What’s The Best Baseball Book Of 2012?

Help Mike Shannon Honor
The Best Baseball Books
Of 2012

This blog likes baseball letters. There’s a special power in letters.

Did you like a new baseball-related book this year? If so, you have two choices.

1. You could write a letter to the author. Tell the author why you liked the book.

2. You could SHOW the author how you liked the book by nominating the book for an award.

3. Why not do both?

To help make an author’s day is one Mike Shannon. (No, Cardinals fans. The OTHER Mike Shannon!)

Here’s the invite he’s shared:

Please consider this your invitation to nominate baseball books for the 2012 CASEY Awards, the 30th Anniversary of the Award!

You may nominate up to 10 books but only books which you have actually read; no hearsay please.
All books to be nominated must carry a 2012 copyright.

Only works published as real physical books are eligible; works published ONLY in an electronic format are NOT eligible.

You may send in nominations via email or via USPS to: Spitball, 5560 Fox Road, Cincinnati, OH 45239
Deadline for nominations: October 31, 2012

NB (for publishers)* Publishers do not have to formally Nominate their books. All baseball books received for review by Spitball are automatically considered for the CASEY Award. However, we must have a finished copy of the book in the Spitball office; galleys and proofs do not meet this requirement. If your title is listed on the “Current Baseball Books” page of our website, then we do have a copy of the book. If the title is NOT LISTED, then we DO NOT have a copy of it and we need one to be sent to the Spitball office, please, asap.

Thank you for your cooperation and important contribution to the CASEY Award process.

Mike Shannon, Editor
Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine
5560 Fox Road
Cincinnati, OH 45239

Check out his website. When it comes to baseball literature, Mike is the genre’s biggest booster!

The Autograph Card In Action!

Frank Viola!
One of the superb examples pictured
on The Autograph Card Facebook site.

You’ve gotta love an answer like that.

I checked in with some of my favorite guys in the hobby at The Autograph Card.

Co-creator Brian Flam, fresh off an appearance at the National Sports Collectors Convention (offering a show-only card set!) said he was busy when I checked in for an update on some of the great hobby products he’s offering. Check back in October.

Too busy counting his huge profits?

Nope. He’s using what he makes.

Brian was getting ready for a trip to ‘graph the Arizona Fall League. Smart move, getting tomorrow’s stars today. You know what he’ll be getting autographed when he’s there.

Brian and partner Russell Miles believe in what they make. They’re still collectors.

Check out their Facebook page or website. There’s no reason to struggle with blank index cards when you have artful alternatives like The Autograph Card.

Collecting And KNOWING Roger Maris!

Andy served as a
technical advisor
for the movie.
From fan to friend.
That’s the amazing tale of Andy Strasberg and Roger Maris. Yes, this is evidence of what a sincere fan letter can accomplish.
The one question I wanted to ask Andy was about Roger Maris, autograph signer. He replied…
We never discussed his fan mail or his philosophy regarding autograph requests.
In the early 1980s, while I was working for the Padres my boss, Elten Schiller asked me if I could get Roger to autograph a few first day covers for his collection. I asked Rog and he said absolutely which made me look like a hero to Elten.
Here’s a few other Maris autograph stories:
Soon after Roger passed away, I received in the mail a baseball that an artist had painted Roger’s image on and it had Roger’s autograph. The ball was sent as a friendly gesture from long time collector Barry Halper who knew of my admiration for Maris.
And a couple of years after Roger passed away, I received a surprise package from Roger’s wife, Pat who had enclosed a few autographed items for my collection and thought that I would enjoy them.
And finally, while I was working as a consultant on the HBO movie 61*, Barry Pepper, who played Maris in the movie, remarked that he was trying to get an autograph photo of Roger and one day while we were taking a break in between shots on the set of the Yankee Clubhouse I surprised him and gave him an autograph photo of Maris hitting #61. Barry was speechless and tears welled up in his eyes as he thanked and hugged me.
I can’t say enough about Andy’s new book Baseball Fantography. Get two: one to savor, and one to share. It’s a perfect present for a fellow fan.
Coming Wednesday: Kiss blank index cards goodbye!

What’s RIGHT With the Autograph Hobby?

Cherish every great

The list seems to grow every year. I’m sure I’ve added on complaints. The highlights (or LOWlights) include:

Players who charge for autographs.

Players who don’t respond.

Players who scribble their names.

It’s time to make a new list. One that details what’s RIGHT with the hobby.

I believe that current and former players out there still love baseball as much as I do. It’s a common language we speak. Because of this bond, they’ll respond to my letters. I’m not going to count the misses, only the hits.

Dwell on what might not happen, and your fate is sealed. I remember a quote from Rich Gossage, saying that he’d get revved up when he could see the fear on the face of an opposing batter. Don’t be that batter — or that collector.

Believe that this hobby is dying and your letters will suffer for it.

Coming Monday: Memories of Roger Maris autographs from his #1 fan.

Bobby Thomson HR Ball Set For TV

As my Dad used to say, “Get the TV set warmed up!”

A program is coming. Here’s the word from Velocity, an offshoot of the Discovery Channel, about Sept. 29 and Oct. 3 listings.

Wait…isn’t Oct. 3 the date of Bobby Thomson’s 1951 “Shot Heard Round the World” homer?

Ever wonder what happened to that famous baseball?

Ah! Here’s the details…

“MIRACLE BALL, documents one man’s journey to search for sports history’s biggest treasure, on a quest that takes him back through time. Follow director Brian Biegel on his exploration to differentiate myth from fact and legend from truth.

After his father, Jack, finds a baseball at a thrift store with clues dating back to 1951, he believes it could possibly be the most coveted artifact in sports history. Biegel becomes a man with a mission to prove its authenticity. Working with NYPD detectives, scientists, journalists, baseball historians and actual fans present at the game, no stone is left unturned in this ultimate hunt in the quest for the truth. Implementing forensic science, photographic evidence, and eyewitness accounts, the world will finally learn who walked out of the stadium with the legendary baseball and where it has been hiding for over six decades.”

A sports memorabilia auction house grabbed headlines by offering a million dollar bounty for anyone who could produce the authentic baseball. Brian’s father tried to submit the baseball, but got a rude brush-off. The experience sparked a book, followed by the documentary.

I’ll tune in. I hope you will, too.