When I was collecting cards, issues of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly had a page listing the address for each team’s stadium. It was easy to not pay this page much mind, but I saw it as an avenue to interact with my favorite players; to break down the perceived wall between the untouchable all-star and the common fan. Or, perhaps more accurately, to soullessly spam the hell out of them for autographs.

It wasn’t hard. Here’s the formula for how it worked:


  1. Draft a quick, boilerplate letter to Bobby Bonilla and claim the Pittsburgh Pirates are your favorite team (harmless lie);
  2. Address a stamped envelope to Mr. Bobby Bonilla at Three Rivers Stadium, 600 Stadium Circle, Pittsburgh, PA 15212;
  3. Throw in a baseball card of Bobby Bonilla – be sure it’s one you can live without because you’ll likely never see it again;
  4. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope;
  5. Drop it in the mail; and
  6. Wait.


The success rate on the return was quite low but here’s a small sample of what I did get back:



Autographed Master Blaster! I repeat: Always send a card you can live without.



If he hadn’t been such a great player, this 1989 Fleer Andre Dawson could have made the All-Randy McCament Baseball Card Team.


Eddy Wahlgren covered this in his wonderful column on Wednesday, but not all autographs were made the same. I wanted the signature crisp, front and center, and definitely not on the back of the card.



Which isn’t to say I wasn’t grateful; we’re talking about Kirby Puckett here. He could have jointly signed the card with whoever he’s doing that odd fist-bump to the palm thing and I would have been perfectly satisfied. And I’m on Kirby’s side here –that guy is going in way too high for a fist-bump.


One “throw enough spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” act deserves another. So often with the returned autographed card came a gentle nudge to sign up for their fan club. Here’s Terry Pendleton trying to get me to sign up for his.



I didn’t join, which is unfortunate, because I would love to have that Official(!) MVP Party Mug. I looked all over the internet for this mug but it was nowhere to be found. And man, it’s easy to forget Pendleton won the NL MVP in 1991. But he did; he hit .319/.363/.517 and led the league in hits and total bases.

Also worth noting: It takes true grit to send an ’86 Fleer card out into the abyss. Those didn’t grow on trees.


It’s important to not lose sight that 162 games is a lot of freakin’ games. It still impresses the hell out of me when I go see Game 117 for a team who’s already out of contention yet before every pitch the right fielder gets in proper defensive position. This is their job, they’re professionals, and they’re busy. Not all of them can come through with the autograph but some players would still send you something to let you know they care.



Why thank you Jose, I did enjoy the photo.



Somewhere along the way I separately got these cool postcard-type photos from Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken, Jr., respectively. They each had a nice, personalized message on the back.



Hey, wait a second.


Oh, and I didn’t only harass baseball players. Here’s Chris Webber’s mom butchering my last name and rightfully telling me to get lost.

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2 Responses to “You’ve Got Mail… Now Leave Us Alone”

  1. James McKenzie

    You know who probably has Terry Pendleton MVP mugs? Terry Pendleton….

    …. who says you never get second chances in life?

  2. Steven Miklewicz

    Derek jeter rookie year I sent the entire Yankees team a letter and card the only one I got back, Derek Jeter. He remains my favorite player of any sport and will always be my role model.


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