Happy anniversary, SportsCollectors.net!

SCNIt’s the anniversary of ME!

I’m back for another year of membership in SCN. Since 2005, I’ve depended on the SportsCollectors.net community of members for news and advice.

For the $14.99 I spend yearly on membership, I think I save double that much on postage. Having other by-mail collectors confirm who’s signing (or answering a question or two with a return note or letter) is a huge bonus that saves time and money.

Besides, it’s fun. This is a hobby best shared with others.

If you’ve never joined, check out the website’s many services at www.sportscollectors.net

Pitcher George Riley’s grateful response

GeorgeRileyCustomGreg Corrales would be a great hobby coach.
 
On www.sportscollectors.net, many questions were posted on the status of George Riley. Had ANYONE written to him in recent months? Was he still signing?
 
Greg solved both mysteries with his above-and-beyond effort. He made custom cards for Riley, complete with detailed, well-research and finely-written career highlights.
 
Next, Greg asked a question and included cash. I’ll let Greg tell the rest:
 
“I received the following from George Riley today, which I thought might be of interest to you.  In response to my question about what advice he would give to high school pitchers, he had this to say:
 
“I would tell all athletes to get school in first.  You never know [if you’ll] get hurt.  And also, you must maintain your concentration to the max, and success will come.  Work very hard at what you decide on a position.  Pitchers, do a lot of curls.  I always had a twenty-pound dumbbell with me at all times.  Good luck.”
 
Then he went on to add the following:
 
“In the year 2011, I got colon cancer. Then my friend of sixteen years had a spinal cord stroke. Living with her [illegible] paralyzed waist down. I had to give up my [illegible]. If possible if you could help a little, no job, no car. Thanks for the great gift.”
 
Greg’s highlight reel includes many great moves, such as:
 
GeorgeRiley21. Never assuming. How many people look on a hobby forum, expecting someone else to be the first collector to report a successful breakthrough? Past stats aren’t always a guarantee of whether you’ll get a response or not.
 
2. Doing the homework: Check out that card back! I wonder if Riley himself could have quoted all those baseball achievements. That research effort has to win the hearts and minds of iffy signers.
 
3. Giving first: Money isn’t the only choice, although someone in distress like Riley would key on such a gift. Find something off the internet about the player to print out. Send a duplicate card and tell the person to share it with another fan-collector.
 
A standing O of gratitude goes to Mister Corrales!
 
 

Predicting Chris Sale’s next surprise

From 2011. (Photo credit: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)
From 2011. (Photo credit: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine piles of confetti everywhere in the White Sox clubhouse.

Wait. Those are tiny, slivered baseball cards. And bits of sliced-up envelopes.

First, the throwback jerseys came under attack.

What if a volatile hurler protests all the fan mail, too? It could happen, so hide the scissors!

At last count, the always-amazing www.sportscollectors.net success scoreboard showed 49 recorded by-mail successes from Chris Sale out of 163 tries. However, the last recorded response came in 2015.

If you hear from the pitcher this year, hope that your autograph comes back in one piece.

 

Washington Nationals: the latest ‘poor us’ fan mail autograph tale

Stephen Strasburg (shown from 2014) makes some claims about fan mail that many collectors might dispute. (Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)
Stephen Strasburg (shown from 2014) makes some claims about fan mail that many collectors might dispute. (Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

Want to collect something new?

Try assembling a team-by-team set of “fan mail exhausts us!”

The Washington Nationals are the latest addition to this cookie-cutter collection of questionable journalism. Reporters seem to write from the same blueprint. Players claim to adore letters from kids. Or, the weary major leaguers discuss a rare memorable letter from the last sincere fan in the universe.

However, readers are reminded that the players are taken advantage of every day by countless corrupt letter writers.

Players finish by claiming that they just can’t cope with all the demands.

In reality, current-player response rates have taken a nosedive in the last five years.

It’s hard to take these articles seriously. Just because a player claims it doesn’t make it so. These season-after-season puff pieces almost seem like paid advertorials devised by teams. As in “Buy our tickets and licensed products, but don’t expect anything in return.”

When will a reporter make the effort to seek out real information, like on www.sportscollectors.net, to see which standoffish players are trying to shine up their tarnished reputations with fans?

Goodbye to Giant autograph signer, Jim Davenport

Davenport Jim 2When Jim Davenport passed away at age 82 this month, I remembered his polite bafflement.

In 2010, I received a reply (of sorts) to three questions.

I wasn’t alone. According to the ever-trusty SportsCollectors.net, Davenport replied to 298 of 314 documented letters. Best of all, even into this January, he was doing it with sterling penmanship.

While Davenport never seemed to be a quote machine or natural baseball storyteller, he inspired this impressive Alabama retrospective.

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