Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blast from the TTM past: Phil Rizzuto

A little story I've been wanting to share.

Back in 2005, I sent a TTM request to Phil Rizzuto requesting an autograph on my card. I received the card back unsigned, with a price list. Bummer. However, I read online that, although rare, if you included a really nice, genuine letter, you were more likely to get a response and autograph. I try to do this as is with my TTMs - ask a few questions, state a specific memory I have or a time I saw that player live, etc. So I took another shot and wrote a longer, more detailed note and shared a story with him.

I told Scooter that I came from a large Italian-America family, and my Nonna ("grandma" in Italian), and I used to watch games and laugh when he went on his tangents about cannoli or lasagna or some other Italian dish. I told him that my Nonna makes the best homemade ravioli, and how we eat it as a family every Christmas. I also included a check, albeit for only $5, and told him to keep it as a donation to any of his causes.

A few weeks passed by, and eventually I got my SASE back. Upon carefully opening it and peering inside, my heart dropped. I didn't see the usual price list folded up. Instead, my 1952 Topps reprint was signed and inscribed "HOF 1994." My check was returned, and on it he wrote, "No charge, AJ. - Scooter #10." And to top it off, a small black and white photo with something written on it.

While the writing was hard to read, it says something like, "Thanks for the letter AJ. I sure could go for some of Nonna's ravioli! Holy Cow!." It looks like he almost wrote this twice...like he ran out of room and started his thought over. Either way, in addition to my Tino TTM success, this is my favorite and most prized piece in my Yankees collection.

The lesson here - send to the big fish. Yeah, you may never get it back or get a price list/pre-pint. But you can be in for a big surprise, and a success like this is completely worth it.


  1. Wow, that's a nice story & some great items in your collection.

    - Paul

  2. Nice story.

    Also, eating an Italian meal on Christmas is the only way to go. I have go-rounds about this with co-workers.

  3. Wow, great story, and awesome success with Scooter. Wish I was interested in the hobby as much as I am now before he passed away.