I had a question that some of you may be able to answer. Does anyone currently write any Reds players (through snail mail)? Have you had any luck getting a response?

Back when I was about 12 of so, my parents had given me a subscription to Sports Illustrated for Kids. I flipped through it, usually just looking at pictures and tearing out the sheets of baseball-sports cards. But one issue really caught my eye. It was about a kid who used to send letters and baseball cards to a lot of ballplayers. He mentioned how he would include a self-addressed stamp envelope, and how he amassed a huge collection of autographs. They had a collage of all his cards in the magazine and it just amazed me.

I really got into it myself. Up until then, I had gone to card shows a lot and my dad would be nice enough sometimes to wait outside the stadium with me to snags some autographs. But I just couldn't help but think I was holding them up and wasting their time. You could tell most of the guys were just signing to be nice - not because they really enjoyed it. I eventually phased out the cardshows and loitering all together and focused my energy on writing them. I figured they could read my letters and respond to any autograph requests when it was convenient for them, which made me feel like less of a stalker.

I was simply amazed by the response, which began almost immediately. I used about half of my allowance during the summer on stamps, envelops and baseball cards and shipped out dozens and dozens of letters. It became a lot of fun. I learned a lot about the players because I'd always do a little studying up on them so I could make my letters seem sincere. Some guys were easy (Dear Tony Perez: I bet playing on the Big Red Machine was awesome. My dad always talks about it) and others were a stretch (Dear Tim Flannery: How are things? I sure bet it hurt getting hit by a pitch 9 times last year.)

I hit up a lot of Reds players and many out of town. I'd get all kinds of responses - hand-written notes, autographed baseball cards with no letter, canned-response letters, fan club applications and even un-signed cards I sent, an empty can of Copenhagen, autographs from bat boys, a phone number with a lipsticked kiss attached (I still wonder what in the hell was going on in the Orioles clubhouse), someone's car-insurance bill, other fans' letters... I could really go on forever.

One of my highlights came when I realized some guy named Jerry Narron had the same birthday I did, so I sent him a birthday card. A couple weeks later, I got a birthday card back from him with a really nice note written in it. That, probably more than anything, meant the most to me because I knew he had to really put some effort into it. Really, who just happens to have a belated-birthday card sitting around? He also mentioned a few things I had included in my letter in his card. I still have that letter framed and in a closet somewhere.

Of course, gettings notes or autographs from some bigger names was also cool: Fernando Valenzeuela, Cal Ripken, Danny Tartabull, Jim Abbott, Chris Sabo, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, George Foster, Rickey Henderson, etc. I was always amazed by how many guys would write back.

Anyway, sorry for all the background. I was just wondering if any of the younger people (or anyone's kids) have had any luck writing to current Reds. I really don't have much desire to get back into it (I feel a little too old), but I wonder if many people even try and if the current players put as much effort into it like the previous generations did.