Sunday’s induction ceremony at the Baseball Hall of Fame continued a tradition that began in Cooperstown back in the 1930s when the idea was conceived and the first players were inducted.
You may have seen a few first day covers featuring signatures of Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Walter Johnson and the other greats who were inducted. Stamp clubs made it a project to them signed and today, they can fetch a pretty penny at auction.
Here’s a story you may have never heard before, however.
Joseph Kennedy, a postal clerk from Columbus, IN, read about the Hall and set out to collect signatures from all the living player members on a first day cover, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the game of baseball. He thought it would make a nice gift for his newborn grandson.
The players he attempted to track down included Connie Mack, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Larry Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Eddie Collins, George Sisler, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Babe Ruth.
In one of the greatest ‘through the mail’ autograph projects of all-time, Kennedy wrote to the players and then waited by the mailbox.
That grandson is still alive, but wasn’t even aware of the collection until several years ago.
Oregon baseball fan and videographer Erik Schultz caught up with Joe Griffin to learn more about the story and see those original autographs of baseball royalty. Watch his interview below.