Remembering Marlins Ace Jose Fernandez

(Photo credit: Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo credit: Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons)

Gone at age 24.

What can collectors and researchers learn from such a shock as the accidental death of pitcher Jose Fernandez?

According to the ever-inspiring www.sportscollectors.net, Fernandez had responded to 17 of 67 TTM requests. The last success came in his 2013 rookie season, however.

This isn’t a post about stats, mind you. This is a message about the future.

Hurry up. Fate won’t wait.

Write to those baseball names NOW.

Pitcher Ken Johnson gone at age 82

Besides a rare example of a non-personalized autograph, Johnson's Baseball Almanac page is filled with gems you won't find anywhere else. Bookmark the Almanac, and visit before you send your next player letter!
Besides a rare example of a non-personalized autograph, Johnson’s Baseball Almanac page is filled with gems you won’t find anywhere else. Bookmark the Almanac, and visit before you send your next player letter!

Pitcher Ken Johnson died on Nov. 21 at age 82.

I was intrigued by Johnson’s obituary. Baseball was a huge part of his life. So was his religion. I’d guess that someone who combined both passions in one letter might have hit the jackpot.

Johnson’s TTM responses listed on the amazing www.sportscollectors.net showed a spiffy 93 percent success rate. His signing stopped in 2014, when Mrs. Johnson started writing collectors that Ken’s Parkinson’s disease made writing impossible.

A few collectors grumbled through the years that Johnson’s insistence on personalizing autographs was done to make the signatures harder to sell online. 

Maybe. Or, he read every letter and wanted to thank everyone who wrote? He was answering questions for collectors. I think he cared about who wrote.

 

Pitcher Jack Spring’s lasting gift to the hobby

jack_spring_autograph
I love the Baseball Almanac website. It’s like an autograph museum!

Pitcher Jack Spring died in August at age 82. 

I received a brief reply from him in 2010.

In his final years, he was sending out this inspiring note:

“Due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I find it difficult to write. My signature may appear different, but I want you to know it is my signature. I read every letter and sign everything myself. I appreciate hearing from you.”

Note that he wasn’t sending items back blank. Nor did he ask for a cash payment for autographs, even though he had medical costs to consider.

Until the end, Jack Spring reminded fans and collectors that we matter.

 

 

Signatures for Soldiers: Autographs for a cause

Underrated pitcher and great guy. Check out his stat page at Baseball Almanac!
Underrated pitcher and great guy. Check out his stat page at Baseball Almanac!

Me. Me. Me.

No matter how well you do in making your case to a current or former player, chances are your request might seem like just another demand to an autograph signer.

What if someone convinced a potential signer that the request was for them, them, them?

Tim Virgilio has done that with his “Signatures for Soldiers” charity, raising more than $3,000 to benefit Military Missions in Action.

Nick Diunte and his Baseball Happenings site shined (as usual) getting Tim to share his vision of what autographs can do for the greater good. Nick’s feature pointed out that Woody Williams and Jim Leyritz were the first two notables to aid the Signatures for Soldiers team.

Tim is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with former combat veterans for the last nine years. He chose carefully in finding an organization that’s adept at serving disabled vets.

To find out how you can purchase autographs for a great cause or help Tim’s efforts, write to him at signaturesforsoliders@yahoo.com or find the Facebook page by the same name.

Reflecting on 2014 baseball deaths

Going. Going. Gone.

Credit to research wizard Sean Holtz and his ever-impressive website, www.baseball-almanac.com.
Here’s a list of all the baseball alums we lost in 2014.
The last one of the year to say goodbye was Bob Usher. A great signer, he sent some impressive memories back in 2010. 
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