What’s RIGHT With the Autograph Hobby?

Posted September 21st, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Rich Gossage

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

Posted September 19th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Bobby Thomson, Brian Biegel, Miracle Ball, Shot Heard Round the World

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.

A Mantle & Maris Message For TTM?

Posted September 17th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Fred Mertz, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Safe At Home, William Frawley
Ebay is swimming with
memorabilia from the movie.
I’d love to correspond with
surviving actors, to see
how surprised they are
about this film’s revival.

Each baseball season begins and ends with cable channels having endless showings of Safe At Home.

No, this isn’t another snarky review of the movie. (Even though I thought Fred Mertz would have made a better coach than actor William Frawley was…)

Instead, I took to heart the message of stars Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

While they told the boy that lying is wrong, I’d add, in the case of letter-writing collectors:

You don’t have to.

I’m thinking of collectors who’ve been tempted to concoct a tale that would melt the heart of the toughest non-signer.

(I remember the tale of a reporter (no, not me) who wanted to test how celebrities responded to letters from kids. He considered publishing a book. The problem was that Senator Edward Kennedy was so moved by this “kid” correspondent that his staff invited the non-existent child to Washington, D.C.

Instead, I see a better, more honest way.

Look at the list of guys you’re writing to. How do they relate to your own locale?

1. Do they (or did they) play near where you live? What about their minor league time?

2. Did they grow up (or retire) near you? Did they attend a nearby college?

I get frequent questions in replies from retirees about my Iowa town. Don’t leave money (or opportunity) on the table. It’s not just a business saying. Take full advantage of every chance you see. Your collection will thank you.

Coming Wednesday: Tune in for a tale of Bobby Thomson, CSI style.