Surprise Virgil Trucks On His 95th!

Let’s surprise ‘Fire’ on April 26
with OUR autographs!

Thanks to friend Kohei Nirengi, who shared this e-mail alert.



                        MS. CAROLYN TRUCKS BECKWITH,
                        55  SALSER LANE
                        COLUMBIANA,  ALABAMA   35051

GO TIGERS,   bobby hoeft, founder & publisher of  WBWF

Past blog posts have saluted Bobby and his one-of-a-kind newsletter, When Baseball Was Fun. Bobby has an all-star plan here.

Please, do NOT send  to Virgil at HIS address. Help his daughter stage a special SURPRISE tribute to this super-signer and best friend to the hobby.

Coming Wednesday: Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry autographing details!

‘When Baseball Was Fun’ Newsletter: Subscribing Shows Your True Detroit Tiger Stripes!

Bobby’s newsletter
book are worthwhile!

I just got the spring issue of the newsletter When Baseball Was Fun in the U.S. Mail today.

First-person stories by J.W. Porter and Virgil Trucks, regular contributors, highlight this fun issue. Trucks tells of being interviewed by two FBI agents. You won’t find these gems anywhere else.

I wrote about newsletter founder/editor/publisher Bobby Hoeft last fall.

If you didn’t believe me then, get Bobby’s latest issue as proof. I’ve yet to meet somebody who loves the Tigers more.

In fact, you’d faint to get the published list of former Tigers who are lifetime subscribers. I think all ex-Tigers know of this publication! Bobby’s offering the same deal to us mortal fans. A LIFETIME subscription (4 issues yearly) for $20.

This subscription is a badge of honor. When you’d write to someone like Porter and Trucks, telling them you subscribe, they’d know you speak their language. You speak Tiger.

To subscribe or get more information, write Bobby at

Coming Wednesday: The shady alternative to collecting…kids, don’t try this at home!

Worst Personalization Ever? It Could Happen To You, TTM Baseball Collectors!

No real collector
deserves this!

This cautionary tale comes courtesy of Canadian collector Tony O’Neill.

Before you glance at the picture and say, “But I don’t collect hockey,” read this one closely and be warned.

Tony replied after seeing the recent opinion piece by Anonymous about overzealous security guards hounding collectors at charity events. Tony added:

“On a similar note, sometimes this happens with mail requests. That is the reason for this email. I want to share with you what happened to a collector on a forum I regularly visit. Although I don’t know him personally, I have “talked” to him through the board and by email and have helped him out for photo requests for players. It is almost exclusively hockey requests, but as you realize, it’s the same as requesting any athlete’s autograph.

This collector genuinely loves his hobby, he makes his own custom photos with the team logo, and also collects multi-signed items like team photos, photos with more than one player featured etc. Recently he sent a request to a player on one of the minor league hockey teams. He sent two photos and received them back. The player, being Russian I assume, must have some preconceived ideas about TTM collectors. Or maybe the other players were giving him warnings about eBay dealers, I don’t know.

Is Baseball Next?

Regardless, as you can see from the scans from this collector, the photos were ruined. The collector was so mad and upset, he ended up throwing them in the garbage, but not before scanning them first luckily.

On the advice of other forum members we urged him to contact the team. He did and this was the response:

Hi _____

I am extremely sorry this happened.  Nail (Yakupov, the player) takes his fan mail home and then just brings it back sealed ready to send out.

I have addressed this with his representative.  I will make sure we get something sent back out to you.

Mark Glavin
Assistant General Manager

So hopefully this will work out for him, but it’s this stigma that we are all in it for the pittance we could get on eBay, really makes it disheartening sometimes. But the good thing is, for every bad apple there is a Bob Friend, Virgil Trucks, and in hockey Johnny Bower and Henri Richard who enjoy their mail and will throw in a few “extras.”

I’m grateful for Tony’s input. Realize this radical responder was just a minor leaguer, not an NHL star. Such stunts could occur at any level of pro baseball. Baseball players may copy these TTM temper tantrums soon. As Tony’s helpful tale illustrates, be ready to contact a team front office (or even a league commissioner) to complain. Silence will serve no one.

Coming Wednesday: The ultimate reply to bullying behavior from abusive autograph signers.

Frustrated Collectors Forget Valentine’s Day!

Autograph collectors, have a heart!
Get yours at the zazzle website!

Are you overwhelmed by all the Valentine’s Day cards in stores?

How many cards (if any) will you send? Not give, but send! One for your parents?

Don’t worry, I’m not working for Hallmark. I just wanted the chance to illustrate how overwhelming fan mail might seem every week for the average retired baseball player.

I see the complaints yearly:

1. He switched (or kept) my good card for a poor condition common.
2. He used ballpoint when I wanted Sharpie (or vice versa).
3. He didn’t get my personalization right.
4. He didn’t add the inscription I asked for.

No, it’s not fair, nor fun, to get such a letdown in your envelope. I don’t think it’s on purpose much of the time. In the past year, I’ve posted comments from Bobby Doerr, Carl Erskine and Virgil Trucks telling about getting quantities of mail DAILY.

If you’re paying a fee for the autograph, then you’re purchasing a product. See that you’re getting your money’s worth. However, the service of a free response doesn’t come with a guarantee. Almost all the willing signers have great batting averages, giving collectors what they want. They get my admiration and thanks.

Honoring Boston’s Bill Monbouquette

A half-century later, a huge heart exists behind that
intense glare. Learn how “Monbo” took a gift
from the hobby and paid it forward!

One of the joys of being a part of the community is witnessing the random acts of kindness from hobbyists.
Michael Einarsson leads that parade. First, he surprised Virgil Trucks. Bill Monbouquette came next. All with lots of help from like-minded collectors. Here’s Michael’s story:

Q: How long have you been collecting autographs? Do you have a specialty (teams, era, etc.)? How much of your collecting is TTM, versus in person?

A: I have been collecting autographs for about 20 years (since I was 10 yrs old). I believe that Mickey Morandini was my first TTM success right after he turned his unassisted triple play in 1992 vs the Pirates.

My only real specialty at this point is I am trying to complete an autographed set of 2008 UD Masterpieces. Not too bad so far, as I have 84 out of a possible 115 autographs in the set (5 deceased players were included in the set).

I do almost all of my collecting via TTM as I do not live near a MLB city. I do however live close to Cooperstown and only last year did I get involved in HOF weekend. Maybe this year I will get more involved in it-we’ll see. I get a lot of my Masterpieces set needs done through consignments with guys on the SCN boards or through private signings.

Q: Was the collection for Virgil Trucks the first you did? What kind of responses did
you get from collectors, and Virgil?

A: Yes, the collection for Virgil Trucks was the first one I did. I got the idea from reading about how some guys on SportsGraphing had done a collection for Bobby Doerr and I said to myself “Why can’t we on SCN do this?” Thus, it was born.

I got a lot of positive feedback from collectors who donated anything from just a few dollars to one donation of over $150! I told potential donors that I will even take the change they have leftover in their Paypal account that they might never use and take that as a donation-it all adds up. All together I had 24 people donate to Virgil as a ‘Thank You’ for all he has done as a TTM HOF’er and a Veteran who fought for our country.

Virgil was VERY gracious as he gave me a phone call (I include my phone number and email in my donation letters) when he got the check to tell me how thankful he was for it. We spoke for about 10 minutes about playing in his era and how he knew some of the towns around where I live. He used to do some barnstorming because they made so little money back then, that he had to do barnstorming to make ends meet at home.

He sent me a very nice ‘Thank You’ card and 20+ signed cards for me to give out to those who donated to him. I contacted everyone who donated and asked them if they wanted the signed card from him. I’d say about half of them accepted it. The rest were just happy to donate to Virgil and didn’t need anything in return.

Q: What kind of replies TTM had you received from Bill before you honored him?

A:  I honestly have never written to Bill before we honored him. I certainly should have as I could use him on a Fenway Park photo I have, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

Q: What do you say to a collector who says, “I’d rather send a thank you note, instead of bringing money into the equation?”

A: I would be more than happy to honor someone’s wishes anyway they want. If they want to send a thank you note, that is fine by me. All I am trying to convey to guys like Trucks or Monbouquette is a ‘Thank You’ and I have decided to do it via a monetary donation. These players never ask for anything in return so in my opinion, if we can collect a sum of money to give back to them for their decades of answering their fanmail, I think it’s a good way to show our appreciation.

Q: When’s the next campaign start? What critierion are you using to choose another retiree? Who are some of the names in consideration?

A: I think I am going to get the next campaign started in Spring 2012. I am careful that I don’t want to go back to the proverbial “well” too often with the collectors I am in contact with on SCN. We did the Virgil Trucks one around July 4th 2011, and then Bill Monbouquette just before Christmas so I think I will put the call out around April 2012 for the next recipient to anticipate sending him a check around June 2012. I know collector’s money is tight so I don’t want to constantly be out there asking for donations from my fellow collectors.

The criterion I look for is someone who is a TTM Hall of Famer and who doesn’t seem to do paid appearances too often. Basically I’m looking for a player who responds to nearly all of his fan mail in a timely manner and asks for nothing in return. Trucks and Monbouquette are all prime examples of who I like to organize donations for.

Some names that have been kicked around for the next donation campaign have been Bobby Doerr, Carl Erskine, Dick Groat or George Altman. Nothing has been decided though yet.”

Anyone wanting to assist Michael in his next hobby thank-you campaign for a signer (or to thank HIM for being such a great hobby ambassador), write him at


Bill Monbouquette keeps dazzling collectors. When presented with an $80 check from Michael and his cohorts, Bill added $20 and donated it all to Toys for Tots. He told of honoring his U.S. Marine son with the gift. Once a team player, always a team player!


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