Coach Wendell Kim’s Legacy

A now-poignant tribute, circa 1977, shared at

Fans of the Giants, Red Sox, Expos or Cubs would know the name.

Coach Wendell Kim

Because he wasn’t a regular in card sets, Kim never topped want lists. A check at revealed that only three attempts were recorded. He returned all.

Kim’s last response was in 2007. Recently, his wife has been sharing the bad news.

Only 62, Wendell Kim is coping with Alzheimer’s Disease. He’s been in a care facility for three years, unable to sign autographs. Remove him from your baseball address lists, please.

Bravely, Natasha Kim preserves the legacy of her fan-friendly husband at

Some of us groan at non-responses. “Why hasn’t the guy signed? What’s wrong with him?”

Other collectors fret over their letters. “What’s wrong with me?” Typed or hand-written? Change the approach?

Sometimes, the answer is c) none of the above.

I’m grateful for what the Kims have shared, then and now.

Dodger Bill Russell Spells It Out

“Ropes” — a nickname, or
what collectors are on,
after Russell’s recent
fan mail reaction.

Bill Russell, the Dodgers institution, may not be long for the free-signing world.

Thanks to Baseball Address List author Harvey Meiselman, here’s the latest from the long-time shortstop:

“This is the only piece of memorabilia that I will sign for you. Please DO NOT send any more items to this address. They will not be signed or returned.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Bill Russell”

He’s signing one-only FOR NOW at his home address.

His response times are growing to months. Once, according to, he was a sure thing for multiples. Russell’s grand total, even with his toughened stance, is still 370 out of 400 recorded TTM contacts.

I wouldn’t wait writing to Russell. If you do, don’t send more than one card. I predict dark clouds ahead that will cause him to be a fee signer or another RTS man. 

Hurray For Chris Speier!

Love this photo! What
charity would Chris
donate this card to?

“It’s me, not you.”

That sounds like some overused line from some romance novel.

Nevertheless, it’s an appreciated confirmation in the case of Chris Speier. For years, the long-time infielder-turned-coach has been a good TTM signer in care of his teams. You needed to write him during the season.

Mail to his Arizona home either got a RTS or items were sent back unsigned in your SASE.

I applauded Speier for not trashing everyone’s items. Also, for more than 40 years, he’s maintained a legible autograph.

Now, according to Baseball Address List author Harvey Meiselman, Speier has spelled out his autograph policy. He returns a typed message that says he won’t sign at his home and he won’t return the items.

The only baffling part of Speier’s update? He writes that items will be donated to charity.

Really? The Phoenix Salvation Army will sell used clothing and Speier commons?

It would be coolest if he was autographing everything before he donated.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always been a Speier admirer. I remember Joe Garagiola praising the “young shortstop” on NBC Game of the Week. He pointed out that Speier was backing up the pitcher. If the return throw from the catcher got loose, Speier would make sure no runner advanced.

All I want is him not heading for the recycling bin with fan mail. If you say you’re going to give our cards to charity, make the play.

Stan Musial’s Inspiration

Amazing, how he endured 1959’s
disappointments. Anyone ever see
an “S” like that on a Stan autograph?

I’m still thinking about Stan Musial.

He was one of the first legendary autographs I ever landed by mail in the early 1970s. He was signing everything. My brother sent him the Tank McNamara comic strip salute. Cards or newspaper clippings? If you sent the SASE, he came through.

All the tributes savor Musial’s career highlights. I think he was at his best when things weren’t so great.

How many aging stars of today would wave the white flag after a year-long decline like 1959? Retire and save face.

Not “The Man.” He worked harder than ever.

I’m going to twice-weekly posts starting this week. I’m in a hobby slump. I’m working to pump up my TTM reply rate. Additionally, I have a long-overdue site redesign that I’d love launched when the season starts.

Meanwhile, I’m focusing on quality insights every Tuesday and Thursday. Instead of three “token” posts a week, I’ll give you my best writing twice a week.

My spring training is starting NOW. Please, stop by Tuesdays and Thursdays to cheer on my collecting comeback.

Readers: what have you done to battle TTM slumps?

Brad Ziegler Autograph Update

He’s admired off the field, too. Check out Ziegler’s Foundation,

Underrated Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler keeps impressing opponents…and collectors!

His newest Facebook comment:

“For those asking, I will sign one card thru mail to the stadium if you include SASE. Any add’l cards sent are a donation to my collection :)”

Reasons to cheer?

1. He’s communicating with collectors. Many players would create a rule or change a policy without bothering to tell the public.

2. He’s signing AT ALL.

Thank you, Brad. It’s nice to see a player enjoying cards, too!

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