Even at age 88, he's still fast with his wits. He shared some great memories that I'll be posting this week. Using his own postage and envelope, Coan gave me a beautifully autographed 8-by-10, circa 1950, of him catching a first pitch in Washington from President Harry Truman. On the back, Coan hand-lettered a description of the event.
Most importantly, Coan ended his note with a plea:
"I ask that you do not sell these items enclosed, because too often I see items I give away on Ebay and do not appreciate that."
During the height of Coan's career, according to Baseball Almanac, he was pulling in a modest $14,000. The expense, and time, of reproducing your own photos is significant for an 80-something. Feeling that a gift you gave is unappreciated? I can understand how he feels. Thankfully, I didn't see any of his gifted photos being auctioned this week.
Even if you don't agree with me or Gil Coan, know one thing:
They are watching.
Former and current players will slam the door on the hobby. Every month, champion baseball address finder Harvey Meiselman shares word of another former player wanting a fee. Not for charity, but for the player himself. I'd guess a majority of them have seen their autographs sell online.
When an autograph signer lavishes you with bonuses, send them a thank-you note. Then, proceed with caution as you decide what to do with the signatures. Your decision could change the hobby forever.