How Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’ will help your autograph collecting

Posted November 28th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in Chef, Jon Favreau

The day after the holiday, I’m still thankful.

Are you? 
I’m a fan of the movie Chef
No, it’s not about baseball. It’s about passion.
Check out the scene in which Jon Favreau tells his son why he does what he does.
Be that guy. For your kids. Your spouse. Anyone who’ll listen. It’s not enough to tell someone you like sending letters to current and former players.
Be grateful. Then, add the WHY. Those people support your hobby in so many ways. 
Keep them on your team.

The Autograph Lesson of Ex-Red Tracy Jones

Posted November 24th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in Al Kaline, Tracy Jones,

I wrote about Tracy Jones and his autograph signing attitudes back in 2012.

Since then, I’ve reconsidered what a “working” address. Not just a workplace address, but a contact that works. Period.
Players-turned-announcers might feel more motivated to sign in care of their station or network. They may not feel the need for you to pay, since their media employer is. Signing might help listener/viewer ratings.
High profile players may not like volumes of mail at home. Or, their spouse may object. Al Kaline told me at a 1990s card show about keeping fan mail sent to his home in bushel baskets. Then, he sighed and recited a tale of getting his property tax statement mixed up with all the autograph request letters. I translated that, from his tone of voice and scowl, as wanting to say, “I get fan mail and important mail.”
Don’t assume the home address will get you a faster response or more attentive signers. Of course, these jock journalists may not be near their media address for months during the off-season. I haven’t seen lots of evidence of employers forwarding fan mail to homes. Timing is crucial.
Comparing notes on sites like is vital for hobbyists. Additionally, people change. What works in 2014 might not next season.

Can Hermey, Santa and Bumble Help Your Autograph Collection?

Posted November 20th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in Bumble, Hermey the Elf, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Tony Oliva, USPS
Guess what TV show turns 50 years old this year?
Through the New Year, I’ll be using these on my baseball letters.
If the stamp makes someone feel younger and more
generous, go for it!

First of all, do NOT get on Santa’s “naughty” list.

I’m not advocating that you fib. No telling huge lies about how your last wish is to get a reply from Joe Ballplayer.
I am saying to make merry when you write. Acknowledge the holidays.
Use the holiday stamps. The USPS has a variety of 2014 designs. 
Seek out some Christmas stickers. If you can get some greeting card-sized envelopes, go for it. Colored, even red or green, might get you to the top of a fan mail pile.
Surprises happen every Christmas season. Tony Oliva turned down money in the past to send holiday greetings with an autograph.
Save your generic postage stamps for January. Now is not the time to be dignified. Be joyous. In turn, the current or former player may be looking at your envelope as a potential Christmas present they can give you via a reply.