Grant Jackson Throws a Polite Strikeout

Same Artistic Autograph!

Strike three!


I can’t imagine hearing the umpire’s call followed by an apology from the mound.

Or, with Grant Jackson, I could.

I got a November letter with my questions returned — unanswered.

In unmistakable Jackson handwriting was:


What followed was


not just on my letter, but on a color postcard-sized picture that he provided.

Yes, that’s my bad news. But there’s good news. For several weeks in 2010, Jackson letters were returned unopened, RTS. He is signing again.

Also, he seems interested in fans. Although he’s not going to answer questions for free, it seems, he might write a book someday. Let him get paid once for sharing his story, and we’ll all be richer for it.

Giant Mike Sadek Homered for Dad

Mike Sadek may have been as rare as an Elvis sighting in San Francisco box scores from 1973-81. However, his memories would put him on my list of all-star Giant storytellers.

First, I wanted to know if this Minnesota native was immune to cold-and-windy Candlestick Park. I’m still shivering over memories of my one blustery trip there. How did he feel?

“Cold and windy, but better than the minor leagues!”

The back-up catcher got a bonus in his 1973 rookie season. He became batterymate for future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.

“Yes, it was a thrill to catch him. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he had great control.”

I expected Sadek to tell what kind of pitch he clouted for his first major league home run on June 19, 1977, versus Grant Jackson. (Thanks for the history, Maybe, he’d remember the final score. Instead, I received a classic tale.

“It took a few years for me to hit one and after I circled the bases and got to the dugout — there was one of my idols (since I was in junior high school) Willie McCovey — laying flat on the bench. Two guys were fanning him with towels.

He lifted his head and said, ‘I thought I saw Sheik (me) hit a home run!’

The biggest thrills for me was just getting there after six-plus years in the minor leagues — introducing my dad around (my biggest fan — my first-hit ball and my first career HR ball are buried with him.”

Tomorrow: learn about Sadek’s holiest of autographs.

Grant Jackson, 207 Victories?

I just saw on the forum section of that relief pitcher Grant Jackson might be through.

Through? Through with answering fan mail. Some through-the-mail collectors have been getting their cards returned unsigned.

This sad turn of events comes after reviewing Jackson’s stats. Collectors had logged 207 successes for Jackson, a 96 percent success rate. Nearly everyone received a bonus in their return. Along with their requested autographed, Jackson would tuck in a signed postcard from his Pirates days.

Years ago, he sent me one when he pitched with the Orioles. Throughout his 18-year career and after, Jackson has been a rock-solid signer.

We may never know why he stopped signing by mail. His change of heart should remind collectors to make every letter count. Be individualized. Be personal. They do read what you write.

Even with younger retired players, there’s no forever. Don’t assume you can wait to get a response by mail.

What’s been your biggest disappointment, or surprise, through the mail, lately?

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