SC Daily launches a new weekly segment this week as Jeff Baker, host of the TTM Podcast, offers a look at his most recent hobby-centric show and shares thoughts on autograph collecting through the mail.
Remember when you were young, and you went to the mailbox and there was a letter waiting for you? The excitement of you had wondering what was inside the envelope. The special way it made you feel waiting to open that letter. Sending out autograph requests and getting returns through the mail still brings me that same fun and excitement each day. I have been doing TTM (Through the Mail) since the early 80s. Since January of 2019 have hosted the sports collectible and TTM podcast, TTMCast.
TTM and collecting is my passion. Each week in this space I will be providing you an inside look at my podcast and the trends in TTM. I’ll let you know about my TTM successes and failures, who is signing, who is charging and update you on current and retired players signing habits.
On my podcast, which I host will fellow collector and co-host Drew Pelto, I interview former players, hobby insiders, fellow collectors and every so often Hollywood celebrities. The show features hobby news, TTM trends and other topics of interest to collectgors. We post a new show every Sunday and I’ll be providing a weekly summary here and adding some autograph collecting insights and successes as well.
TTMCast this Week – April 3rd show
On the podcast this week, nine-year NBA veteran Tom Henderson joined me to discuss his basketball career and dealing with fan autograph requests through the mail. Henderson was a member of the 1972 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team which lost a very controversial gold medal game to the Soviet Union. Twice the US team thought they had won the game only to see officials make calls that gave the Russians a third chance to win, which they did. Henderson talks about how the team decided to not accept the silver medal even though one of their teammates decided he wanted to accept his.
Henderson also discussed the pressures of being a first-round draft pick by the Atlanta Hawks, the thrill of winning an NBA title with Washington in 1978 and the disappointment of losing to the Boston Celtics in the 1981 NBA Finals as a member of the Houston Rockets.
Tom Henderson is a great supporter of TTM and readily answers his fan mail. He enjoys hearing from fan and signing autographs on cards, pictures and other memorabilia sent to him for no charge. Tom isn’t afraid to speak his mind and very forth coming about his career.
Through the podcast, we have a special contest this week. We are giving away a kids collector’s pack courtesy of the new Collx.app. It includes a t-shirt, 25 toploaders, a Sports Collectors Club card stand (my weekly nationally syndicated radio show heard Sunday mornings on the SportsMap Radio Network) and some TTMCast magnets. Listen to this week’s show to learn how to enter to win.
Next week I have hobby and autograph collecting legend Les Wolff on as guest.
TTM This Week
TTM is never a sure thing. A few things to remember: never send an item that you can’t (don’t want to) live without. Player signing habit can change from one day to the next. Just because they signed for someone else doesn’t guarantee that they will sign for you. Always send a very personal letter along with your request detailing the reasons why you would like their autograph. Don’t be greedy. I suggest sending only one or two items. Make sure you send a self-addressed stamped envelope, self-sealing is preferred. Be honest! Be respectful, keep in mind these people are doing you a favor by signing your item(s). Be patient. Sometimes it may take awhile to get your returns to you.
TTM tip of the week: Keep a record of your requests. Note the day your request was mailed, the player you mailed it to you, what you sent and record your returns. It will make TTMing an even that much more enjoyable hobby.
Here’s a few of my TTM returns the past few weeks.
Dennis Eckersley – Sent Baseball Hall of Famer this card to his home address with a $10 dollar donation. Took approximately 3 months. Glad to add his rookie card to my collection.
Drew Brees – Sent Brees’ second Topps card to recently retired QB with the SD Chargers and New Orleans Saints. Mailed it to his charitable foundation along with $10. Took about 6 months.
Yvon Cournoyer – NHL Hall of Famer with the Montreal Canadians. I sent two cards to the team’s Alumni Association in Montreal Canada. The two cards I sent did not get autographed, but I got aigned post card in return. Cournoyer charges $10 per autograph which I did not realize when I send out my request in January. Postage to Canada is different than US postage. Check with your local post office for details on postage for letter and self-addressed stamped envelope coming back into the country.
Jim Slaton –The former Milwaukee Brewer and Detroit Tiger pitcher was a mound mainstay in the latter half of the 70s and well into the 80s. He autographed his 1978 Topps card. I am collecting this set signed and needed Slaton. It took about four months to get this return, but Jim signed it for free. Collecting sets gives you a fantastic opportunity to connect with players that you might not normally communicate with.
Mark Lewis – 1st round draft pick with the Cleveland Indians signed his rookie card for me. Mark is an excellent signer and a usually a very quick return. This request took less than two week and was free.
Foots Walker – Former Cleveland Caviler and New Jersey Net guards signed two cards for me. Foots signed a card in silver sharpie. I send another card as well and he also sent his one of his own card. Sometimes athlete will include an extra card or two if you are lucky.
Here’s a few other former players who are currently signing for free. I have had success with them in the past:
- Steve Balboni -Yankees and Royals
- Don Money – Phillies and Brewers
- William “The Refrigerator” Perry – Chicago Bears
- Chris Ford – Pistons and Celtics. Hit first 3-pointer in NBA history.
Please send any questions to me regarding TTM and TTMCast to me directly at [email protected]. I ask that you do not ask me for player addresses.
See you next week!