Baseball In Wartime Site Celebrates 10 Years

A must-see website for fans, collectors

Happy Fourth of July, Friends!

If you want to feel proud to be an American, and proud to be a baseball fan, take a moment on this holiday to savor Gary Bedingfield’s amazing Baseball In Wartime website. The biographies of player veterans from World War II are inspiring.

What does this have to do with autographs or writing to retired players?

Gary is racing against time. Pick up your own daily newspaper. Read the obituaries for a week. Chances are you’ll find at least one WWII vet in the death notices. In larger towns, it’s almost a daily occurrence.

Gary knows that insights about being “over there” in World War II will disappear when those men do. Likewise, those autographs from sure-thing signers like Bobby Doerr and Virgil Trucks aren’t going to be there forever.

Some time remains for Gary, and for us. There’s still some vets out there. Write to one today, if for no other reason than to say thanks. Save an extra thanks for Gary Bedingfield, who reminds us that baseball players can be heroes off the field, too.

Coming Tuesday: an inside look at fan mail from a triple A team.

Make Autographs Count on Memorial Day

Who should I collect?

What do I say in a letter?

Two good questions asked by many a collector. My answers are:

1. Anyone with personal meaning in your own life is a hero. Seek their autograph.

2. Tell the person why they matter. Thank them for what they’ve done.

On this Memorial Day, I’m thinking about my late father, who served in the Air Force just after World War II. My memories of him confirm that I’m doing the right thing. I’m hoping to make contact with baseball’s surviving World War II vets.

There’s more than one book published about baseball’s role in World War II. For a quick start, I’d point everyone to a league-leading historian. For the last 10 years, Gary Bedingfield has been remembering baseball’s wartime contributions. His patriotic website and blog have kept me writing to these men still here with tales to share.

I’ve even sought the great Bill Mauldin stamp out this spring. Ask any vet what “Willie and Joe” cartoons meant to them. You’ll be amazed at their answers.

Thank you to every veteran reading this today. Thanks to all supporters of “Baseball By The Letters.” Upon this 100th post, I’m still delighted to be here.

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