The Mystery of Milwaukee Brave Johnny Logan

1954 Bowman

From baseball address king Harvey Meiselman comes news of an autograph fee.

Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan wants $5 (cash) per signature by mail.

Logan is 85 years old. He’s been a fast, dependable signer by mail beforehand. The stats on http://www.sportscollectors.net/ are stunning — 273 successes in 280 requests. Why demand money now?

Illness could be an explanation. However, I see another possibility.

Virtually all the responses came in just 1-2 weeks. Logan seems like a same-day signer. Is that because he’s seen signing autographs as more of a duty than an enjoyment?

I think signing has become a chore for Logan. Being paid for “work” makes the situation tolerable.
Some retirees wonder if they truly matter to today’s collectors, many of whom weren’t born when the player last competed. I hope this isn’t Logan’s case, too.

For a great profile of Johnny Logan, check out this feature by acclaimed Braves historian Bob Buege on the SABR Bio Project website. Bob was the source who confirmed that Johnny fudged his birthdate by one year.

Clues to Help Find Former Major Leaguers

Once, this and the City Directory
where the only info sources
out there. Anyone ever try
asking a reference librarian
for their favorite tools?

Where’d they go?

Many sources state that 20 percent of Americans move yearly. Sometimes, a former player may disappear without trying to.

While Harvey Meiselman tracks down baseball names in record time, it’s possible average collectors can solve mysteries, too. Here are some clues:

Retrace their glory. After checking their hometown place of birth, try looking in towns where they went to college or played in the minors. Others will settle in a suburb of their last MLB town of employment.

I loved the former Topps cards that had “born” and “resides” listings. An old media guide can provide the same hints. The “Etc” or “Personal” notes in guides for each bio can list such tidbits.

Even finding who a player married might help. Back in the 1980s, working on an assignment for USA TODAY BASEBALL WEEKLY, I puzzled over why I couldn’t reach a major leaguer by phone. Two sources confirmed the hotel the team stayed at. Well, it seems that this known player checked in using the maiden name of his wife. You’ll find cases of retired players working for family businesses of in-laws, too.
There are too many search engine sites to mention that help track down addresses. Knowing what state to look in is a great beginning. Think like an old ballplayer, and you’ll have greater chances of finding the guy.

Coming Friday: When Red Sox pitcher Bob Heffner celebrated twice against the Yankees.

Tiger Russ Sullivan Retires From Autographs

Courtesy of http://www.tradingcarddb.com/.
This is one awesome site for
vintage card images from
rare sets.

Collectors have one less Detroit Tiger autograph to pursue.

Russ Sullivan, a reserve outfielder from 1951-53, is no longer able to sign. Sullivan’s wife contacted Harvey Meiselman, author of the 2011 Baseball Address List, to confirm that her husband’s severe memory loss prevents him from responding to fan mail.

Kudos to Harvey for doing more than saving collectors stamps. He’s allowing Mrs. Sullivan more time to spend with her ailing 88-year-old spouse.

I’m guessing that Russ Sullivan’s wife has been helping her husband correspond with collectors for years. That’s why I mailed this note:

Dear Mrs. Sullivan:

Collector friends have received word that your husband is unable to sign autographs any longer. Members in the hobby are grateful to Mr. Sullivan and YOU for your years of generosity. We know that wives and family members who help keep mail sorted and answered make our collections special.

Fans will remember Russ Sullivan for his years with Detroit, and for his kindness to fans. Likewise, we’re thankful that he’s had someone to help him honor the collectors, those people determined to preserve his legacy in Tigers history.

Sincerely,
Tom Owens

Coming Wednesday: Pitcher Bud Byerly treasures his Cardinals memories.

New Harvey Meiselman Address List Includes Warnings For Toughest By-Mail Signers

At last, the USPS is making the majority of
new commemoratives FOREVER stamps. I’d
use these beauties on fan mail FOREVER!

I’m a slow but sure member of this hobby.

At last, I own a copy of Harvey Meiselman’s amazing 2011 Baseball Address List.

I ordered my copy Friday, July 1. Harvey e-mailed, saying he’d send the list by Priority Mail the next day. On Tuesday, July 5, the package arrived.

I’m glad Harvey added a “tough?” column. A “Y” is a warning, meaning, “Yes, the dude is tough.” Harvey studied online autograph websites, and branded the signers who’ve replied 25 percent or less with the warning.

So often, even experienced collectors lose valuable cards. It’s still okay to try a “seldom” signer. Just don’t risk your most expensive collectible with your autograph request.

I’ve used Harvey’s addresses for years. He remains the best of the hobby. Find him at http://www.sportsaddresslists.com/.

Coming Monday: Cardinals utilityman Mike Ramsey recalls a blast off future Hall of Famer Don Sutton.

Gift Ideas for the TTM Autograph Collector

Memo to holiday-celebrating, gift-giving folks baffled by autograph collecting:

(Quick! Forward to friends, relatives and anyone who’ll take pity on a hobbyist in December)

GIFT IDEAS:

1. www.SportsCollectors.net. Invest in a collector. For $14.99 a year, here are daily updates on the world of autographs. It’s the chance to share what you’ve learned and benefit from the wisdom of the best hobbyists out there. A great community.

2. www.SportsAddressLists.com. Harvey Meiselman charges $35 for the ultimate baseball address list. He finds the unfindable, sharing ways to reach everyone in baseball’s past and present. This is a valuable tool no collector should be without.

3. Postage stamps: Ask your mail carrier for a “stamps by mail” order form. Get the stamps sent to the collector you want to treat. We don’t need a lottery ticket for a $1. For two “Forever” stamps, we get more excitement and better odds. By the way, “Forever” stamps are best. The self-addressed, stamped envelope might not get returned before the next postal increase. That autograph return could be kept in postal detention for the sake of an extra few cents owed.

4. Office supply gift card: Collectors have endless appetites for envelopes, computer printer ink and paper. Keep us well fed, and we’ll be happy through the winter.

5. Time: This one is the easiest and hardest. Ask, “What’s new with your collection” Then, truly listen. Your collector loves baseball and the hobby. Getting to tell someone why both are special is a joy. That might be the best gift of all.

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