Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chicago Cub Kris Bryant pursues personalizations

Did Bryant insist on personalizing
all autographs at the 2015 Cubs Convention,
too? Kudos to,
for great looks at the latest signers!

Cub Kris Bryant wants to be close to his fans.

From recent reports on, expect all TTM autographs to be personalized.

I pray that no one takes this free-signing rising star for granted. I've feared that someone tuned into future resale value will request no personalization.

I hope such fan mail never arrives. Once that happens, that smoking-gun letter will be evidence enough for another player to slam the door on all autograph collectors. 

Be careful what you wish for, says the fortune cookie.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Envelope Art? Art-elope? Here's one hobbyist's fan mail tip for getting opened!

I love sequels.

Have you checked out the great comment received from the Thursday post about envelopes?


It's okay. Go now. We'll wait.

Welcome back!

The artist in question is Zenus Barnes. Here's an example:

Or, this one:

Zenus adds:

"My art on these has been an ongoing thing as I didn't start out as the best artist. They have been a fun project though that at times the daughter helps with."


I think a fun deficit is one of the prime reasons collectors drop out of the hobby. Sending out letters becomes a chore. And, if you're having fun, the person opening the envelope might feel the same.

Also, Zenus uses the phrase "best artist." Envelope decorating isn't done to win awards or earn a gallery exhibition. Forget fear and embarrassment. If you want your envelope to look like all the other envelopes, your letter might get treated like all the other letters. As in, getting ignored.

Thank you for the inspiration, Zenus!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Try the Publishers Clearing House game plan for increased fan mail success

No envelopes scream, "PLEASE, OPEN ME!" like
the mailings from PCH. Learn from them.
I enjoyed a recent online conversation with a collector I encountered on the always-amazing

Someone wanted to expand his success by focusing on Christian baseball players and Bible verse autographs.

I think it's great any time a collector adopts a special project or a specialty. I've seen too many hobbyists give up entirely after wanting one of EVERYTHING.

The one tip I neglected?

End, don't start, with the letter.

Make your presence known with the envelope. 

Why can't a Christian collector jot a Bible verse on the back of his envelope?

Or, if you're trying to build a collection of Cardinals autographs, consider adding "Redbirds Fan" beneath your return address. For the artistically-challenged, splurge for some return address labels with pictures.

Colorful stickers. Rubber stamps. There's so many extra chances to stand out.

The window clerk at our local post office listened to my wife's question about decorating Christmas envelopes, providing that the address can be clearly seen and the appropriate postage checked and cancelled. Is it okay?

"Hey...decorate away!" he said.

Someone might help a current or former player sort the mail. Do all the envelopes look alike?

Make the effort. Let it show on the envelope. Let the athlete know how much you want a reply.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Remembering the two faces of departed Detroit Tiger Dave Bergman

I love this 1982 Topps, not just for
the facsimile autograph, but
the hint that Bergman might
have been signing for fans in the stands
Dave Bergman's death at age 61 may maintain a hobby mystery.

The famed 1984 Detroit Tigers role player continued his devotion to youth baseball until the end. Anyone who met him in the Detroit area seemed charmed by his enthusiasm and sincerity.

His feelings about autographs weren't so clear. 

Check the fascinating for insights about Bergman's differing signing habits. He was charging for autographs by mail as early as 2010, ending with a $7 per fee. 

Previously, he tried to maintain a limit of one autograph per fan letter. Other cards would be returned unsigned, if at all. And, years ago, I saw him express to a reporter that he didn't want to answer any questions by mail.

The moral of this story? So many collectors pursue stars first. Don't assume that only the top names in the game will become tougher signers in later years. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The answer to back-signed autographed cards?

I heard from a reader this week asking about two retirees who autographed his cards unexpectedly.

One signed on the reverse. Another signed the penny sleeve-holder, instead of removing the card.

When writing to the elderly, don't hesitate to use post-it notes or diagrams to help indicate how you'd like the item autographed.

In fact, I've wondered if anyone has ever explained about using baby powder to remove the gloss from a card. If a former player has suffered one skipping Sharpie or ink-bubbled autograph, they may never want to sign the front of an item again.

In the previous post, I wrote about Mrs. Bob Schmidt. Chances are, a wife may be helping to open mail. Make it easy on both of them.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Catcher Bob Schmidt's greatest teammate ever?

It's been 50 years since he
was on a baseball card. One ailing
catcher isn't ready to forget
fans yet.
I'd nominate Mrs. Schmidt.

Justin Evans at the popular Baseball Autographs Facebook group posted a questionnaire response from Schmidt's wife.

Justin hadn't gotten the word that Schmidt's health lessened in 2013. 

A stroke and Parkinson's disease make autographs impossible for Schmidt. However, despite not being able to sign, there's no stopping his devotion to the game.

After all, this is someone who ranks at 101 replies in 106 collector attempts at the amazing website.

Five questions were answered, followed by the closing in a wife's handwriting:

"We thank you for being a fan. Sincerely, Mary Ann Schmidt."

When you get an autograph or a note back, remember that two people may be deserving of gratitude. A wife may be just as delighted as you with the idea of an autograph. Why?

Because she remains that retiree's biggest fan.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Autograph-savvy Pete Rose biographer Kostya Kennedy set for CASEY awards banquet March 15

I approve.

March 15 is the date for the 32nd CASEY Banquet. Spitball Magazine honors a top baseball book each year. 

Getting 2014 winner Kostya Kennedy, author of Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, to attend as guest of honor is genius. A standing ovation to Spitball Magazine wizard Mike Shannon. If America can have a poet laureate, why not a baseball book ambassador? I nominate Mike.

Too many journalists have been unwilling to examine autographs as part of their biographies of baseball icons. The autograph is what links the hero to the ordinary fan.

Kennedy observed the Rose signature factory in full production. He wrote about Pete's signings, even considering what the real value of other baseball autographs might be. Sample Kennedy's writing on his sterling blog and you'll clamor for his Rose book, too.