Ernie Montella, arguably the nicest guy in the hobby and one of the driving forces behind the most prominent baseball historical society, volunteered some neat prizes the other day for a Holiday Contest.
The Philadelphia A's Historical Society and Pepperpot Production's Bill Bozman and Ronnie Joyner have created a set of cards called "Diamond Signatures," with nearly four dozen great names from the 1930s to the 1960s, including Hall of Famers George Kell and Bobby Doerr and enough All-Stars to shake an H & B stick at.
The A's Society and Pepperpot Productions will donate one of the autographed sets of the cards (45 signatures) as the top prize in the contest, with additional prizes including a one-year membership in the A's Society, cool items from the A's Society Gift Shop (10 different signed photos, five signed baseballs from Philadelphia A's players), plus subscriptions to Sports Collectors Digest and Tuff Stuff magazines. The set of autographed cards comes with a numbered COA; the other autographed photos and balls have COA's from the A's Society.
All that's required is a postcard with name and mailing address, phone numbers and e-mail address (optional). Send to: Sports Collectors Digest, SCD Contest, 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54990.
We are going to require a postcard or small note; e-mail won't work for this one, but I don't feel too bad asking for the postcard in exchange for providing the opportunity to win prizes worth several hundred, maybe thousands of dollars.
The $299 price tag on the Diamond Signatures set illustrates the remarkable irony of modern ballplayers, virtually all millionaires already, getting paid so munificently for their autographs while grossly underpaid guys from 50-60 years ago might appear at shows signing without charge or a modest fee.
With names like Kell, Doerr, Mickey Vernon, Frank Thomas, Virgil Trucks, Gus Zernial, Johnny Logan, Carl Erskine, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Mel Parnell, Bobby Shantz, Roy Seivers, Gil McDougald, Ned Garver, Boo Ferriss, Whitey Herzog, Curt Simmons and a couple of dozen more memorable names from those golden decades, the card set ought to be worth many multiples of its current price tag.
Sounds quaint and more than a little whimsical, I concede, but in a rational universe if the signatures of current players sell for $100 or more, Carl Erskine's would be $1,000.
I should also note that the signed set was limited to only 200, so not too many remain after several months of marketing. To order or for more information, go to www.philadelphiaathletics.org, or call (800) 318-0483.
- T.S. O'Connell