Iowa Cubs autographed baseball giveaway continues Aug. 26

Did Kris Bryant leave any autographs behind? That'll be one of the mysteries drawing fans to Autographed Ball Giveaway Night Aug. 26 in Des Moines. By Minda Haas from Omaha (Kris Bryant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Did Kris Bryant leave any autographs behind? That’ll be one of the mysteries drawing fans to Autographed Ball Giveaway Night Aug. 26 in Des Moines. By Minda Haas from Omaha (Kris Bryant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Cubs are continuing a hobby tradition: Autographed Ball Giveaway.

I first wrote about the tradition in 2011.

Thankfully, the team includes an ID note with each baseball. Not that a current player would ever have questionable penmanship!

Great collector-friendly idea. Great organization. Ask your favorite minor league team why they don’t do the same.

Where does Cubs pitcher Blake Cooper keep his fan mail?

CooperBlakeChicago Cubs pitching prospect Blake Cooper made headlines for an off-the-field reason.

No, he didn’t get arrested.

The PCL hurler’s temporary home caught the attention of the state’s biggest newspaper.

Seasons ago, former Iowa Cub Rod Beck redefined portable lodging when in Des Moines, keeping his RV parked just outside the outfield fences.

Good luck figuring out where Cooper will park in The Windy City. I’m guessing collectors may need to stick with the “c/o team” route in this case.

Writing to players on the Disabled List rehabbing in the minor leaguers?

Mascot, not to be confused with Randy Wehofer. The latter calls one fine game. By Scott McLeod (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Mascot, not to be confused with Randy Wehofer. The latter calls one fine game. By Scott McLeod (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Beat the crowd?

Joe Superstar needs to test his pitching arm. Is he ready to come off the DL? It’s time for a short tune-up and test in AAA first.

Why not write the in-demand signer when he’s back in the minors? Surely, the fan mail crush can’t be the same as the bigs, right?

I posed that question to Randy Wehofer, talented broadcaster and director of media relations, for the Iowa Cubs.  I’m grateful for his response:

“As a front office staff, we deliver all mail addressed to players to our clubhouse when it is received.  In the specific case of rehabbing players, I wouldn’t suggest sending things in the mail.  Typically their stay with us is very short.  By the time we announce that a player is going to join us, and someone puts a letter in the mail to Principal Park, there is a good chance that the player will be gone by the time we receive it.  We do forward mail on during the season, but that is done as time allows for our staff, so it would be impossible to predict when the player may receive it.  Any mail that we get for players after the season ends is typically marked “Return to Sender” since we have no idea what players may return the following year or access to their personal addresses.  
 
In my dealings with players, I know that a self-addressed stamped envelope significantly increases – but doesn’t guarantee – your chances of getting a response.  I would also never put any item in the mail to be autographed that I wasn’t willing to never see again since there are a lot of variables and steps for that item to reach the desired player and ultimately find its way back to you.  It’s also hard to guarantee the condition of that item with all the hands and machines it will pass through in the process as well.”
 
The “rehabbing star, c/o minor league team” is not the secret it once was. And, will teams be able to handle the mail glut? As Randy hints, gamble wisely.

Manny Ramirez Update: Iowa Cubs Do The Right Thing

I spotted this surprise in the Sunday Des Moines Register newspaper.

Someone still wants an autograph from the controversial one-time slugger.
Most of all, I was glad to see that the Iowa Cubs take fan mail seriously. In fact, the “special to the Register” photo credit hints that someone from the I-Cub front office might have provided the picture to the newspaper. I thought an impatient clubhouse man anxious to tidy up could RTS envelopes, simply because ManRam is not there (yet? still???) to claim the mail.
By the way, none of the envelopes are mine. How about you?

Iowa Cubs Giving Away 2,000 Autographed Baseballs At Aug. 22 Game: Signers Include…

My autographed Bob Feller ball was a gift. A gift from the Iowa Cubs. I attended their 2006 promotion, thinking it was too good to be true.

It’s true. In fact, it’s an Iowa tradition. Monday, Aug. 22, is the next autograph extravaganza. Free signed baseballs to the first 2,000 fans. This is worth a trip!

Here’s the inside story from Iowa Cubs broadcaster Randy Wehofer:

“We finally have everything prepared for the giveaway on Monday.  We’ll have 2,000 baseballs that we are giving away and it took quite a long time to put each in a bag, with a corresponding COA to identify the autograph, and seal each with a Subway sticker for our sponsor.  Below is the complete list of autographs featured in the giveaway.  Most are from players that were with us during the season.  Some have signed more than others depending on how long they were here.  Also included are some from most of the guys that did ML rehab with us including Darwin Barney, Jeff Baker, Marlon Byrd, and Reed Johnson.

I looked into when the giveaway started and was told it was 2006, so this is the sixth year.  We’ve probably given away at least 10,000 baseballs over the course of the promotion.”

The following players autographed baseballs:

Jim Adduci
Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney

Justin Berg

Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Marlon Byrd
Dave Bush
Alberto Cabrera
Matt Camp
Chris Carpenter
Esmailin Caridad
Marco Carillo
Welington Castillo
Steve Clevenger
Robert Coello
Casey Coleman
Tyler Colvin
Bill Dancy
Thomas Diamond
Ryan Flaherty
John Gaub
Marwin Gonzalez
Brett Jackson
Jay Jackson
Reed Johnson
Von Joshua
Bryan LaHair
DJ LeMahieu
Scott Maine
Mike Mason
Marcos Mateo
J.R. Mathes
Lou Montanez
Scott Moore
Jonathan Mota
Augie Ojeda
Ramon Ortiz
Blake Parker
Fernando Perez
Marty Pevey
Chris Robinson
Chris Rusin
Bobby Scales
Carlton Smith
Marquez Smith
Brad Snyder
Matt Spencer
Jeff Stevens
Nick Struck
Nate Teut
Ty Wright
Robin Roberts
Pete Rose
Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
Bruce Sutter
Sparky Anderson
Derek Lee
Tony Perez
Orlando Cepeda
Fergie Jenkins
Luis Aparicio 

Two to-be-named Iowa Cubs will be signing free autographs near the Gate A concourse that night from 6-6:30 p.m.

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