Dear Richard, You Are My Favorite Player

Check out the story about a baseball player that responded to his fan mail 15 years later.

I wrote similar letters to countless professional athletes when I was a kid. My dad and I used to pick a handful of likely prospects and reel off 10 letters in a single sitting. (Watching my dad write "My name is Eric Boggs. I'm 10 years old." in a simulated 10 year-old's handwriting was pretty darn funny...)

Just like the author, I - or we - always used the "you are my favorite player" line and expectedly realized a significant conversion on letters targeted to the mediocre players. Craig Worthington of the Orioles, Brian Noble of the Packers, and, especially, Richard Anderson of the Hornets are some of the no-names that come to mind.

Richard Anderson was a scrub for the Charlotte Hornets. I remember him as a complete stiff that subbed into the game for mop-up duty when the Hornets were getting slaughtered, which happened more often than not. My dad and I called him "Wrong Way Richard" for some reason - I guess because we thought he was so terrible. This seems kinda harsh after looking at his career stats and realizing that he stuck in the league for 6 years...

My dad jokingly suggested that I write one of my letters to Richard, so I did. I remember laughing my 10 year-old butt off writing a letter telling Richard that he was my favorite player and that - get this - I thought he should get more playing time. My dad and I thought it was an absolute riot.

As we hoped, Richard wrote me back using the SASE I provided. He wrote a gracious thank-you note, that I've lost, and autographed the card I provided. (I still have the card.) Surely Richard realized my ruse, yet he still replied. Nice guy, that Wrong Way Richard.

In addition to Richard, my efforts also netted some pretty big fish, including Don Mattingly of the Yankees, Kirby Puckett of the Twins, and Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns. I also received a lame "join my fan club" packet from Dan Marino, which was the first in a long line of disappointments from my childhood football hero - including the "Ace Ventura" cameo, the Isotoner Gloves commercials, the Atkins diet commercials, and the awful commentary on CBS Sunday afternoons, not to mention the whole "no Super Bowl" ring deal. Another post for another time...