Joey Votto keeps Cincinnati odd-ball autograph tradition alive!

From August 27: Votto stares down a fan who battled him a foul ball. Votto would present the fan with a second ball, autographed! (Photo credit: ThatLostDog/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons)
From August 2: Votto stares down a fan who battled him for a foul ball. Votto would present the fan with a second ball, autographed! (Photo credit: ThatLostDog/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons)

For the Cincinnati Reds, an autographed baseball is the equivalent to the “get out of jail free” card in MONOPOLY.

Joey Votto’s anger over a fan who outdueled him for a foul ball was rectified by a post-incident autographed baseball

Brandon Phillips used signed-ball diplomacy previously. 

Votto has used autographs to make a statement before, explaining why he wouldn’t sign for Cubs fans.

The inspiring website www.sportscollectors.net notes that collectors through the mail have gotten 365 responses (69 percent success rate overall). However, the last recorded response came in June, 2015.

I predict this won’t be the last time the Cincy slugger depends on autographs to gain center stage.

Merry Christmas To Ted Kremer, My Favorite Cincinnati Red

A work of art
by Bill Kearns!

Time for one more thank-you note.

No Christmas presents have been opened yet. The present I got came seeing guest batboy Ted Kremer talk about his team.
This guy is contagious!
On a baseball postcard sent in care of the Reds (employing him part-time in the front office), I said:
“Thank you for reminding me why I love baseball. Merry Christmas!

Tom Owens”
Who doesn’t know this inspirational story? Start with this Facebook page, to see why Reds fans adore Ted.
The team should have advertised Ted as a part of Redsfest. I’d send him on the winter caravan, too. 
Also, I know that collector Bill Kearns has posted successful autograph responses by mail from Ted. Bill crafted some epic custom cards for the letter, long before Topps wised up and made Mister T a part of its “Traded” set.
Baseball needs more Ted Kremers. Let’s hope the Reds will share his enthusiasm with all fans and collectors in 2014.

Cincy’s Gene Freese, Autograph All-Star, Gone At Age 79

How much did Fleer pay
players for appearing in
their 1960s sets? In 1963,
the card came with a cookie.
Were players paid in
baked goods?!?

Thanks to Ron Martin for sharing some sad news:

 
“I guess that you have heard that a true friend to the hobby of TTM collecting has departed.  Gene Freese a member of the 1961 Ragamuffin Reds passed away last week evidently from complications due to back surgery.  I know that I had gotten several items signed by him through the years including the photo of Pete Rose coming out of the dugout for his first game in the major leagues.  Rose, Frank Robinson, Cardenas, and Tommy Harper who you cannot see in that photo are the only surviving members in that photo.  Where has time gone?”
 
Mr. Freese (yes, I watched Batman…) died at age 79.
 
Anyone who played more than a decade in the pre-expansion 1950s and 60s had my admiration.
 
Most of all, I admired Freese’s ironman ethic serving the hobby. The sterling website www.sportscollectors.net credited him for signing 183 of 185 requests.
 
Sadly, I missed out on him. Examples of his signature were superbly detailed. No G— F—–.
 
One collector shared on the SCN site that he tried to send Freese $5. The veteran returned the cash with the requested autograph, along with an note claiming that the fiver was half of the signing bonus he received in 1953!
 
The roster of available signers from the 1950s and 60s is shrinking. Get these hobby heroes like Gene Freese as fast as you can.
 
 
 
 

Catcher Bob Schmidt’s Final Autograph?

Years of service, to baseball
and the hobby. Thank you!

Thanks to Reds collector Ron Martin for sharing the news, via www.sportscollectors.net.

Former catcher Bob Schmidt, part of Cincinnati’s 1961 team, suffered a stroke and is unable to sign autographs.

Schmidt’s greatest statistic?

According to SCN, he signed 97 of 99 TTM requests.

Before everyone crosses him off their baseball address lists, I have one question:

When a retiree has to stop signing because of health matters, do any of you (who own his autograph) ever send a thank-you note? I’d think a note saying, “I kept your autograph all these years” would be quite meaningful.

Just a thought.

Breaking News: Tracy Jones Delivers?!?

The website www.omgreds.com shared these specimens in
December, but reported on 12/15 that Jones wanted to
cancel his free autograph offer. Why did he go through with it?
By the way, this website looks like a great resource
for Reds autograph possibilities!

Tonight’s menu includes crow and humble pie.

I waved the red (Cincinnati Reds?) flag back in January over concerns that Tracy Jones might be toying with the affections of WLW listeners. I didn’t throw stones or call names. However, I did address that I hoped collectors wouldn’t be teased with empty promises.

Jeff Schultz reported on www.sportscollectors.net that he may be the first to find that the former outfielder came through on his promise for a postage-paid autographed card to anyone who e-mailed. Thanks to Jeff, who scored a signed 1987 Topps.

There could be good news at your door soon, too. It may not be that Publisher’s Clearinghouse guy with the balloons and the giant cardboard check. I’ll take TJ as my consolation prize.

People who keep their word get my applause. There’s a new reason for wanting a Tracy Jones autograph!

Coming Wednesday: What did the late Don Mincher teach us?

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