Former Chicago Cubs Pitcher Ed Mayer Reminds Us Why Autographs Matter

Photo courtesy Brian Salgado
Many thanks to collector Brian Salgado for this great update:
“I wrote to Mayer asking for a signature on his 1958 Topps card because he threw out the first pitch at my four-month-old son’s first game at Wrigley Field. Not only did he sign the card, but he sent the letter pictured in the attachment. 
It reads:
“Hi Brian:
“Thank you for the nice letter. I’m glad that your family enjoyed the game and Noah was a winner! 
“Say hi to Noah’s grandparents for me. Real fans like you make the game of baseball special and I am proud to have played ball for the Cubs. 
“I have a nice article on the internet. Google search Eddie Mayer/Cub and pop on the entry that says ‘Almanac.’
“I hope you enjoy it.
“Best Wishes,
Ed Mayer”
“This is unofficially my son’s first autograph through the mail and his first letter from a former player. He’s off to a good start, I’d say! “
When I wrote about Ed Mayer back in 2010, sharing his letter, I learned he was a former teacher, too.
I love the lesson the ex-hurler delivers, a lesson for all of us.
Brian’s example shows that a personal letter matters. You won’t always get such a class response as what Mr. Mayer sent. However, you’ll land the former player’s major league effort when you share of yourself.
Additionally, the Ed Mayer victory for Brian unlocks the secret of the hobby.
The thrill won’t come from a price guide. Sharing the stories behind the signatures: that truly matters.

Charlie Thompson, Brooklyn Dodger Mystery

A Topps puzzler…

You know that guy, uh, what’s his name?

Don’t expect any help from a certain 1950s catcher by the full name of Charles Lemoine Thompson. The always-impressive Baseball Almanac website shows his autographed 1954 Topps card, signed “Charlie,” as indicated on the card. They file the catcher under “Tim Thompson,” his nickname.

On his 1957 card, Topps spells his first name “Charley.”

Thompson’s last card, in the 1958 Topps set, says he’s “Tim Thompson.”

I blame Topps for scattering the catcher throughout history. I asked if the card company mixed up his name.

“No.”

That’s all Mr. Thompson had to say.

Imagine all the 1950s kids lining up their differently-named cards. Compounding the confusion, starting in 1957, Topps shows the catcher wearing glasses. Shades of Clint Courtney! I asked if this was difficult or dangerous back then.

“Far-sighted.”

Hmmm…

The website Baseball Reference notes Thompson’s success as a scout for decades after his career ended. I asked if he had a couple of signings or discoveries he was proudest of.

“Brian Jordan, Tom Herr.”

Oh. About his proper, or even preferred first name?

I’ll never know. Mr. Thompson never bothered to sign the letter!

Coming Thursday: Two succinct signers.

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