A tip of the cap to Ed Mayer, who has passed away at age 84.
I appreciated his past letter from 2010, one worth a curtain call. I praised his 25 years of public school teaching. Forever a teacher, Mayer was famed for sending back personal letters to collectors, praising them on their baseball knowledge.
Too often, obits reinforce how someone died. Here, I’d like to remember how Ed lived. Enjoy this feature showing one old Cub’s gratitude. His wife even mentioned Ed’s fan mail!
The latter is a collector who defied the odds and received (I should say EARNED) an impressive TTM response recently. Bob Bailey signed.
(Cue the standing ovation, please!)
If you can’t race to www.sportscollectors.net to see how many recorded autograph successes there are for Bailey in the last decade, know that I beat you.
The answer is less than one. That’s right. A zero signer.
Yep. Brian tried, despite the odds.
Of course, he did something special. He researched Bailey’s career, noting that the former slugger was the last-ever manager of the Hawaii Islanders minor league team in 1987. Then, he asked what the job was like.
Brian has specialized in Hawaii baseball history. This wasn’t a new novelty attempt to get a tough autograph.
Speaking of Hawaii, know that the ship of opportunity has sailed regarding a letter asking Mr. Bailey about the Islanders team. The man hit 189 homers in 17 years. He’ll know the difference between one sincere collector and copycats.
However, find possibility in the Bob Bailey story Brian shared. Never say never for a tough signer. Of course, risking any card or collectible to get signed is a high-stakes gamble (just like sending cash in the mail for an autograph).
Asking a question about someone’s life and career is different. Aside from paper and postage, asking is free.
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.
“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.