Future Hall of Famer Marvin Miller’s Death: Lessons For Collectors

Posted December 17th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Baseball Hall of Fame, Marvin Miller, Ron Santo

The Hall of Fame has another mess to clean up.

Ron Santo was just one example. Marvin Miller led the Major League Baseball Players Association. For better or for worse, he helped pioneer free agency. Another worthy, overlooked part of baseball history.

From eBay: small sigs
were vintage Miller!

Inducting someone after their death has happened before.

Miller may have peeved as many collectors as owners in his lifetime. His final stats on www.sportscollectors.net say that he responded 126 times to 174 recorded TTM attempts.

I found the non-player in just two card sets: a 1994 Upper Deck issue and the 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set.

Miller’s eyesight may have been failing for years, judging by his microscopic signatures.

In his defense, neither card offered a great space for an autograph.

I think he became irritated with the cumbersome nature of signing his book and baseballs. I believe that the final collectors who succeeded with Miller were ones who proved they were sincere, educated fans.

Another eBay example:
face-signed cards?

Look hard for other baseball pioneers. Find them before Cooperstown, or the Grim Reaper, calls.

Team owners
general managers

Readers: are other non-players Hall of Fame material, ready for autograph collections?

Coming Wednesday: Arizona Fall League insights from The Autograph Card

Is Your Glass Half Full? A Question For All Baseball TTM Autograph Collectors

Posted December 14th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in ebay, Rich Hanson

What’s right about baseball autograph collecting right now?

I ask myself this every day. Not just about the hobby, but about all walks of life. We know the problems. How can we celebrate what’s good in the interim?

I began my survey with Rich Hanson, one of the most ambitious autograph collectors I’ve ever known.

He said:

 About the only thing good about baseball card autograph collecting is the accessability of the players at the minor league level. In-person autographing is still fun. By mail is getting tougher, and the EBayers who sell signatures have lent a foul stench to the hobby. But I’m sure you’ve heard my complaints on that score already.

Readers, how would you answer?

Brother Beans 1, Hurricane Sandy 0; A Yankee Stadium Matchstick Masterpiece Endures!

Posted December 12th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Bill Becker, Brother Beans, CNN, Kelly Herrington, Yankee Stadium
Saving Yankee Stadium from Hurricane Sandy

“One game. One day. One dream.”

On 12/12/12, we think of the concert to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Right now, let’s raise some hope.

Dear Baseball World,

Sometimes, we write letters to current or former players. We ask for an autograph or for a memory. A question answered.

Today, this letter is written for one of us, 86-year-old Bill Becker.

For years, he covered for his lack of remembering names by calling everyone “Brother Beans.” In turn, everyone decided Bill should have that name, too.

Well, our Brother Beans hasn’t asked for much. This eternal Yankees fan was widowed 11 years ago. He filled his void by remembering his other love. From matchsticks and Elmer’s glue, he constructed his own ballpark. The House That Ruth Build, meet The House That Beans Built.

Hurricane Sandy came calling for Brother. It got his house. But his masterpiece, and his spirit, remained, said granddaughter Kelly Herrington.

Brother Beans one wish is listed above. He wants his Yankee Stadium in the new Yankee Stadium. For one game, he wants to share with other fans.

He’s not asking for a zillion dollars. (Some artists won’t sell, for any price.) He doesn’t want his matchstick creation installed in Monument Park forevermore. Brother Beans is a Who down in Whoville. Despite death, despite Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, he’s shouting to the baseball world that he’s still here.

Baseball World, this letter his microphone. Hear him. Help him. December is the time of miracles. Let’s add Brother Beans to that list.

Start with a visit to his official Facebook page. CNN has noticed, too. A newsletter was one of the first online allies.

Now, it’s our turn. Know any Yankee front office folk? Any minor league employees? Cooperstown? Spread the word. This dream can come true. We all belong to Brother’s band of brothers. Baseball unites.

Coming Friday: What’s RIGHT about baseball autograph collecting?