It was a way to connect the growing legion of collectors seeking “TTM” or “through the mail” signatures with the athletes’ home addresses.
While other books had been published, Smalling took the process to the next level, updating his book every couple of years to reflect address changes and death records.
Some players won’t sign, of course, but there are plenty of others, especially those on the verge of being forgotten, who are glad to oblige.
His inventory is staggering as Smalling tests out his own work by mailing items to players.
He offered some history on his profitable hobby–and some tips for send away sigs–to the Des Moines Register.