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

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?

Harvey Meiselman’s Address Inspiration?

To get more than the
facsimile sig, hobbyists
needed special
help to find Alston!

I’ve always loved those “making of” documentaries. Everyone can see the movie. Seeing behind the scenes is another story.

That’s why I wrote Harvey Meiselman about his upcoming Baseball Address List that ships in just a few weeks. He’s at He’s a tireless tracker of elusive baseball names, the guys who never stay put. Was it a shy superstar or humble Hall of Famer that he was proudest of pinpointing? Nope. His choice surprised me! Harvey replied.

“The player was Wendell “Dell” Alston who broke into the majors with the Yankees in 1978. When “that other baseball address list guy” in Ames IA first put Alston on his list in 1979 or 1980, he listed an address of 3 Granada Crt in White Plains NY. And there it stayed from that time until about 1999 when he started to list it as “Old Address.”
During that time I tracked him using my resources through 4 different addresses in MD. I had been working with Jack Smalling for a few years doing updates to his baseball addresses and I tried to pass this address update to him but he didn’t think it was accurate and never used it. I told Jack I wanted to do my own baseball address list and he asked me to wait 2-3 years because he was “afraid” I would use all his information which I found to be 55-60% inaccurate. I had been researching my own MLB addresses, from scratch, since 1988, and told him I would not use any addresses he had on his list unless I researched it myself and confirmed it was correct.
So, in 2002, I came out with my Baseball Address List and it’s now my best seller of all the lists that I produce. Well, to make a long story short, Dell Alston has moved 3 more times through this year but because of the address I found in MD a lot of collectors had successes with him and dealers were contacting him to do private signings and bring him in for shows.
If you look at what’s included in Jack’s baseball list and then check the addresses in mine, you’ll see that I took his idea 5 steps further than he probably ever imagined or was able to do (I include signing fees, ex-MLB players working for teams as coaches and managers, team addresses and websites and much more) that give collectors a much better contact point to get players autographs.
One last note Tom. I get a lot of emails from collectors who say they use Intelius, ZabaSearch and other free people search engine and found a few addresses so why should they spend the money for my list. And I tell them that in the past 10 years I’ve found over 50,000 addresses with databases that cost me between $3,500 and $4,000 a year to use.”
I believe in Harvey and his addresses. Make it a happy hobby new year. Get his 2013 edition today!
Coming Wednesday: Letters to help a deserving Yankees fan?

Secret Santa In Your SASE?

Good signers have a little Santa in them.

I look at and see others who note in their tracked response: “Added small photo.”

I think that some of the hobby’s most generous custom card designers are these Secret Santas. Those of you adding an extra or sending some dupes on request are giving a retiree the chance to treat other collectors.

My one request of all of you? When you give, give freely. Add a post-it to a bonus card saying FOR YOU, so the signer doesn’t autograph everything in sight.

I see too many collectors saying, “I told him he could keep a couple if he wanted, but he signed them all.” That smells too much like, “I’ll make a half-hearted offer in hopes of getting lots of autographed extras because of the confusion.”

Someone like Freddy Schmidt loved rewarding the best letters. Help them help us.

Coming Monday: The Yankee who inspired Harvey Meiselman’s address directory!

Cubs/Phillies/Cardinals Fans Mourn

The Cubs, Phillies and Cardinals. Three popular teams, all fun to collect.

Then, where were all the collectors when it came to Freddy Schmidt?

Schmidt died in November at age 96. The journeyman pitcher was part of two Cardinals World Series winners.

I expected to see a couple of hundred successes listed on


Schmidt was 30 for 30, signing through February of 2012. Did his health begin to decline then, or didn’t he get any more letters?

The mystery? His last year in the majors was 1947, also known as the pre-Topps era.

Collectors lucky enough to write found that Schmidt answered questions, wrote notes, sometimes added photos and loved signing “95 Years Young.”

The moral? Set collecting is fine. But don’t limit yourself to “what can I get signed?” Ask, too, “Who can I write to?”

By the way, don’t miss the great interview with Schmidt (linked above) by Ed Attanasio!

Is Arnie Beyeler A Hobby Hopeful For 2013 Boston Red Sox Collectors?

The ‘stache is coming!

As a fan, I’ve always hoped that a coach would lead by example.

When I saw the new coaching staff for the 2013 Red Sox, I sought out Bill Kearns for a bit of insight.

The talented Maine ‘grapher had seen then-manager Arnie Beyeler in action with fans and collectors for four seasons. Any predictions how he might behave in Boston as first base coach?

Thanks to Bill, who replied:
“Only IP, mostly because he was here and before he got here, I hadn’t started the Minor League Coaches and Managers set I do every year.
With Torrey Lovullo, Brain Butterfield (Maine Born) they should all be attainable. I would suggest ST, the people that handle the mail in Boston have developed a huge black hole for mail.”
In other words, have hope but act early!

Kudos to Christopher “Smitty on Baseball” Smith for a fine detailing of Boston’s 2013 coaching roster, found here:

Coming Wednesday — Missing out on Freddy Schmidt.

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