Remembering slugger (and autograph all-star) Daryl Spencer

In the early years of this blog, I received a wondrous reply from Daryl Spencer (the man who slugged the first San Francisco Giant homer ever).

For some awesome, seldom-seen images of Daryl Spencer and others from his era, stop by The Trading Card Database. Wow!I remember the wonderful reply from Daryl Spencer, the man who hit more than 100 homers in a decade-long career (including the first-ever dinger by a San Francisco Giant).

How to remember such a gracious, accomplished man? I thought a tribute to a little-known teammate, his widow, was in order. Here’s the letter I mailed today:

Dear Mrs. Spencer,

I am sorry to learn of the death of your husband. I admired him not just for his Major League and Japanese League achievements, but for his kindness and devotion to through-the-mail autograph collectors and fans of baseball history.

I looked him up on an autograph collector website. Of recorded letters sent to him by hobbyists, 236 of 240 received a reply. That’s a stunning 98 percent  success rate.

He responded to a letter I sent several years ago. He answered my questions in fine fashion. His tales turned back the clock, making a recipient of a letter feel like they were a Polo Grounds hero or a star in Japan, too

Every collector who has shown me the autograph they received from Mr. Spencer is a testament to glorious penmanship. Every letter stands out, easily read. I think a current player today, if answering at all, would be content to return an “autograph” of D—- S—–. Nothing but initials and slashmarks.

Most of all, I think those collectors and baseball researchers should be thanking YOU. I’m sure he couldn’t have given all correspondents such attention to detail without your patience and support. While other baseball retirees insist on a cash payment being sent along with a letter, Mr. Spencer was sending cherished gifts to strangers with every autograph – all for free.

He will not be forgotten, on or off the field. Thank you for helping to make all that possible.


Tom Owens

Standing ovation for noted Browns pitcher AND autograph signer Ned Garver

Since December, TTM attempts to reach Ned Garver have been met by bad news.

The famed 91-year old history maker of the St. Louis Browns has been hospitalized. His classy sons have been sending back personal notes telling that their dad is too ill to sign autographs.

Please, take Mr. Garver off your “to do” list. He may have signed his last autograph.

If you do want to write, simply send a note of thanks. For decades, Ned and his family have been devoted to collectors, fans and students of baseball history. Now is the time to show that their efforts have mattered.

Autograph collectors: can you do more in 2017?

From wishing retirees a happy birthday to campaigning to get Tim Raines in Cooperstown, Mike Noren connects with each one of his artworks!

My only 2017 resolution for me, hobby-wise?

One day at a time.

One guy at a time.

One letter at a time.

I wrote about artist Mike “Gummy Arts” Noren in August. On Twitter last week, Mike announced that he created more than 400 artworks in 2017.

Be like Mike. Try. Try every day. Baseball loves streaks. 





Dave ‘Boo’ Ferriss left on Thanksgiving

If there was an autograph Hall of Fame, Dave “Boo” Ferriss would be enshrined.

When he died on Thanksgiving at age 94, collectors lost a friend. The former Red Sox pitcher signed 227 out of 228 recorded requests, says I’m astounded at how many hobbyists received notes, photos or other bonuses with their requests.

“Boo” shared this with me in 2010. Enjoy!

Baseball artist Paul Nichols has a ‘ball’ painting

(Courtesy of and copyright, Paul Nichols 2015)
(Courtesy of and copyright, Paul Nichols 2015)
I’m becoming a convert to Twitter.
Thanks to a tip from talented author and historian Nick Diunte, I’ve discovered some unsung heroes. Guys who are still enjoying the baseball stories behind the headlines.
One such gem is Paul Nichols. His baseball artwork defies my anemic adjectives. See for yourself at his website. Go on, I’ll wait.
Welcome back. I asked Paul a few questions about his artful adventures. Here’s his reply:
Q. You mentioned on your website about being able to share a print of your J.J. Hardy creation, and how he liked it. Other examples of baseball feedback you’ve received from individual players, past or present — via Twitter, email, phone, or in-person?
A: Bryce Harper saw a caricature I was working on and tweeted that it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen.
Jake Arrieta saw my painted baseball of his no-hitters and retweeted it with thumbs up & fire emoji’s (I guess that’s what the young people relate to).
I met Drew Storen and showed him a baseball I’d painted of him. He pulled his phone out and showed me a Batman painting he’d done – he’s a good artist, but definitely keeps it pretty low-key.
The ‘Marlins Man‘ is a big fan. I’ve done a total of 17 baseballs for him, including 14 of last year’s KC Royals champs.
Q: Any places collectors and fans would see your baseball work (such as team commissions, baseball card companies, etc.)?
A: Not yet; haven’t been able to crack through on an official level.  Strictly private commission work up to now.
Q: Tell us about one of your favorite creations to date.
A: One of my favorites is this Stan Musial baseball.  His son-in-law contacted me after seeing the first one I’d done, and asked me to do one that he gave to his wife (Stan’s daughter) as a gift.  It’s on display on their fireplace mantle – I’m pretty proud of that!
How can a fan get through a baseball-less winter? Talents like Paul’s will keep hot stove leaguers warm until 2017.
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