Johnny"Double No-Hitter" Vander Meer Despised Deadbeat Collectors

Don’t assume why some former players who sign for pay have a “cash only” policy..
(Yes, I count a donation as a payment.)

I met former pitcher Johnny Vander Meer at a 1980s sports collectors show. At that time, he wanted a donation to the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT).

He growled to Luke Appling about the hassles of dealing with personal checks. I could see that he felt that collectors bounced checks on purpose, trying to cheat “Double No-Hit” out of a signature and BAT out of a donation.

“Cash is easier!” he proclaimed.

Sure, the temptation of a retiree to “forget” to tell the IRS about all the fivers that come in the mail weekly is a possibility. I won’t assume that all autograph signers have tax fraud on their minds. Avoiding problems with the bank could be another motivation.

Readers: how do you feel about sending cash in the mail for an autograph?

Johnny”Double No-Hitter” Vander Meer Despised Deadbeat Collectors

Don’t assume why some former players who sign for pay have a “cash only” policy..
(Yes, I count a donation as a payment.)

I met former pitcher Johnny Vander Meer at a 1980s sports collectors show. At that time, he wanted a donation to the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT).

He growled to Luke Appling about the hassles of dealing with personal checks. I could see that he felt that collectors bounced checks on purpose, trying to cheat “Double No-Hit” out of a signature and BAT out of a donation.

“Cash is easier!” he proclaimed.

Sure, the temptation of a retiree to “forget” to tell the IRS about all the fivers that come in the mail weekly is a possibility. I won’t assume that all autograph signers have tax fraud on their minds. Avoiding problems with the bank could be another motivation.

Readers: how do you feel about sending cash in the mail for an autograph?

Autograph Collectors: Asking is Free


I’m marveling over the newest edition of Harvey Meiselman’s comprehensive baseball address list. A whopping 246 pages, the list is a collector’s greatest ally in making the most of your efforts. Every collector should own one.

I have an interview with Harvey that I did eons ago. I’ll be sharing that on the blog in the future.

For now, I wanted to focus on the 4-1/2 pages of “Players Who Charge.”

The fees vary, some as low as $1 per signature for Kevin Elster or Reggie Cleveland. Some former players demand cash. Although this statement might sound like some autograph signers are hoping to dodge the IRS, I think some of the motivation is in avoiding hassles with the bank.

During a 1980s card show I covered for Sports Collectors Digest, I listened to Johnny Vander Meer grumble to Luke Appling that he was trying to solicit donations for the Baseball Assistance Team — only to have collectors bounce checks.

I think the list will keep growing. Everyone has the right not to respond, or to charge for their autograph.

I’ll remain grateful for what I receive. I’m not sending any items to be signed. Just 2-3 questions. Furthermore, I don’t second-guess someone who answers questions without signing his name. I read that one ex-player who responded (now in his 80s) has macular degeneration. His “reply” looked dictated. The ornate, loopy cursive appeared to be that of a teen female. No matter. Someone cared enough to give me the gift of his insight.

It is a gift. Every reply. A reply I send a thank-you note for.

An autograph for a fee is a product, with buyers and sellers.

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