Washington Nationals: the latest ‘poor us’ fan mail autograph tale

Stephen Strasburg (shown from 2014) makes some claims about fan mail that many collectors might dispute. (Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)
Stephen Strasburg (shown from 2014) makes some claims about fan mail that many collectors might dispute. (Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

Want to collect something new?

Try assembling a team-by-team set of “fan mail exhausts us!”

The Washington Nationals are the latest addition to this cookie-cutter collection of questionable journalism. Reporters seem to write from the same blueprint. Players claim to adore letters from kids. Or, the weary major leaguers discuss a rare memorable letter from the last sincere fan in the universe.

However, readers are reminded that the players are taken advantage of every day by countless corrupt letter writers.

Players finish by claiming that they just can’t cope with all the demands.

In reality, current-player response rates have taken a nosedive in the last five years.

It’s hard to take these articles seriously. Just because a player claims it doesn’t make it so. These season-after-season puff pieces almost seem like paid advertorials devised by teams. As in “Buy our tickets and licensed products, but don’t expect anything in return.”

When will a reporter make the effort to seek out real information, like on www.sportscollectors.net, to see which standoffish players are trying to shine up their tarnished reputations with fans?

Be a Hobby Hit on Valentine’s Day

Day Card???

Thank you, everyone!

“Baseball By The Letters” will be celebrating a one-year anniversary this month. For the 42 followers (and my so-supportive Mom), I am grateful for your attention and your encouragement. And each comment? Every one left seems like a valentine, no matter what the date.

Most of all, to the incredible Diana — this blog, and this correspondent, offer love and appreciation  for your constant inspiration.

Now, it’s your turn:

Who are the people who keep you collecting — those loving souls who give you stamps, space, time and patience?

And is there even one current or former player who’s truly made your day with an above-and-beyond reply?

Now’s the time to thank them. Please, share here. Most importantly, share with them!

I read about Stephen Strasburg getting a get-well card from a Little Leaguer who faced a similar injury. Strasburg lavished the kid with a personal reply. In his letter, the pitching phenom told the boy that autograph collectors always want something.

It’s time for shock and delight. Pick a favorite signer and ask for nothing.

P.S. – be prepared if you go to google images to seek a “Valentine” image. I had to search for red hearts. There were tons of pictures of BOBBY! Ellis and Fred take back seats to the apparent king of Valentines!

Coming Soon: A HOFer (?) + Stan Williams!

Do you mean a REAL Hall of Famer?!?

I heard from a Ford Frick winner, tireless broadcaster Bob Wolff. The writers and announcers have brought such baseball joy to me, I struggle to put an asterisk by their name. Technically, their name gets added to one huge award in Cooperstown. They aren’t enshrined with their own plaque.

Once I read Wolff’s DETAILED memories, I was sure he deserved some kind of HOF recognition. His revelations were jewels I had never found in any published history.

The same goes for pitcher Stan Williams. He returned a two-page letter full of amazing stories. The gritty pitcher is scouting for the Washington Nationals this year, he wrote. Quick, someone write him for an account of Stephen Strasburg. Does he seem glimpses of himself?

What Williams lacks in career stats, he makes up for with jaw-dropping insights. I think book publishers would race to get a memoir out of the former relief ace.

Additionally, I’ll have a great account of two “cups of coffee” from 1950s abbreviated careers, one from the Cincinnati Reds and the other with the Detroit Tigers. There’s no July vacation here. Superb baseball memories are sizzling on the grill.