Bullpen & More, by Kevin Nelson

Posts Tagged ‘Memorabilia

Hall of Fame Planning Exhibit on Operation Bullpen

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The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is planning an exhibit on Operation Bullpen, possibly for next year. I just wrote an article about it for Tuff Stuff and Sports Collector’s Digest, explaining how the FBI and Hall of Fame started working together on the exhibit and how my book, Operation Bullpen, played a part in all of it. One of the things I talk about is how the Mother Teresa baseball (below) may become part of the exhibit, with the general public getting the chance to see it for the first time. There’s also some good stuff in there about how the FBI cracked the case, and you can read it right here.

Mother Teresa ball

Written by Kevin Nelson

July 13, 2009 at 8:49 pm

More Forgeries of Hall of Famers

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One of the nice things about blogging software is that it allows you to track the number of hits you receive on your site, and what articles are the most popular. Judging by the number of hits I received on “Forging Hall of Famers,” lots of people enjoyed seeing the fake autographs of Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewon, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. By popular demand, then, here are a few more forgeries of Babe Ruth, a combo ball of Willie McCovey and Hank Aaron, and Eddie Murray, all seized by the FBI during Operation Bullpen:

Babe Ruth Ball CloseupMcCovey ball

Eddie Murray combo signed

Written by Kevin Nelson

May 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Big Reaction to Operation Bullpen Excerpt in Autograph Magazine

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The April issue of Autograph Magazine carried an exclusive excerpt from Operation Bullpen, and it generated a big reaction from readers. Here is a brief sampling of what two people said:

“As a subscriber for a few years now, I found the article on Operation Bullpen outstanding…These ‘authenticators,’ who are mostly ‘opinionators,’ along with Auction LOAs, ineffective postal inspectors and the list goes on, send chills or should to everyone. Autograph should have a standing wall of shame.”—Dennis Bishop, via email

“The current issue of Autograph is excellent. Congratulations. You did incredible work in the right direction and I very much appreciate the quality of the articles, especially the Operation Bullpen case.”—Markus Brandes, Kesswil, Switzerland

The editor, Kimberly Cole, adds: “Thanks to all the readers who in praising the April issue. Operation Bullpen was a particular favorite. The author, Kevin Nelson is hard at work on a follow-up story for us.”

The working title of that piece is “Whistle Blowers: Passionate, Committed, and Out to Stop the Forgers.” I’ve now finished it, and it is scheduled to appear in Autograph in the July issue. Here is a Neil Armstrong forgery on stamps, provided to me by John Reznikoff, who is interviewed for the piece.

Neil Armstrong forged stamps

Written by Kevin Nelson

May 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Kevin Nelson Interview on ESPN

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KN on ESPN

I appeared on ESPN’s “The Hot List” in an interview about the Operation Bullpen scam. Watch it here.

Written by Kevin Nelson

May 18, 2009 at 6:02 pm

A Regular Joe

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Recently I heard from Travis Roste, who runs joeheavyweight.com, a boxing memorabilia website (“Boxing for the regular Joe,” as he calls it). Travis lives in Minnesota and although we’ve never met, I know he’s an upright guy because he actually asked for permission to post some passages from Operation Bullpen on his site, rather than just going ahead and doing it as many people would. Travis, who has a wife and two daughters, is a crusader against forgeries, but at the moment he has more immediate concerns, as his email explains:

“Hi Kevin. This is Travis. I found another fake Ali signed photo with Ali, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier in it, and I was wondering how many different pictures did Olson fake? [Note: John Olson was a big boxing and Ali forger who has since repented.] I have at least eleven different examples of photos with the Olson fake on it. Plus the Wepner-Ali photo that would make twelve. And I am sure there are more. olsons-ali-01
“I got laid off from my job a couple weeks ago. I was a shipping specialist for a company, so while looking for a new job, I am working on the website a lot too. I like to write a lot, and have some boxing columns on the website. I envy you a lot since writing is your business. What is it like? See you later, Travis.”

And this is what I said in reply:

“Travis, I’m sorry to hear about you being laid off. That’s pretty discouraging. I don’t think I’ve ever known a time where so many people I know are without work, including lots of writers. The writing biz is about as crappy as everything else at the moment. I have two book proposals sitting in the offices of New York publishers-and that’s what they’re doing: sitting. Anything having to do with the printed word is being hit hard and publishers do not appear to be buying much of anything from writers, as far as I can tell.
“The best thing about writing is that I get to do what I love and connect with people like you. Don’t get discouraged. Take care of those girls, and we’ll get more into those Ali fakes at a later date. Kevin.”

P.S. For anyone else caught in Travis’s situation, you may want to check out an article I wrote for and about unemployed fathers some years ago, during our last recession. It’s called “Coping at Home After Losing a Job,” and it’s the second article on the list at dadmag.com. Read it here.

Written by Kevin Nelson

April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm