loves his job. However, he’s mentioned that his life as a “clubbie” can feature 17-hour days. That’s right. He’s logged hours of 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. during homestands. Therefore, getting fan mail to players might be just one umpteen daily duties he tackles.

Therefore, especially when writing to youngsters in the low minors, realize that teams will do the best they can getting letters to players. That’s the patience he hints at. And, when you’re deciding if you just want player autographs, realize that the clubhouse manager loves baseball just as much as anyone in that starting lineup. Unsung heroes are worth collecting, too.

Thank you, Chipper!