Charging for TTM autographs? Who gets the money? Baseball Address List creator Harvey Meiselman weighs in on hot hobby topics

Talk about hobby hope! The 2019 Baseball Address List will help ring in my new year.

His letter to past address list buyers got me psyched for the long winter. As usual, Harvey’s adding features and updates to his 2019 edition. For instance, this volume will have a list of more than 250 baseball names who are now charging for TTM autographs.

Whoa! How many?

“Yes, over 250 players are now charging,” Harvey said.  “Some are donating the money to charity, but most are keeping the money themselves. They see the value of baseball autographs on eBay and places like that and want to get in on the action and make some money on their signatures. No big surprise with what PastPros is doing with a lot of the lesser-known MLB players. Charging ridiculous fees (they make almost as much on a handling charge as the players make on a signature) and all requests have to go through their company in Canada so it takes a long time. I hear a lot of complaints from my customers about them.”

I asked about high-end autograph fees (as someone who has never paid by mail for any autograph). Harvey rattled off examples: “Lou Brock used to charge $85 a signature but he is no longer able to sign due to health reasons. Orlando Cepeda gets $60 per signature. Roger Clemens gets $100 per signature. Reggie Jackson gets $89 for a signature. Whitey Ford gets $40. Pete Rose gets $100 per signature. Nolan Ryan gets $90.There are a few that get over $30 per signature but most are in the $10-25 range.”

How can Harvey often update addresses of moved players so quickly? He has address-hunting experience that runs far beyond his days in the hobby. “My search engine costs me $400 a month and is updated every week,” he said.” It was the same search engine I used when I was a skip tracer at a Florida bank. That’s why my lists are so good.”

To learn more about Harvey’s address lists (baseball is just one of many sports he covers), go to www.SportsAddressLists.com.

Orlando Cepeda, Al Rosen Go To Bat For ‘Havana Curveball’

Young Micah and his Grandpa: Two Heroes to
know and love in “Havana Curveball”

Back in 2012, I found one great baseball story. As you know, this blog is about the stories behind the signatures.


And Al Rosen offered his signatures for the cause, a dozen signed baseballs to help fund an amazing documentary idea.

That vision is now reality! In August, Havana Curveball (once entitled ‘Got Balz?’) makes its world premiere.

Filmmaker Marcia Jarmel had this to share:

“We are just now getting the word out to players, but just last week we received a wonderful endorsement from Orlando Cepeda: 

“Great film, real baseball, tremendously authentic!” 
— Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco Giants, Hall of Fame 1999

I know that Dusty Baker has a copy and is planning to watch with his son, but no word yet. We also have had great support from Al Rosen, who signed a dozen balls for us during our crowdfunding campaign.

As for your second question, funny you should ask. We are inviting people, schools, organizations, public libraries, baseball teams, etc. to bring the film to their own community. Anyone interested, can reach us at: distribution@patchworksfilms.net. We have upcoming screenings in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Orlando, Seattle, and Frankfurt on the books right now.  

People can also find out when the film is coming to their area by joining our Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/havanacurveball or our Twitter stream at: https://twitter.com/HavanaCurveball. The trailer and some other short videos are also to be found at: www.havanacurveball.info.”

If you know a synagogue, a college campus, local film festival or independent cinema, please, share this news with them. This uplifting documentary belongs on every movie screen. If you believe in baseball and the power the game has to unite people, this is the story for you. Havana Curveball is worth seeing…and sharing.



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Frank ‘The Original’ Thomas (1951-66) Slugging For 4 Charities Via TTM Autograph Donations

Pittsburgh-born Frank Thomas, an underrated slugger from 1951-66, is quick to say that he’s been out of the game 46 years.

Don’t tell his mailbox.

He still gets 4-5 letters a day from autograph seekers. He asks for a $5 donation per autograph, giving all proceeds to four charities. Through his own humorously-named personal website, Thomas outlines his signing policy and his goodwill endeavors.

“My Dad told me to remember to be nice to people on the way up, because you’ll need them on the way back down.”

While attending a baseball-sponsored charity golf tournament in North Carolina, Thomas was forever changed. This led to his sponsorship of Courageous Kidz and Camp Happy Days.

“We were asked if any of us would go visit kids in the hospital battling cancer. Rick Dempsey and I said we’d be happy to.

We met a 17-year-old boy. He had just gotten back from Disney World. We asked him what he liked there. He said ‘GIRLS!’ He’s facing death, but he still can’t stop thinking about girls! He asked us to go see a little girl a few doors down. She was cutting out paper dolls. I asked if she’d like showing her Mommy all she had done.

The girl said, ‘My Mommy can’t come. She has to stay home with the other kids.’ That’s when my eyes filled with tears. I vowed I’d do all I could for kids like this.”

The father of four boys and four girls, Thomas is the father of a Father. One son has been a Priest for 14 years.

Thomas is a man of service. He remains active in the Catholic service organization Knights of Columbus, sharing some of the autograph donation proceeds with them. His fourth cause is Meals on Wheels.

Yes, Pittsburgh-area seniors get a meal each day delivered by a former All-Star. Thomas is a driver who’s been involved with Meals on Wheels for 30 years.

“Sometimes, the Meals on Wheels driver is the only person a senior sees all day,” Thomas noted.

Just as Thomas invests in these charities, he puts the same dedication into each collector donor.

“I know how much an autograph means to someone,” Thomas said.

The former Pirate has been including an extra autographed card whenever someone makes a donation. Additionally, he reads each letter himself, answering with additional notes when possible.

When someone mistakenly sends cards of the Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas (1990-2008), Thomas sends the cards back unsigned with a note suggesting they contact the contemporary F.T. in care of the White Sox or Athletics. “He has a foundation,” Thomas said. “I’ve suggested that people send a donation to him, too.”

Yes, the two same-named sluggers have met.

“I was at the 1994 All-Star game and got my picture taken with him,” Thomas said. “He signed for me, but you can’t read his signature.”
The mention of the second Frank Thomas stirred another memory, this tale spotlighting Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. “I gave him his first glove,” Thomas recalled. “When I saw his signature, I asked him if he was proud of his family name. He said, ‘Sure.’ Then I said, ‘Well, sign it so I can read it then!’ He reminds me of that every time I see him.”

Thomas feels a special kinship with collectors. When a house fire destroyed his extensive baseball card collection, a story in Sports Collectors Digest inspired hobbyists to help Thomas rebuild his sets.

“I have replaced everything, down to 10 high-numbers from the 1952 Topps set,” he said. Thomas said he expected to finish his 2011 Topps Heritage set this week.

After years of lobbying the company, Thomas got included in this year’s set. “But only in the hobby edition!”

Despite loving the sets, and the idea of connecting the past with the present, Thomas still has worries for Topps.

“With the price of cards today,” he said, “I worry that kids are getting priced out of the hobby.”

Cards. Autographs. Steroids. Thomas isn’t shy about sharing his opinions. Only once, Thomas said, has a letter-writer criticized his signing methods. “The letter said I was just like current players,” Thomas fumed. A fiery reply explaining the charities noted that “if $5 will break you” that Thomas would make the donation for him.

“I wish I had done this a long time ago,” Thomas said. “I wish I had done this while I was playing. I could have helped so many people.”

Thomas welcomes autograph requests with donations of $5 per signature. Be prepared: he reads every line of every letter. His address:

Frank Thomas
118 Doray Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Coming Monday: A follow-up on the TTM autograph that took “only” 15 years.

Dave Garcia, Baseball’s Living History


Dave Garcia is a library of baseball’s untold stories.

In 2009, the New York Times honored Garcia’s deep roots in baseball. I was hooked by the headline: A Baseball Elder’s Feel for the Game Endures.

I knew Garcia only as the toiling manager of the California Angels (1977-78) and Cleveland Indians (1979-82). That’s only one chapter in his baseball history. Garcia’s career in the game dates back to 1937, when he began his playing career as a St. Louis Browns minor leaguer. The reporter noted that, aside from Garcia’s three years in the Air Force, he made his living from baseball, all the way to being a part-time scout for the Cubs in 2009.

Garcia earned his shot at a big league managerial post. He owns 890 career wins as a minor league skipper.

I wrote, asking Garcia two questions. First, who were some of the players his was proudest of, ones who he helped reach the majors or achieve new levels of success? Secondly, how did he cope with the media during his managerial career?

Garcia’s reply began with a list:

“* Hoyt Wilhelm — Right hand pitcher, pitched in 1948, Knoxville, TN.
* Bill White — 1st base. 1954 Sioux City. Major league career with St. Louis. Became president of National League.
* Mike Hargrove — 1st base, Cleveland, 1979-82. Manager in majors with Cleveland, Seattle.
* Orlando Cepeda, 1955 — for short time in Kokomo, Indiana.
* Andre Thornton — 1st base, Cleveland, 1979-82.

Many more…

2. I had no problem with media. Many were very fair with me.
I didn’t pay attention to their criticism. I knew my players better than anyone else.”

Dodgers coach Manny Mota said that Garcia helped him learn English as
a minor leaguer. He called Garcia his “white father.”

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