AAGPBL Calls: Girls Leaguers Still Sign!

A book deadline is calling.

I need to say, “See you in September.” Not forever, but only until I can help get one epic story back into print.
Meanwhile, you’ll find an archive of more than 900 posts here to keep your summer sizzling.
When I return, I’ll have news about the much-anticipated new and expanded edition of Belles of the Ballpark, thanks to talented co-author Diana Star Helmer and Summer Game Books. The AAGPBL survivors who are still physically able are signing by mail, by the way. I heard from 13 who answered questions for the book. Some were 90 and above. Write to these wondrous women soon.
Thank you for your support of the blog since 2010. I’ve always insisted that I’m about the stories behind the signatures, instead of mere autographs.
You’ll see more of why this project has been so important this fall. When September call-ups happen, I’d be grateful if you’d promote me back to your active roster.

Revisiting the AAGPBL: Testing Girls Leaguer Response Rates

Here’s news, plus a request:

First, I hope you’ll cheer with me for a new edition of an AAGPBL book by my wife Diana Star Helmer. I get to co-author on this revised edition of the title. 
The 1992 book was entitled Belles of the Ballpark. This updated edition will look at all the things the later movie A League of Their Own did and DID NOT accomplish. Interviews with Casey Candaele and the late Woody English (an AAGPBL coach) will be part of the added package. Best of all, this is the chance to tell the complete story of two women who salvaged the league’s disappearing history in the 1980s.
The book releases this fall from Summer Game Books
As I wrote earlier, the AAGPBL veterans were thrilled to autograph Diana’s copy of her book, referencing the specific page she mentioned each one on. While corresponding with the remaining alums this summer, I’ll share what they have to say about TTM autographs. 
Meanwhile, readers, any tips on great girls leaguers who’ve signed for you would be much appreciated.
These women played a Red Cross benefit game at Wrigley Field in 1943 using portable lights. That was the first-ever game at night in the Friendly Confines.The 1988 night game at Wrigley simply became the first Major League game under lights. History with an asterisk. You should have heard the flustered Cubs PR guy on the phone that year when I told him about the press clippings confirming the prior event. “We can neither confirm nor deny…GARGLE GARGLE GULP!”
The AAGPBL history-makers have many untold stories. Diana and I want to share more of their classic tales, allowing these fine ladies to tip their caps one more time. 

Timing Bob Boone’s Signing Habits

Keep chasing Boonie
before the HOF calls! If you think he’s
a streaky signer now, just wait…

One of the joys of this blog is finding all-star readers. These are the gamers of the hobby, those tireless collectors who do autographs their way.

Thanks to Dan Brunetti sent a great note with an interesting possibility:

“I have enjoyed your posts this month.

My “why won’t this guy sign for me?” is Bob Boone.  I have gotten RTS returns from him both through the Nationals and at his home address while the rest of the world seems to be racking up successes at both addresses with one or two week turnarounds.  I am chalking it up to bad timing, as I sent to the Nationals in January and to his home in California in May.

I have have a few others where I saw several cards mailed after mine show up in the success column of others while I was still waiting.  Bill Lee and Bert Campaneris are two good examples.”

Poor Mario Mendoza got a “line” named after his anemic batting average. Will the spot signers who vex a particular collector be assigned the pitcher’s name? As in, “The guy totally Santorini-s me every time I write!”

Lastly, here’s a grateful shout-out to Daniel Solzman. He shared…

“I had the chance to meet Wade Boggs on Wednesday when I went to the Rays-Red Sox game.  He was doing a charity signing at the Ted Williams Museum prior to the game.  It was $30, well more than the $5 he charges TTM but it was worth it as the money went to the Boston Strong fund as well as a military veterans fund.  Now I have a photo with Wade that I am getting made into an 8×10 to get signed!
 
Dick Vitale was also at the game, too.  He adopted the Stan Musial model of having pre-signed cards with him,  He posed for a photo in the middle of the 8th inning with me.  I’m also getting that made into an 8×10 and sending to ESPN for an HOF inscription.”
 
Speaking of Stan The Man, allow me to cheer for the writing of Dan The Man. Enjoy Daniel’s “Redbird Rants,” including this exclusive chat with Ozzie Smith. Well done, fellow correspondent!
 
I love all the feedback. We can learn so much from each other. How’s your baseball correspondence lately? Please, let me know.

Happy Birthday To My ‘Belle of the Ballpark,’ Author/Fan/Best Friend Diana Star Helmer

Do me a favor, please. Before you read the rest of this blog, before you check the baseball standings or search for more stamps and envelopes, say thanks.

Not to me. Thank your hobby MVP. There’s someone near you who’s made a difference in your life as a baseball fan and autograph collector. Whether it’s a child, parent, sibling, spouse or even pet, someone has been patient with you. Despite all those baseball games and trips to the mailbox, they still love you.

My hobby MVP is my wife, Diana Star Helmer.

She’s learned to love the sport, because she loves me. Diana even wrote a sensational book about baseball (the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League), Belles of the Ballpark. This out-of-print title is worth being searched for, in libraries or used bookstores.

Her work is even more stunning, considering that she corresponded with and interviewed worried old women. The production company responsible for the movie A League of Their Own intimidated former players, warning them that doing interviews of any kind before the movie’s release would jeopardize the film’s success. (In other words, director Penny Marshall’s gang wanted an exclusive.)

Hollywood couldn’t stop Diana, who won over the AAGPBL alums one by one, all due to her knowledge and passion for their history.

Diana owns one of the greatest autographed items ever. At a reunion, former players passed around Diana’s book. They autographed pages where their names were mentioned. They wrote in margins. They spotted their names in the index and signed there.

She’s earned my gratitude, admiration and love. Happy birthday!

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