Sid Bream plays ball: when in doubt, ASK!

I never got one of these autographed. Why? I thought the set looked like photos from a high school yearbook!
I never got one of these autographed. Why? I thought the set looked like photos from a high school yearbook!

I wanted to offer another look at the past post of my correspondence with Sid Bream. 

Too often, collectors puzzle over new policies retired players enact about fan mail. Instead of assuming the worst, just ask. You never know, unless you ask.

TTM Signers Charging $100 Fees

Fee-charging autograph signers haven’t hijacked this hobby…yet.

I counted five pages of prices in Harvey Meiselman’s 2013 Baseball Address List.

Bargains remain. Sid Bream, Dana Kiecker and Reggie Cleveland ask just one dollar per card autograph.

The top fees are $100 per autograph from two Hall of Famers, Yogi Berra and Bob Allen.

Oops. Wait a second. Hmmm…

Bob Allen. I looked him up.

Debut 1961 Cleveland Indians. Reliever for five seasons. Career 7-12, 4.11 ERA.

Wait! The page has a Bob Allen autographed card. Was that a $100 acquisition, too?

I contacted Sean Holtz, the talented founder, researcher and webmaster for the site. He replied:

As for Allen his signature is about 25 years old. Can’t remember exactly the year. I live in Florida, have my whole life, even went to middle school right next door to where the Expos did their Spring Training. Braves too. I would get countless signatures with all my friends. We would then trade. So I’d use a clipboard, put 3 cards across the clip, get them signed. My two other best friends did the same. We’d then trade! What I didn’t know was what a great idea that was decades later. Anyway, Bob had retired for a while. I didn’t have any cards for him, but there was a card shop there and we picked up a couple cards for him.

Crazy fee, $100! Wow! Maybe it’s a typo?”

That is no typo, baseball fans. The figure is confirmed
I asked Harvey for his take on lavish Bob Allen. He responded:

Tom – regarding Bob Allen, basically what he’s saying by charging a $100 signing fee is “Leave me alone. I don’t want to sign autographs.”
No secret with verifying the signing fees every year. I send out an autograph request to each player I have in my database as charging a fee and then confirm or update the signing fee information he sends back. You’d be surprised at the small percentage of players who donate their money to charity. There probably is a lot of the players who don’t specify a charity that do donate to charity but I don’t think it’s a high percentage.
Lefty Bob has my sympathy. Being a 1960s Indian was far from glamorous. Also, he pitched in 204 more major league games than I ever did.
Nevertheless, there’s no reason to take your frustration out on collectors who’re trying to complete a signed Topps set. Former players who want to leave their baseball life behind should ask Harvey to be removed from his 2014 edition, instead of punishing well-meaning hobbyists.
Coming Monday: a P.S. on Pete Rose.

Sid Bream Shares Autograph Details

Only 20,000 were given away in Atlanta to honor
Sid’s historic score.

When in doubt, ask.

Sid Bream has invoked a $1 per autograph policy this year. I wanted to find out how he felt about the hobby, in light of such changes. Additional I wanted to ask a couple of other questions to someone on his 20-year “anniversary.”

Q: Are the fees going to certain charities? If so, I think lots more collectors will be eager to help even more.

A: The Outdoor Dream Foundation and Liberty University Baseball.

Q: Some collectors may have worried that the $1 charge was due to you getting tired of fan mail, signing and collectors?

A: No, that is not true. I wish I would have thought of this years ago and would have been able to raise a lot of funds for different charities.

Q: Congratulations on being a bobblehead and your 20-year anniversary of sending the Braves to the World Series. When was the first time you heard those immortal words: WHEN SID SLID?

A: ‘Sid Slid’ was given right after the event took place.

Q: You’ve pursued excellence all your life. Did being a Christian help you be a better player, or did being a player help you be a better Christian?

A: I think both. Being a christian certainly gave me the peace to understand the significance of me being on this earth, but the struggles and victories of baseball gave me the chance to use the faith to trust Him more.

Coming Wednesday: What every fan letter and autograph request should include!

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