The Sweetest Man In History Writes to Beckett Baseball Card Monthly in 1987

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Because the Internet can be such a cold and mean place, I think it's necessary to remind ourselves every now and then that people have feelings. Of course, I personally won't be doing that — the Internet would rip me to shreds if I did — so instead I will turn to B.M. from California who, in 1987, sent the sweetest and most sensitive letter ever written to Beckett Baseball Card Monthly.

Every month, Beckett would publish their "Weather Report," a tabulated list of baseball players broken into two sections: "Hot" and "Cold." The "Hot" players were on the come-up and playing well, while the "Cold" players were slumping. Quick-fire rankings are nothing new, and Beckett's "Weather Report" was by no means groundbreaking, even in 1987. However, one reader — our hero, B.M. — didn't see it as a fun and easy read, but rather a cruel and insulting missive that could emotionally harm the professional baseball players featured on the "Cold" list:

Here's the full text:

I just received the first issue of Beckett Monthly. It is great fun reading it; but, I really got a knot in the pit of my stomach when I came to page 7 -- the "Weather Report." This is so unkind, and I can't help but feel how it must really hurt a man like "Oil Can" Boyd, who has thrilled us to the tips of our toes with his concentrated, exciting performances -- especially in some of these games last season! And Gary Carter, who plays his heart out. And youthful, ever hopeful, Willie McGee! Pete Rose is Cold? You've got to be kidding!! And Reggie! And George Brett!! Did you ever stop to think how this must make them feel?? Like nobodies -- dirt! Please don't do this to these beautiful guys who bring so much joy to the baseball fans of the world! It's one thing when a 10-year-old from Peoria writes in and says Pete Rose in [sic] "Cold." It's quite another thing when a publication like Beckett, read by thousands of impressionable little guys, proud of their handsome collections of Strawberry, or Coleman, or Yount, etc., publishes a "list" of "cold" players! I can't believe you do this! I understand many of the players themselves read Beckett and collect cards! It's so cruel and unnecessary. Please don't.

We should all take B.M.'s words to heart. It's easier than ever to pass along flippant takedowns, be the target a celebrity, the subject of a viral meme, or even the "youthful, ever hopeful, Willie McGee." So let B.M.'s thoughtfulness echo: "Did you ever stop to think how this must make them feel?? Like nobodies -- dirt!"

Beckett responded to B.M.'s letter, saying the "Weather Report" represents the opinions of their readers and not the views of the magazine's editorial staff. "We certainly are not intending to offend any of the players...In our opinion, to publish a Hot list would be giving our readers only half the story." Half the story indeed, unless "B.M." is Beckett Monthly's own conscience, writing in after years of painful guilt. In that case, a Hot list would barely even be a small fraction of the story. What centaurs hide around the corners of a card collector's labyrinthine mind? We may never know.

In case you were wondering, "Oil Can" Boyd was listed yet again on the "Cold" list in the very issue in which B.M.'s plea appears. That's two months in a row, so you might want to sell his card if you can.

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July 9, 2014 - 1:30pm
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