Signatures for Soldiers: Autographs for a cause

Underrated pitcher and great guy. Check out his stat page at Baseball Almanac!

Underrated pitcher and great guy. Check out his stat page at Baseball Almanac!

Me. Me. Me.

No matter how well you do in making your case to a current or former player, chances are your request might seem like just another demand to an autograph signer.

What if someone convinced a potential signer that the request was for them, them, them?

Tim Virgilio has done that with his “Signatures for Soldiers” charity, raising more than $3,000 to benefit Military Missions in Action.

Nick Diunte and his Baseball Happenings site shined (as usual) getting Tim to share his vision of what autographs can do for the greater good. Nick’s feature pointed out that Woody Williams and Jim Leyritz were the first two notables to aid the Signatures for Soldiers team.

Tim is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with former combat veterans for the last nine years. He chose carefully in finding an organization that’s adept at serving disabled vets.

To find out how you can purchase autographs for a great cause or help Tim’s efforts, write to him at or find the Facebook page by the same name.

Negro Leaguer collects collector letters

In words, in his own artwork, in two languages, Kohei Nirengi loves baseball!

In words, in his own artwork, in two languages, Kohei Nirengi loves baseball!

I am a Nick Diunte fan.

I read his great interviews and fantastic features at and Nick’s love for the game and his attention to detail set him apart from other writers.

His fact-finding talent resurfaced during a recent discovery he made online.

He found amazing footage in the documentary Extra Innings: Preserving the History of the Negro Leagues. (Please, take a look at the Youtube clip.) There’s former Kansas City Monarch Bill McCrary with a binder. He’s proud to show a letter he preserved from a fan in Japan.

That’s no ordinary fan. That’s blog reader and friend Kohei Nirengi.

Yes, so many retirees read our letters.

Many are thrilled more than you’ll ever know.

And this is the tricky part. I believe Mr. McCrary wasn’t stunned by a letter from another country. He was impressed seeing that someone made a special effort to learn his story and contact him with a personal letter.

Your postmark doesn’t matter. Your sincerity and dedication do.

Thank you, Nick. Thank you, Kohei!

Negro Leaguer Jim Zapp retires from autographs

Posted January 15th, 2015 by Tom Owens and filed in Allen and Ginter, Jim Zapp, Negro Leagues, Nick Diunte,
I spotted this on a 2006
website. Zapp had a knack
for small autographs that
would stand out without
ruining the look of a card
or photo!

An autograph may last forever, but the signer may not.

A tip of the cap goes to top baseball blogger Nick Diunte at “Baseball Happenings“.
He received word from the son of Negro Leaguer Jim Zapp that his dad’s health has ended his autographing days. 
The letter Nick received was quite touching. It’s clear proof that the fan mail mattered to Mr. Zapp. Additionally, his son wanted to find out about acquiring Allen and Ginter cards of his father. 
A thought? Anyone who didn’t get their A&G sent for an autograph should consider sending a gift to the Zapp family. A gift of thanks. 
And, remember that letter. There are former players who appreciate us, too!