Scott Pose Clues In Collectors

He looks like an
all-star in this
action pose!

I read about journeyman outfielder Scott Pose in the Sunday newspaper.

What jumped out at me was an answer to people asking about his role in baseball’s past.
He said, in part:

“On occasion they will. I keep it pretty low-profile. I rarely bring it up.”

Although noted that he had signed 14 of 19 TTM requests, Pose has gone through long dry spells, taking months to respond.

Like Terry Mathews, discussed in yesterday’s post, Pose may have more pride in his current work (baseball analyst for Big Ten Network and Durham Bulls).

I’m guessing Pose might be skeptical of a letter raving about his 1990s playing time. Mention his current contributions, even writing to him c/o Durham Bulls, might hike your chances for a reply.
I’ll be trying him soon.

Of course, it pays to read every note in a bio. Pose is a Hall of Famer. He belongs to the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association HOF. Let’s hope my Iowa postmark gets his attention.

Coming Thursday: Tom’s newest ’10 Most Wanted’ list.

Terry Mathews, Hero After Baseball

Mathews autographed for
pay, signing inserts
in the 1996 Leaf set.
Did the experience
sour him on the hobby?

My sadness is tinged with smiles in reading about the life of 47-year-old Terry Mathews.

Yes, he died of a heart attack. However, he knew how to win, on and off the mound.

I was gladdened by this fine tribute article.

Looking up Mathews on the success board, I saw that only seven TTM attempts were recorded. He answered twice, one in 2004, the last in 2009.

He’s remembered as a selfless, caring person. That attitude somehow didn’t translate to fan mail. I’m guessing that the former pitcher (and countless other retirees) assumed new identities. They have trouble relating that player on the card to the person they are today.

Link the two, and you’ll have a greater chance of getting your response.

Ask The Expert: Sharpie Or Staedtler?


Hard to find, hard to spell,
but an autograph asset!

Tastes great! Less filling!

Oops. Wrong debate.

When I wrote about “The Autograph Card,” I was delighted to find that I was conversing with other collectors. Not just slick marketers who knew a few autograph buzzwords, but REAL collectors!

I wrote Brian Flam, asking him if he could share tips with collectors. I’m grateful to share his detailed findings, tested in years of his own collecting. Here’s Brian:

“Tom… Great question, as you could fill several blog entries on the debate of Sharpie vs Staedtler. Let me start by saying I have used BOTH pens for ages (25+ years of Sharpies, and 15+ for Staedtlers).  

Much like the ‘Corn vs Flour Tortilla’ debate, there is no clear winner. Both Pens have their places in the hobby (and in every ‘graphers pocket). Our website sells Staedtlers as a service to our customers, as they are not a high profit item, but so many people have told us they had trouble finding them, that we order them direct from Staedtler. Staedtler Lumocolor (F- Fine Point Blue) is our recommended pen, and we feel with a signer that takes his time (see pros/cons below) it looks Awesome! 

Our cards were designed to look good, no matter what kind of pen you use, perfect for those random TTM guys who like to use ‘whatever pen is closest’. Below, I will try and point out the pros/con of the two, and why I always carry both with me. 


Dry super fast. Perfect to prevent smudging when you hand a player a ‘stack’ of cards.

Staedtler’s ink tends to ‘take’ better to glossy cards (IE: Bowman Chrome) without ‘bubbling’ Back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s the ink tended to ‘sit on top’ of the gloss and would tend to ‘chip off’ the card. But in recent years,  something changed with Bowman Chrome (The ‘gloss’/coating changed) and I have not had this problem in years.

They are more expensive, and harder to find. Staedtler (a German Compnay) shut down their only U.S. office about 2 years ago, forcing anyone in the U.S. to purchase from a Staedtler office overseas, thus adding to the cost. There are ‘rumors’ of knock-off pens coming out of Asia that are cheaper (both in cost and assumed quality). We only purchase direct from Staedtler.

One negative is the ‘vibe’ of some players when they see ‘the fancy German pens’ and can be snippy (like when they see a binder with a page of 9 of the same card on it).

If the player is ‘taking his time’ to sign, and/or has a good writing surface (table, binder, roof of dugout, etc) I will use a Staedtler.


Old faithful. Perfect when you have a ‘scribbler’. Example: Manny Machado (Orioles prospect) sometimes signs just “M3” on items. So if all they are gonna write is a quick scribble, I prefer it to be BOLDER, and the sharpie looks better.

I also prefer a Sharpie if the player is ‘rushed’. When a player is signing while walking/running to the bus, etc I use Sharpie. I also keep a sharpie on me so when a kid next to me asks to borrow my pen to have a player sign his (insert pen-killing item here: Hat, T-Shirt, Mini-Bat, etc) I can lend him the Sharpie and not have the player kill a $3 Staedtler on some kids T-shirt. We have all had the experience of graphing on ‘bat day’ (or similar give-away day) and that’s why I always carry a pocket full of pens with me.

Sharpies do tend to ‘bubble’ on some high gloss cards (2010 Topps, etc). The blue ink can be ‘inconsistent’ in boldness based on the age of the sharpie (not as dark over time, if the pen has aged). 

And don’t start me on the ‘Blue versus Black’ debate (Let it be said that I am strongly on the BLUE side though!)”

Thanks again, Brian. Love those cards!

Coming Tuesday: Saying goodbye to a former pitcher after just 47 years.

2012 Minor League Coach Rosters As A Gift

Some collectors
deserve a plaque, too.
The MVC Award?

Here’s reason number gazillion why I’m happy to be a member of

On the message board, I discovered something amazing:

A gift.

Once, I thought I’d spend WEEKS searching out every team website, trying to seek who this year’s minor league managers, coaches and roving instructors were. Or, I could drop $30-ish dollars for the directory from Baseball America. Ouch. That’s a lot of postage stamps..

(Hmmm…Amazon has the $29.95 book for $19.37. However, it
doesn’t come out until March 6. Little late for trying to get coaches in
spring training!)

Well, screen name “Willyben” indicates he’s made a database directory of all these team on-field employees. Just the guys you’d want in your collection. One TTM hobby fact is that tough autographs who don’t like mail to their homes will consider signing when you write to their “office” — that is, in care of their minor league team.

I wrote. I’m hoping to get more of the story behind this database. The reply from Brent Williams amazed me further. He wants to share with everyone..not just other SCN members.

Here’s his work-in-progress, the 2012 Minor League Database:

Prince. Albert. Brent. The first basemen better look out when it comes to this season’s MVP voting. My gratitude hints that I may choose the third guy.

Morals of this story? You are not alone. There are others in the hobby who’ll cheer you on and help you with your goals, if you’ll do the same. Don’t wait for perfection. Ask for help and see the pieces other collectors can add to the puzzle. Together, we are stronger.

Coming Monday: Brian “The Autograph Card” Flam discusses one of the epic questions facing in-person collectors…Sharpie or Staedtler?

A Baseball Letter of Protest: Why Hide ‘Driving Mister Yogi’ Book During Spring Training?

Dear Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

All autograph collectors, especially those who collect only through the mail, know how unique spring training is. Everything is more relaxed.

You’ll have the perfect book that shows us that —

Driving Mister Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry and Baseball’s Greatest Gift, by Harvey Araton.

Why have you decided to sit on such a potential classic until the regular season begins? (I’d guess someone in marketing was afraid of competing with NCAA basketball ‘March Madness.’ Confess. Get your blushing done now. The laughter from shocked readers should subside soon.

Our sympathies go to Mr. Araton, one all-star journalist. As you are ignoring the reading public and countless early sales, here’s the 2011 article that inspired the book to help us pass the time.

Next time, please ask. You know where to find us!

Coming Friday: A great gift to collectors for spring training!