This year I cut back on the number of requests sent out, and instead focused on filling out a few specific projects. Over the previous two years I sent to a lot of requests to non-Phillies Hall of Famers and other notable players from the the 1950's/1960's. I also had sent out many requests to current Phillies, which proved to be a losing battle. The truth is, the Phillies are one of the hardest current teams to TTM. Requests to "stars" are returned with pre-printed postcards, or ignored. It was nice to get back to sending requests I knew would be returned. I stuck to the plan and sent to reliable players. This helped me achieve a 97% success rate, and complete (or almost complete) several nice projects.
It was also nice to shake the "grim-reaper" status 2010 had pinned on me. Last year, seven guys I had success with died within days/weeks of my item being returned. One, Cal McLish, died before he could fulfill the request. I received a note from a family member who notified me of his death and returned by card. And I may very well have received one of the last signatures given by both Robin Roberts and Tom Underwood as both died within a week of my successes. I am happy to report there were 0 deaths this year!
All in all, 2011 was a successful TTM year. Here is the best (and worst) of my 2011 Phillies TTM experience:
Much improved success rate from 2009 and 2010. I primarily relied on sportscollectors.net for good addresses, and steered away from current Phillies - who killed my average the past two years.
Hall of Famer Successes -
Jim Bunning, Pat Gillick, Doug Harvey and Ernie Banks
|Pat Gillick and Doug Harvey|
|Jim Bunning Number Retirement Insert|
Fastest turnaround - 5 days
5 tied (Stan Lopata, Bobby Shantz, Bobby Malkmus, Curt Simmons and Larry Bowa)
Sent in 2010, received back in 2011:
- Ernie Banks (392 days)
- Johnny Briggs (284 days)
- Jack Baldshun (278 days)
|John Briggs and Jack Baldschun|
Sent in 2011, received back in 2011:
- Gene Garber (93 days)
- Bob Boone (71 days)
I was really focused on the older guys this past year. As mentioned earlier, I had been bitten by losing so many things to the current/recent Phillies that I all but shut them out in 2011. The guys who played pre-1990 seem to be a lot more reliable and I like seeing my stuff come back!
1950 Whiz Kids Team Photo
- One of my favorite pieces, I bought this on eBay for $30 (with Ashburn, Hamner, Ennis, McDonnell, Seminick) with JSA authenticity.
- Successes through TTM were - Curt Simmons, Stan Lopata, Putsy Caballero, Bob Miller and Jack Mayo
|1950 Whiz Kids Team Photo|
- I talk about this one at length in the Current Projects section of the site, but I really love this picture, too. I have had a lot of success through the mail with the '64 team and even got to meet a few more of the guys in person this year.
- Successes through TTM were - Gus Triandos, John Herrnstein, Art Mahaffey, Ray Culp, Danny Cater, Bob Oldis and Dennis Bennett. I also got Roy Sievers, but he signed the back of the picture for some reason...I plan on getting it back out to him soon!
- Getting this ball in the mail was a real pleasure - and even solicited a couple personal responses from the players. I have been able to collect 16 signatures from members of the '64 team this year. If you don't already have any team items from this group, I highly recommend that you do it in 2012!
- Successes through TTM were - Jim Bunning, Frank Thomas, Dennis Bennett, Bobby Shantz, Ed Roebuck, Clay Dalrymple, John Herrnstein and Art Mahaffey.
|1964 Phillies Team Ball|
1960 Sports Illustrated Cover
- Again, I provided a lot of detail about this item in the Current Projects section of the site so I'll keep this nice and short. Kept with the themed of signed SI's I had already established and allowed me to write to a few guys I hadn't previously gotten to...
- Successes through TTM were - Alvin Dark, Bobby Gene Smith, Bobby Malkmus, Ted Lepcio, Bobby Del Greco, Joe Morgan, Tony Gonzalez.
Losing a signed 1960 Phillies team ball to Ruben Amaro, Sr. He has a great return record (I have had previous successes with him), and I even sent $5, but still never got it back. Not sure what happened, but it reminds you to always consider the possibility that what you send is not coming back. Overall, not a big deal - I had 6-7 signatures (including Robin Roberts)...but more sweat equity built into the ball.
Stan Lopata signed 1950 Inquirer insert. I have been collecting the team inserts for the past three years. Since then I have acquired 17 signed by the players. Unfortunately, many of the Whiz Kids had died by the time I started collecting them, and as a result most in the collection were purchased at shows. The collection of 17 pictures is definitely one of my favorite items - and being able to get one of the Whiz Kids to personally sign it for me is a highlight. If you are unfamiliar with this set check out my earlier post on them.
|Stan Lopata 1950 Inquirer Set|
Favorite non-Phillies Success -
I am also a big Eagles fan, and from time-to-time will send requests to former players of that team. Growing up watching the team in the late '80s, early '90s there was no bigger Eagle than Randall Cunningham. I picked up this Sports Illustrated on eBay, and mailed it out with $20 to Mr. Cunningham. It took about a month, but eventually came back signed. Awesome!
|Randall Cunningham on 1989 SI|