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.

A curtain call for Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr

Doerr_2All  these years later, I’m still stunned at Bobby Doerr.

I had to offer this repeat viewing of his kindness and respect shown to all collectors.

The always-amazing notes that he’s signed more than 3,000 TTM requests.

Cooperstown: we need more hobby ambassadors like Bobby Doerr! 

Frustrated Collectors Forget Valentine’s Day!

Autograph collectors, have a heart!
Get yours at the zazzle website!

Are you overwhelmed by all the Valentine’s Day cards in stores?

How many cards (if any) will you send? Not give, but send! One for your parents?

Don’t worry, I’m not working for Hallmark. I just wanted the chance to illustrate how overwhelming fan mail might seem every week for the average retired baseball player.

I see the complaints yearly:

1. He switched (or kept) my good card for a poor condition common.
2. He used ballpoint when I wanted Sharpie (or vice versa).
3. He didn’t get my personalization right.
4. He didn’t add the inscription I asked for.

No, it’s not fair, nor fun, to get such a letdown in your envelope. I don’t think it’s on purpose much of the time. In the past year, I’ve posted comments from Bobby Doerr, Carl Erskine and Virgil Trucks telling about getting quantities of mail DAILY.

If you’re paying a fee for the autograph, then you’re purchasing a product. See that you’re getting your money’s worth. However, the service of a free response doesn’t come with a guarantee. Almost all the willing signers have great batting averages, giving collectors what they want. They get my admiration and thanks.

Writing to Dodger Pitcher Carl Erskine: Time To Thank This Tireless Autograph All-Star

Often willing to provide answers to
anything fans ask, Erskine even
adds a signed gift to most replies!

What’s right about the autograph hobby?

Yesterday, I indulged in a rubber-stamping rant. Today, equal time is required.

There are still kind, grateful men from baseball’s past. They aren’t all from the 1940s and ’50s. I discovered a heart-warming story about Giants pitcher Phil Nastu (1978-80) going above and beyond to fulfill a TTM autograph request. I’m hoping to salute him, getting details of why he’d be so dedicated to an unknown collector.

Other names on the latest batch of envelopes launched from BBTL-land:

Bobby Doerr
Boo Ferriss
Carl Erskine

I wanted to send a standing ovation to each of these three signers, too. Each of these men have decades of autograph heroics on Mr. Nastu. Along with saying thanks, I’ve just wanted to ask about their fan mail volume, why they keep delighting everyone who writes, and what we can do to thank them.

I saw on that Bob Wiesler and Fred Caligiuri had answered questions for other collectors.

I gasped at the lengthy post-baseball musical career of Dick Adams, a member of the 1947 Philadelphia Athletics. Likewise, I’m stunned at the many charity initiatives of Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel. I wanted to find out how baseball has inspired each.

I found a recent newspaper profile of pitcher Turk Wendell. I wanted to make sure he had a copy. Also, I’m hoping he’ll explain a couple of his mystical comments from that feature.

Lastly, I realized that former Angels and A’s manager Bobby Winkles may have grown up in the shadow of a Hall of Famer. I’m seeking details.

There’s the game plan behind my latest batch of fan mail. Stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, I hope you find as many reasons to add names to your want list.

Thursday: Inspiration from Japan.

Get Dawson, Herzog & Harvey HOF Postcards!

(Courtesy Samantha Carr, NBHOF)

One of the biggest frustrations I’ve seen through the years comes from dealers reselling blank Hall of Fame plaque postcards.

Newbie autograph collectors think, “Wow! This dealer was at Cooperstown. He only wants a couple bucks per card. I can get them signed.”

It doesn’t take a road trip to get the postcards. Buy them direct from the Hall of Fame and save money!

For just 50 cents each, plus postage ($2 for up to 20 cards, $4.95 for 21 to 100 or $6.95 for 101 to 200) you can order the postcards by mail. Call the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum store at 607-547-0280 to request an order form. Or, if you have the names of inductee postcards you want to order, they should do phone orders with a credit card.

The days of members signing for free are fading fast. Bobby Doerr and Lee MacPhail might be the only non-charging exceptions. Nevertheless, the postcards are a link to my past as a fan and collector. They’re still a bargain.

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