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Autograph collectors pitch in to say thanks to Bobby Doerr

The 93-year old man lives a quiet life in a small farm town called Junction City, Oregon. Every day the post office delivers envelopes and boxes of all shapes and sizes to the old man, each containing a letter, a treasure and postage paid to mail it back with his signature. For longer than you’ve been born he’s responded to every request at a speed that conjures up images of his days racing around the bases at Fenway Park more than sixty years ago. By my count, it takes only eleven days for a bubble mailer to travel from Boston to the old man in Junction City and back again.

Bobby Doerr autographed baseball

Bobby Doerr autographed baseball

Bobby Doerr is a legend, recognized as such by the Baseball Hall of Fame (he is the Hall’s oldest living former player), and a man beloved by the autograph community for his responsiveness and generosity. In retirement he has fulfilled thousands of requests without asking for a dime—all during a time when a returned envelope from a Hall of Famer is more likely to contain a price list than a prized signature.

Last year, just before Christmas, a member of the SportsGraphing.com message board had an idea—to start a collection and purchase a gift card for Doerr as a symbol of gratitude from the autograph community. Thirty-eight collectors chipped in to raise a total of $273.37 which was used to purchase an American Express gift card and thank you card. Also included in the package was a handwritten letter expressing their collective appreciation.

While it’s likely that almost all the donors had received an autograph from Doerr at some point in the past, I believe it was truly an altruistic gesture. The SportsGraphing.com community has discussed making this an annual tradition, recognizing a retired player who is a generous signer with the Bobby Doerr Award.

Last month I sent Mr. Doerr a baseball. It was returned in less than two weeks, beautifully signed in blue ballpoint.

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

9 comments… add one

  • Tom Owens May 18, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Great points, Matt! Sometimes, all it takes is a postcard of thanks to tell someone their signature matters. Doing something bigger is awesome, too.

  • Matt Raymond May 19, 2011, 9:35 am

    Thanks for reading Tom!

  • Canadagraphs May 28, 2011, 1:59 am

    Thats an amazing story.
    Although I only know his name in passing (not much of a baseball fan) I know that to get a ttm autograph from ANYONE, let alone a HOF, let alone from a major 4 sport isincredible itself, and for him to do it so efficiently, thats truly amazing.
    Congrats to the members of that message board on their efforts in showing their appreciation.

  • Matt Raymond June 2, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Doug June 1, 2011, 9:43 am

    Mr Doerr has always been a great signer and he is one of the few I’ve sent a follow up thank you card to. He’s a MLB HOF that knows there are fans that appreciate the time he puts in for us collectors.

  • Matt Raymond June 2, 2011, 6:05 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, Doug.

  • Tom Dykeman February 9, 2014, 3:15 pm

    Hope it didn’t hurt those thirty-eight collectors too bad.

    Gosh that’s almost $8 each!!!

    Why didn’t they send 1% of what they’ve made off Doerr’s autographed stuff?

  • A. Reyes March 17, 2014, 11:23 pm

    I had the privilege to meet Mr. Doerr at his home. I never followed baseball much but I sold a home alarm to a younger family member of his in Oregon (my home state!) So she invited me over to his home. I did some research before I went and come to find out he was a very impressive player in his time. This was only a few years ago when I met him but he was a very humble man and I was honored to have met him and had dinner with him and his wife. Before I was on my way he handed me an autographed card and I shook his hand and left. This will be a great memory of mine for years to come!

  • Matt Raymond March 25, 2014, 11:22 pm

    Very cool – thanks for sharing!

    Matt

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