A collector, part of Cooperstown?
That’s one fascinating possibility lurking within the correspondence collection kept by the National Baseball Hall of Fame research library. The 25-page list produces many surprises, none of which may be on public display.
Everyone knows that Hall of Famer Don Sutton has been a reluctant by-mail signer for years. Well, the HOF owns a hand-written letter from the pitcher, offering advice to a young player in 1966. An article from the period documents the exchange.
Players like Jackie Robinson saved letters of support from fans. Browsing the list, I found one fan wrote Robinson six times from 1952-55.
Sure, the archive includes lots of business letters: owners, commissioners, journalists.
However, none of those official missives would match a single hand-written bit of correspondence between players and fans.
That’s the joy of Baseball By The Letters.
Except, it’s not for sale. Never will be, either.
The Jackie Robinson Papers were donated to the Library of Congress by Rachel Robinson in 2001.
More than 7,000 items make up this collection. Most importantly, correspondence makes up a healthy part of the collection. Fan mail from around the world.
Jackie’s own editing on the manuscripts for his two biographies.
Who knows? Some player’s wife might be collecting the letters you send, too!
Collectors and fans ask often:
What do I write former players about? What should I ask?
Simple. Spring training!
Short major league careers might hide the fact that someone was a one-year wonder in the Grapefruit or Cactus League. After all, they had to do something great to get their shot at the bigs.
What are their best spring training memories? What was their best pre-season day ever?
Asking is free. Be prepared to be amazed.