Baseball Almanac site serves as online baseball autograph museum!

Is there a hobby hall of fame for autograph collectors?

I think Sean Holtz deserves membership.

Living close to two spring training camps in Florida in the early 1970s, Sean began a collection of front-signed baseball cards that’s topped 6,000 specimens.

Imagine looking at a collection so huge, knowing that the authenticity
of every signature is guaranteed.

Yes, Holtz offers three-plus decades of autograph knowledge on his
Baseball Almanac website. Afraid that an autograph of a deceased player might not be the real thing? Start with a peek at what Sean collected.

My rubber-stamped through-the-mail “return” via the Cubs in 1972 from Ron Santo is NOTHING like the real signature Sean displays. I was delighted to see the lengthy bio page that followed the autograph pictured.

As you’re writing for autographs, please write Sean. Send him an e-mail. Thank him for the research he’s sharing. Our hobby needs stars like Sean.


It’s been a decade since I discovered the hobby goldmine located at This 2010 post was the first of many spotlights shone on webmaster Sean. Coming soon: “Baseball Almanac, 10 years later.”

Return envelopes? Hurler Mike Caldwell pitches possible SASE solution

“I like to taste food, not glue.”

— Pitcher Mike Caldwell

Caldwell’s Facebook memo to collectors has appeared on and throughout hobby forums. He brought up great suggestions. Caldwell has reasonable rules for TTM autographs. 

Besides, anyone who’ll keep signing for free, stating out loud that collectors don’t need to enclose money, should be given extra attention.

One request that caught my eye first was Caldwell’s wish that collectors stop using envelopes you have to lick. 

Don’t forget that has a huge collection of autographs. Each signature is displayed on each player’s personal page.

My first concern was the empty envelope. Anyone who’s gotten an empty SASE knows that special disappointment. What might have been inside? 

Did someone not get the memo on how a self-sealing envelope works?

Sure, the self-seal SASE will be more expensive. But, once it is sealed, it stays sealed.

If you want to try self-seal envelopes, consider adding a sentence at the end of a letter. Something like: “I’m grateful and eager to have your autograph. In fact, I’ve enclosed a special envelope for your reply. Just remove the paper strip, and your signature will be safely on its way!”

Readers, please let me know what type of envelope you prefer using. Have you had problems with the other kind of envelope?



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, 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 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

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.