How ‘The Big Hurt’ Hurt The Hobby

Cooperstown should
honor this Thomas, too,
for always-precise
penmanship. Check out
the personal website
of the FIRST Frank Thomas

The OTHER Frank Thomas is trying.

Yea for speaking out against steroids in his Cooperstown induction speech.
What I’m still puzzling over is a career of abbreviated autographs. 
If he was catcher Cliff “C.J.” Johnson, it might not matter as much. Fans were sure this Frank Thomas could be a future Hall of Famer.
I remember an elderly collector telling me in the early 1990s about paying big bucks and standing in line at a hobby show for an “F– T –” autograph. He asked if that was his REAL autograph. Thomas threw in a silent grin for free. 
I loved the New York Times article earlier this year by Tyler Kepner about illegible autographs. I hope more people keep the conversation alive this year.

Pat Neshek Still Shines As Hobbyist

Give this collector an “A’s” for effort!

The New York Times offered an awesome tribute to hobby ambassador Pat Neshek last week.
Tyler Kepner is one of my favorite baseball journalists. However, he didn’t address two questions:

1. How many players would send a clubhouse attendant to ask for someone else’s autograph?

2. How many current players wouldn’t confess to collecting autographs?

I hope everyone reads the whole feature. In the final paragraph awaits a surprise.

One autograph reply could have changed Neshek’s career!

In college, he wrote Virgil Trucks. All Pat got in return was a FOUR-PAGE letter offering advice to a young pitcher. It seems that “Fire” was a double inspiration…on the mound, and as someone who demonstrated how to sign autographs with style and grace.

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