Bobby Thomson passed away last week at the age of 86. While collectors under age 65 aren't likely to remember his playing days, those who know their baseball history know a lot about one of baseball's most famous names.
"My uncle had a box in one of his rooms in the house, filled with baseballs and things like that," Jimmy Thomson told SILive.com. "And I never knew what it was for. Turns out, people used to write him and send him things to sign. But if they didn't send him something to sign with the letter, he'd grab something out of that box, sign it and send it to them.
Long after both retired, Thomson and Ralph Branca were regulars at sports card shows and had private signing arrangements as well.
While most collectors asked Thomson to sign pictures of the 'Shot Heard 'Round the World' that gave the Giants the 1951 pennant over Branca's Dodgers, some brought him early 1950s baseball cards to autograph.
Thomson cheerfully signed most everything, according to the News & Observer, including cards that may have been worth more than the signature.
But classy as always, there was one item he wouldn't autograph.