Hall of Fame Manager Dick Williams Shared A Laugh And Autograph With Me!

Posted October 31st, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Dick Williams, Hunter Pence, Joe Buck, Johnny Bench, Rollie Fingers, Tim Lincecum, World Series
BOO! Scary airbrushing!
The facsimile autograph
looks haunted:

Happy Halloween!

Today is about how much you get, right? Or, how much you give? As in, so many kids trick-or-treated here, there’s no candy left for me!

Here’s another take on giving and getting.

I’ll never forget sitting on the couch with my dad, watching the Oakland-Cincinnati World Series. He fell off the couch laughing his a– off (yes, it’s hard to sit without one of those!) when Johnny Bench fell for the fake intentional walk.

I wrote to Dick Williams long before he was a Hall of Famer, long before he charged for autographs. I never asked for an autograph. I just wanted him to have another perspective on the classic moment.

I related my dad’s comments. I thanked him for making my dad laugh.

Dick sent back an Expos postcard of himself, thanking ME for a great story. He added a note that Rollie Fingers later told him he hadn’t seen that play work since Little League!

As I watched this World Series with my wife, she saw a close-up of Tim Lincecum.

“He looks like a sad Pee-wee Herman before he pitches.”

As oh-so-dramatic Joe Buck recounted upcoming Giants batters, my wife asked for a clarification.

“His name is Hunter Pence? I thought Joe Buck called him UNDERPANTS.”

Future letters? Hmmm…

All I know is that humor can make a difference!

Publishers Clearing House Helps Hobbyists? Welcome to Creative Envelopes 101

Posted October 29th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Phil Niekro, Publishers Clearing House, RTS
Learn from these masterful marketers!

Sorry, I don’t have any balloons or giant cardboard checks to share.

I do have a bit of wisdom that might help your collection.

PCH does a masterful job of sending two mailings for one stamp.

In other words, look carefully at the envelope. Your address is easy to see.
(That’s important as we try to hobby-ize their secrets.)

The front of the envelope has a teaser, blurb or headline. Same for the back.

I’ve noted before in this blog that I think that address label icons alone might compel a potential signer to open your envelope. You might appeal to their patriotism, school spirit or love of the outdoors.

I read on www.sportscollectors.net that, before Phil Niekro became a cottage industry signer-for-pay, he’d RTS (Return to Sender) most envelopes. If a collector noted that they were including a fish story or a picture of their catch, their fan letter would get through.

Doodle a portrait of the player (or yourself) on the envelope. Add their nickname or a subtitle after their name (like Mr. Tom Owens, The Little Blogger That Could!). The envelope back is your empty canvas. If the postal carrier, clubhouse attendant or spouse comments to the signer-to-be, you’re halfway there.

Sure, make sure the address and ZIP code is visible. After that, it’s time to stand out from the pile. I’ve speculated before that old greeting card envelopes get you in the short stack of fan mail.

Years ago, I worked in an office. A co-worker was in the hospital. My get-well card envelope was spotted. “Hey, I’d sign that, too.” Sad faces greeted the news that it was too late, the envelope was licked.

Suddenly, inspiration came. I sliced open the envelope, passed the card around and grabbed the tape. I wrote on the outside: “I had to re-seal the envelope. Someone put in money, then wanted it back!”

My co-worker returned a new man. He didn’t say anything about the card. “Gawd! The nurses passed that envelope around. The doctors wanted to see it. They laughed themselves sick — in a hospital!”

I’m sure he would have signed all the autographs I wanted.

Coming Wednesday: Would funny letters bring more autographs?

Mega-Collection Sold To Aid An Ill Daughter: What Remains For An Autograph Collector?

Posted October 26th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Ken Kallin

The media has got it wrong again.

Ken Kallin has a 120,000-piece autograph collection being auctioned to raise money for an ill daughter. The items feature great signatures from baseball, entertainment and other realms of history. The collector began his quest in 1980.

How much is it worth?

How much will it bring?

Why isn’t anyone asking: how did you get the autographs? How much fun was it? Kallin may not have the frames, boxes and binders he once did. No one can take the memories from him, however.

Real collectors love the journey as much as the final destination.

Coming Monday: Envelope insights!