Walter O’Malley Dodgers correspondence inspires

O'MalleyYou are not alone.

Baseball by the letters matters to everyone, not just fans and collectors.

Check out the official website of Walter O’Malley, the former Dodgers owner.

It’s great to see peeks at real correspondence, not just scribbled signatures.

Collect those letters. Save them. Read between the lines. You might find a special bit of baseball history tucked away, just for you.

Baseball-Crazy Cartoonist Scott Hilburn Shares ‘Argyle Sweater’ History

From Feb. 11, 2011. Did the Flyin’ Hawaiian
ever know he was a comics all-star, too? Visit to keep daily tabs
on this funny fellow fan!
Last week, I wrote about seeing Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt appear in the “funny papers.” 

I pondered whether cartoonists were well-connected folk who knew anyone and everyone. Would it matter saying to a major leaguer that you saw them honored in the comics?

Here’s the kind reply from creator Scott Hilburn himself:

“Hi Tom,

I’m not specifically a Dodgers fan – but a huge baseball fan in general.  

I’ve never been to a Dodgers game (I live in Dallas) but only because I haven’t had the opportunity yet.

I try to catch the closest ballgame when I travel and I hope to, one day, visit every stadium.

I’ve included a few players in my comic before. Shane Victorino immediately comes to mind.

No feedback from any of the players though.”

Thanks to Scott for his time, and for funny stuff worth sharing with any real-life counterpart.


Creativity Pays When Writing For Autographs: Grab Some Scissors & Think Comical!

Players, past and present, are human. If you
see them mentioned in an offbeat way, share it.
Good luck finding more offbeat fun than what’s
offered by “The Argyle Sweater.”

Many new collectors ask the best way to write a letter to a former major leaguer.

The late Virgil Trucks told me once that fan mail writers tried to tell him things about his career. Rarely could someone surprise him with a factoid or stats.
I’m talking about SHOWING someone when you write.
How many people saw this 6/23 comic panel. It’s called Argyle Sweater, by Scott Hilburn. Funny stuff. Rarely does a cartoonist reference a specific person.
In case you can’t read the pitching coach’s number, Hilburn even has Honeycutt’s correct #40. Any Los Angeles Dodgers fan would love seeing broadcaster Vin Scully co-starring in the gag.
Cut out the comic (or print it out). Say you thought his family might like an extra. Send one to the coach.
Players and retirees think that collectors are all about taking. Give a little.

‘The 34-Ton Bat’ Is 2013’s Buried Treasure

How did I miss this one?

Author Steve Rushin has unearthed untold diamond history in The 34-Ton Bat: the Story of Baseball, As Told Through Bobble Heads, Cracker Jacks, Jock Straps, Eye Black & 375 Other Strange & Unforgettable Objects (Little & Brown, $25).
This is a “Me, too!” book, answering questions we’ve all had about baseball’s beginnings. He’s captured classic stories about the PEOPLE behind these baseball traditions. 
Here’s one that stands out. 
Years ago, I landed an assignment to write about history of Dodgers souvenirs for the team yearbook (you can look it up!). A huge part of that story was the late Danny Goodman, the merchandising wizard who showed the world all the logoed goodies Los Angeles Dodgers fans could enjoy. In the early 1970s, I’d save my allowance to mail-order team memorabilia that was 10-15 years old, at bargain prices. Little did I know that the man sending out the price list helped invent these collectibles!
I spoke to a high-ranking team employee, someone who’d been in the Dodgers family since the L.A. transplant. 
“Why do you want to know about him? He died years ago,” I was informed.
Therefore, I know Rushin’s task wasn’t easy. Writing about baseball’s unsung heroes is one huge challenge. 
Here’s something autograph collectors should consider. Many of these history makers are still alive, and would be easy to track down. Write to them. Do they know they’re getting recognition, at last? Tell them you read about them. They may not be baseball cards of them, but that doesn’t lessen their claims to fame.
Spring training isn’t here yet. If you need a book to get you through the last days of baseball-less winter, Steve Rushin is your author.

L.A. Dodger Dick Gray Delighted Autograph Collectors
has an awesome collection of
autographs, including those
many of us missed out on!

Dick Gray, the man who hit the first-ever homer for the L.A. Dodgers, has died at age 81.

The ever-impressive noted that Gray never disappointed. He was a perfect 63-for-63.

The most common notation from collectors? Gray would add a “thanks for writing” note. Answering questions, adding requested personalizations — Gray did it all.

The part-time third baseman remained a class act, personifying the fan-friendly tradition known as “The Dodger Way.”

Hobby heroes are still out there ready to sign, but they won’t last long.

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