How ‘The Big Hurt’ Hurt The Hobby

Cooperstown should
honor this Thomas, too,
for always-precise
penmanship. Check out
the personal website
of the FIRST Frank Thomas

The OTHER Frank Thomas is trying.

Yea for speaking out against steroids in his Cooperstown induction speech.
What I’m still puzzling over is a career of abbreviated autographs. 
If he was catcher Cliff “C.J.” Johnson, it might not matter as much. Fans were sure this Frank Thomas could be a future Hall of Famer.
I remember an elderly collector telling me in the early 1990s about paying big bucks and standing in line at a hobby show for an “F– T –” autograph. He asked if that was his REAL autograph. Thomas threw in a silent grin for free. 
I loved the New York Times article earlier this year by Tyler Kepner about illegible autographs. I hope more people keep the conversation alive this year.

Personalized Praise For Bob Oliver

Did Topps Get It Wrong?
Radio always called
him BigBob Oliver…

To Bob Oliver,

According to website, you’re hitting at a smokin’ hot .860. That is, 86 percent of collectors who’ve written to you for autographs have gotten just that. All without any demand for pay. The hobby thanks you.

I encountered only one boobird. A collector felt you had personalized only as to discourage the autograph being sold on ebay. This person felt that you needed to add “good luck,” “best wishes” or another sentiment for the inscription to be complete and real.

Don’t listen. I choose to believe that you are being personal. You are proving that you read each letter.

Things could be much worse. You could be like catcher Cliff “CJ” Johnson, penning only your initials.

Wait! Please, don’t do that.

However, if you do want something to brag about, call son Darren Oliver. The hobby website claims that the pitcher’s only responded to 69 percent of autograph requests.

Oh. In case this praise doesn’t seem personalized enough…

Best wishes, good luck and thanks for the memories!
Tom Owens

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