I enjoyed reporting on the all-star accomplishment of player-turned author Jim Campanis Jr., sharing all the reasons his Born into Baseball (Summer Game Books) memoir is a winner.
Seeing how he’s hit the road with dad Jim Campanis Sr. (whose major league career stretched from 1966-74), I wanted to ask Jim the game plan for his book tour. Following his appearances at minor league games in Walla Walla, Everett and Bellingham, here’s his reply:
Q: What’s your schedule on the road?
A:” I’m having fun and selling books. The schedule is locked through mid-July. Jakes Pizza in Saratoga CA @5p on 7/8 and the San Jose Elks Lodge @10a on 7/9. More tentative dates are ready to confirm but I need to be sure I have enough books!!!”
Q: Snooty bookstores sometimes add to their author signing ads with “the celeb author will only be signing copies of his latest book (so don’t you dare bring anything else to get autographed).” That’s the intent, at least.
If someone comes to buy a book, are you willing to sign cards, photos and etc. for them, too?
A: “Of course! My dad and I enjoy interacting with the people we meet and sharing our story. It’s been a blast and we’ve signed many items besides books.”
Q: No cost to talk baseball with you and your dad?
A: “As I mentioned–my dad and I enjoy interacting with people and many decide to buy the book after hearing a story or two. To our surprise, many moms and grandmas are buying the book due to some of the inspirational stories. That’s been quite a cool thing knowing I can help inspire young people to love baseball a little bit more.”
Autographing all-star Jim Campanis Jr. will have his baseball memoir published in 2016 by Summer Game Books.
The (second) catcher known as “Campy” is a born storyteller. Being the son of Jim Campanis and the grandson of former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis gives him many unique perspectives on the game.
I asked him about how cards and autographs have changed since his dad played. Jim replied:
“I have fond memories of my dad’s cards. The 60’s and 70’s were a time when every kid was mass collecting…but my dad had cards, so that was EXTRA cool.
One year he agreed to a deal with Topps and instead of money chose a full set of Black & Decker power tools that I used for years!
When players from my dad’s generation would arrive at the ballpark, there would be stacks of fan mail in their lockers and dozens upon dozens of balls to be signed. It took a while to sign them all and everyday a new batch of balls and fanmail would be back to sign.
When I started playing…those 60’s and 70’s era kids were now adults who learned how to make money with their hobby and card collecting hit its “Golden Era.”
By the time my first card hit in ’88, card shows were all the rage. My dad NEVER did a card show as a player. But I did like 4 in my first season and a bunch more by the early 90’s.
Now with ebay and Craigslist I see cards I have signed go for about $2 a card. That’s down from earlier years due to an overwhelmed market where there are literally millions of cards for sale and not enough buyers.
Today…many current players and former star players demand payment for autographs. I suppose if hundreds of people wanted my autograph a day, it would be reasonable to ask for a fee. But for me and my dad…we do it for free.
I still think having the cards is a cool thing and I enjoy sharing the fun with the collectors.”
Make room on your bookshelves for 2016. This is one autograph, and author, worth collecting!