Tag Archives: classy baseball players

Fan Mail Can Go Both Ways – A Note From My “Pen Pal” Dan Quisenberry

I was a Red Sox fan growing up, but how could I NOT love Dan Quisenberry, the guy who led the league in saves throwing underhand!

I was a Red Sox fan growing up, but how could I NOT love Kansas City Royals closer Dan Quisenberry, the guy who led the league in saves throwing underhand!

Handwritten letters are endangered species.

About the only places they live on are birthday cards, thank you notes and summer camp letters, which kids are forced to write because nostalgia keeps their parents signing those checkbooks (another endangered medium).

On the occasion of one of my favorite childhood baseball players, Dan Quisenberry, missing out on the Baseball Hall of Fame, I just wrote a column for The Atlantic reminiscing about the thrill of receiving a two-page letter from him in 1981. (“How Athletes Ensure Immortality: Not all greats make the Hall of Fame. Not all Hall of Famers are remembered. But a player who forges personal connections with fans with live on.”)

You can read the story here, but I’d also like to share the full text of the letter for the benefit of the world’s Kansas City Royals fans — or anyone who still cherishes the power of handwritten letters.

The idea of a professional athlete, let alone the American League’s best closer, taking the time to write a two-page letter to a kid he thought was “creative,” is unfathomable to me as a jaded adult. Sadly, Quisenberry died of brain cancer at age 45 — younger than the age that many of the kids watching him pitch would be now.

Here’s Dan’s letter for you to read for yourself:

Dan Quisenberry Letter - Page 1 of 2 (Double click to enlarge)

Dan Quisenberry Letter – Page 1 of 2 (Double click to enlarge)

** Continue reading

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Filed under Dan Quisenberry, Sports, Sports Psychology, Submarine Pitchers

Classy thank you notes and ungrateful Gitmo ingrates

St. Petersburg Times advertisement

St. Petersburg Times advertisement

New Red Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli, who left the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a free agent after battling chronic injuries, just took out a newspaper ad in the St. Petersburg Times thanking the fans for their warmth and support.


Regardless of whether his mother reminded him to send a thank you note or not, Baldelli cemented his Good Guy Legacy.

His note:


Baldelli is the antithesis of ungrateful Guantanamo Bay prisoners, who today slapped their greatest friend in the face.  Within the first 48 hours on the job, probably before he even looked around every room in the White House, Barack Obama signed an order to shut down Gitmo and its worldwide franchise of lesser-branded foreign prisons.

Did the Gitmo Alumni Association take out a full page ad in the Washington Post or Fidel Castro’s Granma newspaper?  Nope.

According to Reuters, freed Gitmo veterans scoff that the upcoming closure is “too little, too late.”

“The prison in Guantanamo is a flagrant violation of international and American laws,” said Lal Gul Lal, the head of the Afghanistan Human Rights Organisation, an independent non-governmental organization.

“If Obama’s administration wants to get rid of the criticism and wants to implement justice then it should hand over to their respective countries all the prisoners it has in various prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere,” he said. “If that does not happen the closure of Guantanamo will have no meaning.”

Yup, either we free every thug right now OR the Gitmo shutdown will have “no meaning.” Precious stuff. I’m guessing this guy perfected his rhetoric on the Student Union steps at UMass-Amherst.

But back to the classy trend of professional baseball players writing thank you notes.

Kerry Wood also just wrote one to Chicago Cubs fans. Fellow pitcher C.C. Sabathia wrote one to Cleveland Indians fans. Barry Zito did the same for Oakland A’s fans a few years back — even though he was just going a few miles to play for the San Francisco Giants.

I wonder what baseball guru Alyssa Milano would have to say about this resurgence of politeness and etiquette.  I also wonder about Milano’s position on Gitmo.

Perhaps more important is the faint hope that more paid thank you notes from ballplayers could save the struggling newspaper industry — a theory put forth by clever Tampa Bay cheerleader Jonah Keri.

Keri, editor of Baseball Between the Numbers, thinks that Tampa Bay is going to finish ahead of Boston in 2009.  He’s almost as delusional as those ungrateful Gitmo inmates.

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Filed under Baseball Guru Alyssa Milano, Red Sox Schlock