It was a short conversation. There was a game to play. A future to map. Nevertheless, he wanted to thank me for my letter of support.
In 2002, when I sent a batch of 100 thank-you letters to my favorite past and present baseball players in the shadow of a possible player strike, I used “official” stationery. My letterhead included my phone number and email address.
I did not enclose SASEs. I wasn’t expecting written replies, let alone phone calls. But the calls came. Ted “The Famous Chicken” Giannoulas, Jimmy “Toy Cannon” Wynn and fellow Iowan Kimm, interim Cubs manager. Others sent e-mail.
Well, why have I stopped adding that contact info with the current letters I send?
I never thought of saying, “Excuse me. I want to record this for posterity.” Or, I would hate to miss a meaningful impromptu call in the bathroom. Besides, I can’t imagine trying to tell a career highlight story on someone’s answering machine.
And e-mail? E-mail begs for brevity. I’ve gotten three page heart-felt letters from retirees. I have a hunch they’d never fill screens with as many details. I predict that someday collectors will have albums filled with e-printouts. But not me.
There’s something special, something permanent, about what comes in that return envelope.
How would you feel, readers, getting phone calls or e-mails, instead of replies in your SASE?