Negro Leaguer Jim Zapp retires from autographs

I spotted this on a 2006
website. Zapp had a knack
for small autographs that
would stand out without
ruining the look of a card
or photo!

An autograph may last forever, but the signer may not.

A tip of the cap goes to top baseball blogger Nick Diunte at “Baseball Happenings“.
He received word from the son of Negro Leaguer Jim Zapp that his dad’s health has ended his autographing days. 
The letter Nick received was quite touching. It’s clear proof that the fan mail mattered to Mr. Zapp. Additionally, his son wanted to find out about acquiring Allen and Ginter cards of his father. 
A thought? Anyone who didn’t get their A&G sent for an autograph should consider sending a gift to the Zapp family. A gift of thanks. 
And, remember that letter. There are former players who appreciate us, too!

Honoring John “Mule” Miles

Miles was intent on
keeping Negro Leagues
heritage alive!

Thank you, Nick Diunte!

He’s a great fan, collector, historian and writer. His www.BaseballHappenings.Net site is informative fun.

Look at the tribute page he’s created to honor recently-deceased Negro Leaguer John “Mule” Miles. Anyone with a story about a surprising response from the man in the 2007 Allen & Ginter set — please add your memories.

Miles never stopped sharing with fans. Before Topps recognized his worth, “Mule” was unknown to many collectors.

More than one hobbyist got a note from the celebrated Negro Leaguer saying that HE looked forward to what the mailman would bring each day.

Just like us.

Ump Shag Crawford Inspires

I told his story in 2010. The Shag Crawford tale bears repeating.

I have not focused enough on umpires in my recent letters. They’ve seen it all.

And there will be more Doug Harveys, more umps who make the Hall of Fame.

Most of all, I welcome these colorful characters. The Men In Blue could be blue.

I remember a SABR member once telling that he sent a questionnaire to Jocko Conlan. He received a HOF plaque postcard back, personalized to his name, with “Go To Hell, Best Wishes, Jocko Conlan.”

Wanting to tap my Iowa roots, I selected Don Denkinger as the next ump to get my letter. He’s in the 2012 Allen & Ginter set. I asked him about that and other topics.

Stay tuned…

Readers: what living ex-umps would you like to hear from most?

Deployed In Afghanistan: One U.S. Marine Keeps Collecting Autographs By Mail

One “home” team I’ll always cheer!

We’ve got it easy as collectors. Stamps, paper, envelopes, addresses? No problem.

But what if you had an unusual address? What if cards and office supplies weren’t just a shopping trip minutes from home? I found one such collector, inspirational U.S. Marine Tony Moore. He writes…

“I don’t see a problem with you writing about me on your blog. I have read some of your bloggings. I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. Since 2005 I have deployed three times to Iraq, once on the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (I was on the USS Mesa Verde), and now Afghanistan.

I collected cards as a child but got rid of all but my Nolan Ryan collection when I joined the Marine Corps. I started collecting again in 2006 after returning from my first deployment. I’m not sure why, but it may have had to do with the birth of my first child, Nathan, and the fact that I wanted something that I could pass on once he got older. I now have two boys, 5 and 2, so I guess I will have to split my collection between them. I started collecting autographs of athletes and celebrities at this same time. So far I have sent right at 1000 baseball requests out and about 500 requests to celebrities and other athletes. I have about a 40% return rate but that is rising as I have learned to research signing habits first.

My special interests are the art type cards such as Allen & Ginter and Goodwin Champions. There is no prep work needed on the cards and they include other aspects of the collecting world besides just the big four sports. Although I have not sent any yet from out here, I will be very soon. I was concerned in the past about keeping the cards in good condition through the mail from here. I have gathered all of my “tools” already. I have been sent some cards by members of and also ordered some from, bought the envelopes and stamps, and am now just starting to write the letters to whom I am going to send. One of the first cards I will be sending is a Goodwin Champions Whitey Ford card of him in his military uniform. Hopefully he will be kind enough to sign for free as it is very hard to get cash to include as a donation over here. We use debit cards and cash cards here. I am having the returns sent to my house because I do not want any to get lost in the mail, so we will have to wait to see what my success rate is.

As far as what fellow collectors could for other collectors who are deployed. They could always send us some cards or envelopes. I have had a couple people send me 3 or 4 packs which is just enough to help the craving. The biggest thing is not to forget that we are still out here doing our jobs and putting our lives on the line. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been quite taxing on our military, our families and our country and sometimes people tend to forget that. So if you see a service member in uniform or know of one, let them know that you appreciate the sacrifices that they have made. It still feels good to hear it every now and then.


I’ll be finding out more about how to get Tony and his fellow Marines some hobby care packages. I’ll share the how-to details here. They’re giving us their very best. In return, these all-star Americans deserve nothing less.