Remembering the two faces of departed Detroit Tiger Dave Bergman

Posted February 16th, 2015 by Tom Owens and filed in Dave Bergman, Detroit Tigers, www.sportscollectors.net
I love this 1982 Topps, not just for
the facsimile autograph, but
the hint that Bergman might
have been signing for fans in the stands
FOR FREE!

Dave Bergman’s death at age 61 may maintain a hobby mystery.

The famed 1984 Detroit Tigers role player continued his devotion to youth baseball until the end. Anyone who met him in the Detroit area seemed charmed by his enthusiasm and sincerity.
His feelings about autographs weren’t so clear. 
Check the fascinating www.sportscollectors.net for insights about Bergman’s differing signing habits. He was charging for autographs by mail as early as 2010, ending with a $7 per fee. 
Previously, he tried to maintain a limit of one autograph per fan letter. Other cards would be returned unsigned, if at all. And, years ago, I saw him express to a reporter that he didn’t want to answer any questions by mail.
The moral of this story? So many collectors pursue stars first. Don’t assume that only the top names in the game will become tougher signers in later years. 

The answer to back-signed autographed cards?

Posted February 12th, 2015 by Tom Owens and filed in Bob Schmidt

I heard from a reader this week asking about two retirees who autographed his cards unexpectedly.

One signed on the reverse. Another signed the penny sleeve-holder, instead of removing the card.
When writing to the elderly, don’t hesitate to use post-it notes or diagrams to help indicate how you’d like the item autographed.
In fact, I’ve wondered if anyone has ever explained about using baby powder to remove the gloss from a card. If a former player has suffered one skipping Sharpie or ink-bubbled autograph, they may never want to sign the front of an item again.
In the previous post, I wrote about Mrs. Bob Schmidt. Chances are, a wife may be helping to open mail. Make it easy on both of them.

Catcher Bob Schmidt’s greatest teammate ever?

It’s been 50 years since he
was on a baseball card. One ailing
catcher isn’t ready to forget
fans yet.

I’d nominate Mrs. Schmidt.

Justin Evans at the popular Baseball Autographs Facebook group posted a questionnaire response from Schmidt’s wife.
Justin hadn’t gotten the word that Schmidt’s health lessened in 2013. 
A stroke and Parkinson’s disease make autographs impossible for Schmidt. However, despite not being able to sign, there’s no stopping his devotion to the game.
After all, this is someone who ranks at 101 replies in 106 collector attempts at the amazing www.sportscollectors.net website.
Five questions were answered, followed by the closing in a wife’s handwriting:
“We thank you for being a fan. Sincerely, Mary Ann Schmidt.”
When you get an autograph or a note back, remember that two people may be deserving of gratitude. A wife may be just as delighted as you with the idea of an autograph. Why?
Because she remains that retiree’s biggest fan.