Monday, November 22, 2010

Through The Mail Success: Carl Erskine

Over the summer, I had read over on The Bench that Brooklyn Dodgers great Carl Erskine was a great through the mail signer, very generous with his time, and being that I'm huge into the Brooklyn guys, I was pretty psyched about this. I wrote Mr. Erskine this letter, touching on my and my family's connection to his Dodgers team, and included 2 cards for him to sign, one for myself, and one for my mom, who grew up watching the Bums.
 
 
"Dear Mr. Erskine,

I hope that this letter finds you well. I am writing to you as someone who never saw you play (to date, I've only seen one Brooklyn game, and alas, it was Don Larsen's perfect game), but someone who has heard stories about your team my entire life and considers you and the rest of the Dodgers who are still with us living legends in the truest, least-cliched sense of the word.

My great-grandfather, who I sadly never met (he passed well before I was born), was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and as he lived with my mom, she grew up around the Dodgers. When I first started getting into baseball as a young kid, my mom started telling me stories here and there about the team from Brooklyn who weren't there anymore and their amazing old ballpark, Ebbets Field, and the seed of my interest in the Dodgers was planted. Eventually, I'd come to hear all about the team from various sources (I still need to read "The Boys Of Summer", though...not sure how I've missed that one), and I've even met Duke Snider and George "Shotgun" Shuba over a few trips to Cooperstown on induction weekends. Perhaps my greatest exposure to the team has been the "Ghosts Of Flatbush" documentary, which I've watched at least a dozen times since it first aired a few years ago. Every time I watch it, I wish more and more that I'd been around to see you and the Dodgers play, and to root for you guys, no matter how much heartbreak would've gone along with your team's move to Los Angeles.

I grew up a Yankee fan because they were what was exciting about baseball as I discovered it (sadly, they've so severely disillusioned me with a long string of moves over the past decade, capped off with the destruction of the original stadium, that I have trouble watching them anymore, though I still follow the game wholeheartedly), but I am certain now that, if I'd been born in a different era, I would've rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Enclosed are two of your cards. I would be overjoyed and honored if you could sign them for me, with one personalized to my mom, who says hello and also wishes you well as I do. Thank you for your time, and thank you for being a Brooklyn Dodger.

Sincerely,
Scott Crawford"

About a month and a half later, I got my self-addressed stamped envelope back fro Mr. Erskine, with my two 2008 Donruss Threads cards signed, one for my mom (I gave it to her as a belated extra birthday gift), and one for myself, plus an extra signed '08 Threads card! My original letter was also returned to me, but at the bottom, I saw the following note:


"10/13/10

Hi Scott-

Thanks for writing + for your loyalty to the Dodgers + thanks to your great grandfather.

-Carl Erskine #17"

Thank you, Mr. Erskine.

Here's my card...


...and here's the extra he sent me aside from my mom's card, with the ink just slightly worse for wear from the trip, but still awesome and with the "#17" inscription on it.


It is available for trade, but it won't be easy to pry it from me. Even though it's a double, it's going to be sort of hard to let it go, mostly because he was such a cool, generous guy.

However, if you send a card, include a SASE and write him a nice letter at the address listed on The Bench's TTM Database (an amazingly cool resource), chances are pretty good that you can get your own Carl Erskine autograph without having to work out a trade with me.

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