Congrats, Red Sox! Here’s Some Autograph Inspiration from Bobby Doerr, Boston’s ‘Silent Captain’

Doerr added this postcard often as a free bonus
into many of his replies.
An amazing man!

To celebrate Boston’s World Series win (and my return to Blogville), I wanted to share a 2011 post. The late second baseman gave stunning reasons why he never stopped signing by-mail requests. Let’s hope his same devotion to fans and The Game rubs off on the 2018 World Champions.

And now, it’s flashback time!

My admiration for Bob Doerr grows every year.

A Hall of Famer since 1986, he should be a charter member of any Autograph Hall of Fame.

While some mortals complain about trying to send Christmas cards to two dozen people, this 93-year-old baseball icon signs thousands of autographs a year. He keeps thousands of letters a year straight. Sign the ball here. Add your Hall of Fame year. All those requests for inscriptions, pens, whatever. Doerr delivers!

Thankfully, the “Silent Captain” was anything but when I asked him about his feelings about autographs. He replied on his official stationery, complete with the HOF logo and BOB DOERR as letterhead.

Q: How many autograph requests come in the mail weekly? How do you manage?

A: I average between 50 and 100 requests per week. Some days there are 30 or more requests and some days there are only 1 or 2. Very rarely are there days when there aren’t any. I do have a person who regularly helps me with the mail. Two people when I split my time between here and the Rogue. I also have family and friends that fill in from time to time.

Q: You’ve never stopped signing. Other Hall of Famers demand a fee. Or, they just ignore fan mail. Why are you different?

A: I have always enjoyed the fans. Their support and encouragement is inspiring. I also feel that we as players are honor-bound to respond to them. After all, they are the reason we are able to get paid for playing the sport we love.

Q: How can collectors show their thanks? Is there a charity you support that we could help with?

A: As to showing your thanks, I guess the best way to do that is to educate other collectors on good ‘request etiquette.’ So many either send way too much (I try to limit it to about 4) or they don’t send proper postage (etc.) or both.

I hope these answers are helpful to you. Thank you for your interest in time.

The letter is signed “Bob Doerr,” with that careful penmanship.

I could read Doerr’s words all day:

Fans…inspiring…players…honor-bound…the sport we love.

This man’s autograph isn’t signed with ink. Doerr’s pen is filled with gratitude.

*************************************************

I’ve never asked before. But now, I’m asking for Bob Doerr.

Doerr never wrote, “Send me money.” He never even asked for any of us to donate to charity.

All he wants is more collectors to learn and respect “request etiquette.”

Share this post. Tweet. Use any social media. Spread the Hall of Famer’s hope.

I thank you. I know that this throwback hero would, too.

Your letter in the Baseball Hall of Fame? It’s possible!

Don Sutton has another unique tie to the Hall of Fame, this one being hand-written! (Photo credit: Adam Fagen/Wikimedia Commons)
Don Sutton has another unique tie to the Hall of Fame, this one being hand-written! (Photo credit: Adam Fagen/Wikimedia Commons)

A collector, part of Cooperstown? 

That’s one fascinating possibility lurking within the correspondence collection kept by the National Baseball Hall of Fame research library. The 25-page list produces many surprises, none of which may be on public display.

Everyone knows that Hall of Famer Don Sutton has been a reluctant by-mail signer for years. Well, the HOF owns a hand-written letter from the pitcher, offering advice to a young player in 1966. An article from the period documents the exchange.

Players like Jackie Robinson saved letters of support from fans. Browsing the list, I found one fan wrote Robinson six times from 1952-55.

Sure, the archive includes lots of business letters: owners, commissioners, journalists. 

However, none of those official missives would match a single hand-written bit of correspondence between players and fans.

That’s the joy of Baseball By The Letters.

 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/finding-aids/BA+MSS+44+Correspondence+Collection.pdf

When Baseball Hall of Fame losers made winners of collectors

An autographed, personalized copy!
Superb storytelling. A great gift
from a great friend. Thanks, Judy!

The Baseball Hall of Fame results brought me more questions than answers.

I received amazing notes in past years from old-timers like Enos Slaughter or Doug Harvey, men touched that their Hall of Fame potential meant something to a fan.
Years ago, it was easy to look at the near-miss names on the ballot. If you wrote them soon after their election letdown, the chances of a response soared.
Newer inductees or “maybe next year” names like Mike Piazza? Good luck.

Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque Postcards Still A Bargain

Spotted this on eBay.
Collectors can buy
direct from the
Hall of Fame
gift shop.

I just checked in with the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I published a blog post back in 2010 about the famous postcards showing member plaques.Who doesn’t own at least one autographed?
 Each year, eBay dealers and other schemers try to sell the unsigned postcards at huge profits. 
Collectors see the minimum postage and handling costs in the Hall of Fame catalog or online, worrying that only a few cards would be costly.
Postcards are different. Buy direct!
I was told by the HOF that the same 2010 prices apply today. Just 50 cents per postcard, and $2 shipping and handling for up to 20 postcards.
Check out the prior post for more details, including the Hall of Fame gift shop phone number. You can place credit card orders or FAX in bigger requests.

Future Hall of Famer Marvin Miller’s Death: Lessons For Collectors

The Hall of Fame has another mess to clean up.

Ron Santo was just one example. Marvin Miller led the Major League Baseball Players Association. For better or for worse, he helped pioneer free agency. Another worthy, overlooked part of baseball history.

From eBay: small sigs
were vintage Miller!

Inducting someone after their death has happened before.

Miller may have peeved as many collectors as owners in his lifetime. His final stats on www.sportscollectors.net say that he responded 126 times to 174 recorded TTM attempts.

I found the non-player in just two card sets: a 1994 Upper Deck issue and the 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set.

Miller’s eyesight may have been failing for years, judging by his microscopic signatures.

In his defense, neither card offered a great space for an autograph.

I think he became irritated with the cumbersome nature of signing his book and baseballs. I believe that the final collectors who succeeded with Miller were ones who proved they were sincere, educated fans.

Another eBay example:
face-signed cards?

Look hard for other baseball pioneers. Find them before Cooperstown, or the Grim Reaper, calls.

Team owners
umpires
general managers
scouts

Readers: are other non-players Hall of Fame material, ready for autograph collections?

Coming Wednesday: Arizona Fall League insights from The Autograph Card

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