Instead of sending money with your TTM request, try this:

addressLabels

I have saved hand-written return address “autographs” for years.

I was touched to think that a retiree is so concerned about my cards that he wants them back, in case my address on the SASE does not work. (Think Virgil Trucks!)

I note how faithful the oldest ex-players are. They sign their names, then add their full addresses.

Sure, five bucks is kind. However, someone age 80 may appreciate some adhesive labels.

Print out a sheet on your computer to include. Whether ordered or homemade, the labels don’t have to be baseball themed.

But it can’t hurt!

Or, if you know a collector needing a Father’s Day present (or the collector looking at you in the mirror), do the same. Show the world who you are.

 

Virgil Trucks, Award-Winning Autograph Signer? Autograph U, Matt Raymond Make It Happen!

With great in-person advice, too,
www.autographu.com never fails
to please this reader!

A standing O goes to Matt Raymond, super blogger and collector supreme at his site Autograph University.

Check out his six recent honorary degrees awarded to noted signers, as chosen by his readers.

Virgil Trucks received a posthumous degree. His daughter Carolyn Beckwith wrote me, telling how proud her dad would be.

Matt’s awards are a great message for all of us. A thank-you note can be just as moving for some retiree who’s been spending hours each month trying to please strangers. In fact, it’s a way to convince a signer’s FAMILY that the effort is important.

If you love an autograph you’ve gotten, don’t just tell other collectors. Write the signer. Tell them why they matter.

If we keep doing that, we, as collectors, will keep mattering, too.

A Final Tribute To Virgil “Fire” Trucks

 

Autograph collecting needs more heroes like Virgil Trucks.

The late pitcher remained grateful to the end. He appreciated fans and hobbyists as much as we adored him.

I wanted to share the thank-you note sent in response…

to MY thank-you note!

I had sent “Fire” a postcard picturing Ty Cobb’s glove. On the back, I thanked him for his years of signing autographs, knowing that he had to stop signing once a broken hip required hospitalization.

Here was his surprising unsolicited reply:

“Hi, Tom,

Thanks for your wonderful card. Also for all the nice things you do for Caroline and I. We both appreciate your help and thoughts.

I’m sorry about my short note and writing. I’m writing this in rehab and have several weeks to go. Yes, Caroline is one sweet person and I’m glad she is my precious daughter.

Enclosed is a card for you if you care for it.

Again, Tom, thanks for all you do, and my best to you forever.

Sincerely,
Virgil Trucks

P.S. I met the famous Ty Cobb. Very nice person.”

My best to you, forever, too, Virgil Trucks!

Coming Thursday: Greatest minor league response ever?

Bob Boone & More! Catching Up With Catchers

Check out Nick Diunte’s
success, to see how
the back-up backstop’s
autograph still shines!

I’ve heard from all kinds of autograph collectors, including the position hobbyists. So, here’s some updates about four names linked by job, a quartet of guys making news the hobby right now…

Applause and thanks start with collector Dan Brunetti. After two Return to Sender (RTS) rejections from Bob Boone, in care of the Nationals and later his home address, Boonie signed. I’m thinking Dan scored c/o the team.

Time is dwindling on attempts to get members of the 1950s Yankees dynasty teams. Nick Diunte, one of my favorite baseball writers, had to wait more than a year to get backup catcher Charlie Silvera, now 88. Read how Nick kindness moved the Yankee. Meanwhile, let me cast my vote for an always-worthwhile read at Nick’s “Baseball Hapenings” website.

Also, I wanted to share Ron Martin’s great summary of the career of just-deceased catcher Matt Batts, who did sign for me once. Thanks to Ron, an inspiring Reds fan and collector, noted:

“I guess that you may have heard that the former Red Matt Batts passed away this week.  He was 91 years old.  He was better known for his baseball exploits as a member of the Red Sox and Tigers’ organization but he finished his career in 1955 and 1956 with the Reds.  He was  one of Satchel Paige’s first catchers and also caught the second of Virgil Trucks’ two no-hitters.  He was also the catcher when Jack Harshman set the all time White Sox record of striking out 16 batters on July 25, 1954 against Ted Williams and the Boston Red Sox.”

Lastly, I wanted to weigh in on what seemed like an upbeat story about a retiree deciding to charge for TTM autographs. Catcher Mike Fitzgerald (1983-92) is wanting $5 for signing each baseball card, $10 for balls and other larger items. The note from baseball address king Harvey Meiselman said that the money would be used to pay off a son’s student loans.

Well, upon closer inspection at www.sportscollectors.net shows that the one-time Met and Expo hadn’t returned any requests since 2011. Collectors who’ve waited more than two years for a reply have gotten a letter from the son, indicating that, upon payment, he’ll see that his father signs the cards promptly.

In a way, it’s like a ransom note. Will peeved collectors who’ve written off Fitzgerald as a lost cause bite? Years ago, the ex-catcher sent out autographed Christian testimony cards as bonuses. Now, it’s easy to wonder if even his son and money will keep him motivated to sign.

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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