I adore these three books. The world will be a better place next year when the trilogy is back in print, courtesy of Summer Game Books.
|The late Bob Will wanted a donation to
a children’s hospital for an autograph TTM.
However, he’d turn his reply into a Christmas
present, adding a photo, multi-page letter
or other surprises!
Please, stick with me. I need to do some thinking out loud.
I understand there are complete set autograph collectors. I understand some are team collectors. No matter what, the goal is to get one of everyone.
Whether that person wants to sign autographs or not.
I don’t view autographs as products. I know about eBay. I know about dealers and shows. And I know about fan mail handlers who convince once-free signers into charging, only to split the profits.
Sorry, I’m still idealistic. When I was in elementary school, I believed that the players who liked my letter replied, because of who I was and what I shared.
They, in return, shared their signature.
I still see autographs as gifts. We give a gift because of that connection, no matter how temporary or fleeting.
That’s why I don’t buy autographs or pay to coax the unwilling to sign.
I will share news of those sign-for-pay guys, especially those who are trying to benefit charity.
Meanwhile, I can’t shake the beliefs of the kid I was. I’ll keep sharing my stories in letters, hoping former players will do the same. Not because of the check enclosed or the autograph show ticket I bought.
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?