Thursday, October 29, 2015

Don August on baseball cards

Don August pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1988 to 1991. In his rookie season he was excellent, going 13-7 with a 3.09 ERA. Overall in his career he went 34-30 with a 4.64 ERA. Now a teacher and youth baseball coach in Wisconsin, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"It was very exciting to me and my family when I saw my first baseball card, it was my USA Baseball card from the 1984 Olympic Baseball team that was part of the Topps series in 1985. Someone I knew told me they got my card, my mom and brothers went to the local baseball card store and bought many packs until they got one of my cards. When I got this card I showed it to my friends and past coaches. 
I looked forward to seeing my new baseball cards every year when I was in the Majors, there were about four card companies then. I liked them all, I liked the action pictures better. 

I haven't had a new baseball card of me in 23 years, but I get at least one letter in the mail every day from people asking me to sign the enclosed cards and return them. These cards are 23-30 years old and people find my address and send them to me. They also get sent to my brother's house, my mom's house, my mother in law's house, and to the school district where I coach baseball, they just keep coming every day, so I see these cards continuously. The people that send them to be signed come from all over the world. Some come from prisons, some come from soldiers stationed every where. 

I also had baseball cards made of me when I played for 5 years in Taiwan. Very few people in the U.S. have sent me these, but I have had people from Asia send them to me to get signed. I have autographed those in Chinese. 

I started collecting baseball cards when I was about 7 years old. I went to the Little League field to watch some games and when I went to the concession stand I saw that they were selling these cards, so I bought a couple of packs. I thought it was so cool to get these cards of pro baseball players who you see playing on TV. So from that first year I collected I ended up getting some good players, probably at the time I didn't realize how good these players and cards were. Some of those early cards that I got, and I still have, were Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, and some more that I can't think of right now. I was hooked and the next year I bought a lot more. I had a lot, but not like 1000's. 

Baseball cards are great memories, that's why it isn't surprising to me that people collect them. In the letters that come to me with the cards to be signed people tell me that they started collecting cards as kids and now they collect cards with their kids and even grandkids. They say how they are going to pass their collections to their kids. They tell how they share this hobby with their kids in collecting cards and getting them autographed. It is a good clean thing to do, it has good memories for everyone, it's about the great sport of baseball, it keeps it alive. I am happy to have been a part of it in many ways: as a kid collecting them, getting my own cards as a player, having the privilege of signing my cards for strangers around the world, watching my son collect cards."



  1. Great write-up from Don. I was a late high school teen when he came up with Milwaukee. He was always kind and congenial to us kids when we asked for his autograph back then.

  2. This is wonderful, I love it when players respond in such detail. Cool that he signs his CPBL cards in Chinese!

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