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  • Player Questionnaires

    As much as I love to get a signed photo or card, it's hard to compete with a completed questionnaire. So I'm wondering: How many of you send questions with your autograph requests? And who has answered them for you? I would love to hear which players out there (and managers, coaches, umpires, announcers, etc.) are willing to do this! Off the top of my head, here's my list:

    - Bobby Thomson
    - Virgil Trucks
    - Carl Erskine
    - Ernie Banks
    - Bobby Richardson
    - Claude Osteen
    - Frank Tanana
    - Dan Ford
    - Jim Dwyer
    - Sammy Stewart
    - Ernie Harwell
    - Paul Molitor
    - Whitey Ford (for a fee)
    - Gil McDougald (before his health took a bad turn)
    - George Kell (deceased)

    I'd love to hear from everyone about this one!

  • #2
    I did some a few years ago. Here are the links:

    Bobby Doerr

    Doug Drabek

    Jerry Dybzinski

    Chie Gunner

    Don Minnick

    Comment


    • #3
      Pretty much everyone that's ever responded to me has done some kind of questionnaire via phone, email, or letter, albeit under very special circumstances (those being that I'm writing two books and figure the autograph is gravy).
      "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
      -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

      Comment


      • #4
        I usually do a mini questionnaire and I would say that 50% of less respond. When I write to a player for an autograph, I will reference a moment in their career, perhaps their first at bat, their first hit, etc. or if it is a pitcher, I will refer to their first appearance, etc. Sometimes it is amazing what they will write to you. Usually I only work on players that are retired and the current Cincinnati Reds.

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        • #5
          As I am working on a book, I have a lot of success asking extremely focused questions about players that they have played with / against, or events that happened in their careers. After talking to many of them on the phone, alot say that they HATE generic questionnaires that ask questions that can be looked up in reference books:

          I.e. - Who did they hit their first HR off? / Their first win / First at-bat /

          Alot also said they didn't like questions such as: Who was the hardest pitcher / batter you faced? (Most said if they're in the majors, they are all tough.)

          You can write whatever you want about, but you will have much more success if you ask very specific questions. Some also don't like answering questionnaires because people put them up on ebay shortly after they get them back.

          I would say send questionnaires to players you are GENUINELY interested in, not just because they will write back. It's a waste of their time.
          Baseball Happenings
          - Linking baseball's past, present and future.
          http://baseballhappenings.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            I ask a couple questions in each autograph request, but as far as sending a questionaire, Ive only had two come back. One from Vern Law, the other from Ken Retzer. Occasionally, maybe once a week Ill get a small letter answering the 2 or 3 questions I asked. The best return I got as far as a letter goes, is Daryl Hamilton. I had asked him about playing in the 50s and playing in the Polo Grounds, and asking him if he felt a historical presance on it, and if he knew of the Merkle Game, he wrote on the back side of my letter, took up the whole page, and spilled a little bit onto the front side. Was awesome.
            "I don't like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
            -Rogers Hornsby-

            "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
            -Rogers Hornsby-

            Just a note to all the active members of BBF, I consider all of you the smartest baseball people I have ever communicated with and love everyday I am on here. Thank you all!

            Comment


            • #7
              "As I am working on a book, I have a lot of success asking extremely focused questions about players that they have played with / against, or events that happened in their careers. After talking to many of them on the phone, alot say that they HATE generic questionnaires that ask questions that can be looked up in reference books:

              I.e. - Who did they hit their first HR off? / Their first win / First at-bat /

              Alot also said they didn't like questions such as: Who was the hardest pitcher / batter you faced? (Most said if they're in the majors, they are all tough.) "

              TOTALLY agree here. You have to ask VERY specific questions (when I asked Ted Kazanski if he recalled facing Steve Dalkowski better from his 1963 days with Rochester or 1964 days with Columbus, he answered roughly the same, but in different ways; Steve still had quite a bit left in 1963 and was still a pretty intimidating pitcher. In 1964, he had declined a lot and Ted remembered hitting a double off him [a bases-clearing RBI double, if you look at the box score]). Also, as I'm simultaneously doing the beginning stages of a book that deals with the Phillies Minor League system from 1955-1970, I found that there were certain questions where everyone loved answering not based on their own personal career. For example, "who came out of nowhere, skills-wise?", "who do you think had the most raw talent of any pitcher or position player you ever saw, whether or not they put it into use?", and "if you had to select five ballplayers who never made the Majors but should have and you think would have in this era of expansion, who would they be?" have proven to be really popular there. Based on their personal career, such as "What did it feel like to you and how had the game of baseball changed to you after your first professonal season?" has been far and away the most popular question. "What, in your opinion, was your greatest accomplishment on the field?" was also well-liked (I was surprised at some of the answers) and so was "If you had to name one or two really crazy teammates (or if not name them, describe their actions), who would they be?" which was great fun for everyone involved (especially when one player began his answer with "me, I was completely insane back then" and meant it!). Questions about ballparks are also good, so long as you stay away from really general questions about really specific ballparks like "What did you think of Sec Taylor Stadium?" or something like that. Asking about hitter's parks, pitcher's parks, well-built parks, and poorly-constructed ballparks has always been best. "Can you describe the league quality?" has also not proven to be very popular at all UNLESS you specify "Was this a hitter's league or a pitcher's league?". If you do that, sometimes you'll get a short answer, sometimes you'll get a longer one that really elaborates, but you should get an answer to that one. And these are pretty much the most general questions I ask.
              Last edited by Dalkowski110; 03-14-2010, 02:53 PM.
              "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
              -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

              Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

              Comment


              • #8
                This is great stuff, guys. Thanks!

                I like the specific questions, too. Virgil Trucks gave me the inside scoop on the key to pitching successfully to Joe DiMaggio, while also admitting that no one had any secrets about how to pitch to Ted Williams!

                Comment


                • #9
                  So, has anyone ever asked about the 3-I league? For whatever reason, probably cause Im from Illinois, Ive been fascinated with the 3-I league, and everytime I ask, I dont get a response. I could ask 3 questions, and question 3 could partain to the league, and they dont answer, these are players that played in it. Ive only asked about 6 or 7 guys, with 3 or 4 responding to other questions, but I just find it interesting. Maybe I just get then wrong players. Dalkowski, you ever asked about it?
                  "I don't like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
                  -Rogers Hornsby-

                  "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
                  -Rogers Hornsby-

                  Just a note to all the active members of BBF, I consider all of you the smartest baseball people I have ever communicated with and love everyday I am on here. Thank you all!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Dalkowski, you ever asked about it?"

                    It's come up in the sense that Steve was tentatively assigned to the Fox Cities (Appleton, WI) Foxes in both 1960 and 1964, but no, I've not really had much need to ask about it. However, I suspect that once I ask more about the Des Moines Demons for my Phillies Minor League book, I'll be getting more info about it.
                    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
                    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

                    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

                    Comment

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