Pitchers Brad Lesley, Rick Camp: Gone Too Soon

I found this superb specimen on
Check out Lesley’s page and others
for some fine tributes and
great signed artifacts.

These are the infrequent wake-up calls all TTMers must heed.

Brad Lesley and Rick Camp have died. Respective ages: 54 and 60.

Lesley, a first-round draft pick for the Reds once upon a time, made it into only three card sets I know. Plus, he lived in Japan for 10 years. Two reasons to be overlooked by many collectors.

The esteemed www.sportscollectors.net had just 17 recorded TTM requests for Lesley, with 10 succeeding. The SCN count for Camp was 62 of 93.

Note that Camp had a two-year stretch of never responding, due to time in federal prison.

This message can never be repeated enough. Write to the guys you want to contact NOW. Age won’t help you determine how long you have to seek a signature, or how long they will (or won’t have) to respond.

Pitcher Bobby Locke Is A ‘Lock’

If there’s a sure thing TTM, it’s this fine righty!

Pitcher Bobby Locke doesn’t disappoint.

He’s a fast, dependable signer. According to www.sportscollectors.net, most replies come in 2 weeks or less. And, how many retirees send thank-you notes when you enclose an extra of a custom or a duplicate Topps card?

Locke homered in his 1959 debut against the Red Sox. Imagine the visiting team’s pitcher, in his first ever game, smashing one over the Green Monster!

That nugget and more came from a tribute to Locke, honored for his high school sports stardom.

For me, I wanted to know most about 1964. He spent part of that season with the ill-fated Phillies, the can’t-miss team who did.

How did the pennant escape the Phils?

“Manager did not use the pitchers as he should have,” Locke wrote. “Some pitched with two days rest.”

The former hurler closed with “Tom! Wishing You My Very Best.”

Back at you, Mr. Locke. I’m sure he’d do the same for you.

Considering Len Dykstra

Once upon a time, Dykstra, and most Mets, signed for
super-collector Lee Harmon!

The always amazing Harvey Meiselman, our hobby’s star address list compiler, sent an update to his list purchasers of Len Dykstra’s new mailing address.

The former Met and Phillie known as “Nails” is now an inmate at a California prison.

I understand how set collectors collect. I understand about goals. A team collector may want EVERYONE’S signature.

But, does personal admiration have anything to do with a collection?

I don’t have an easy formula or litmus test. I’m unsure how to answer this question.

I’ve sought some other thoughts on the subject. I found this great 2012 essay from Matt Raymond at Autograph University.

I’ve never written to someone in prison. I did discover great discussions on www.sportscollectors.net.
Different institutions have different rules. Most are strict about not allowing SASEs, cards or Sharpies to be mailed, let alone money. Prison websites should outline policies about writing to inmates.

Readers: Are any current or former players not collectible because of their pasts?

Do Angels Sign Autographs? Sometimes…

Autographs can appear when
you least expect them!

they aren’t the LA of Anaheim variety!

The late Grady Hatton’s devotion to autographs brings up a good point.

Tug McGraw shouted, “You Gotta Believe!” When someone gets a signature, the postmark may just confuse things. These doubts arise occasionally on www.sportscollectors.net with a “How could he have signed that? He died last week!”

It’s possible to receive an autograph from someone deceased. Sometimes, next of kin will find unmailed responses. Collectors don’t always get notes of explanation with their bonuses.

Don’t assume you have a forgery, just because you’ve read the signer’s obituary.


After Boston: One Hobbyist’s Suggestion

My heart is with the people of Boston as I write.

Expect Major League Baseball and other pro sports to be wary of any fan mail for the near future.

With recent headlines, I foresee some fan letters getting RTS (return to sender) treatment, especially any oversize envelopes. Or, there could be a drastic slowdown in any replies.

That’s another reason to concentrate on contacting retirees right now.

Meanwhile, for anyone trying to write current players?


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