I’ve talked before about how written “Thank You” notes are among my most prized possessions from my days with the Cubs.
I don’t know why. I’m guessing it’s because someone took the time out of their day to recognize that a human did something nice for them.
I’m also guessing it’s because my handwriting is horrific. As my wife has told me from time-to-time, I have the handwriting of a serial killer. That’s probably why I tape record my interview subjects – as there’s little chance I’d be able to read my own writing.
Unfortunately, I didn’t keep all of the “Thank You” notes in one place – which makes it difficult when you know you want to tell a little tale about this one letter in particular.
It took a while – as it was actually in a lock box – but I recently found it!
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One of these days, I’m going to write about my experiences with Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam – and the influence their music has had on me for 25 years.
This isn’t one of those days, exactly. This is the story of an Eddie-inspired action that led to my receiving one of the best “Thank You” notes I’ll ever be able to write about.
Back in the day, one of the great perks of working for the Cubs was getting to meet lots and lots of interesting people – especially in the entertainment industry. Perhaps you’ve heard that the Cubs are somewhat popular?!
Anyway, through a friend of a friend, I was fortunate enough to meet Eddie, spend quality time with him on multiple occasions, and see him and the band perform many times.
In my Media Relations career, I would send him media guides and Season in Review end-of-season booklets.
In the fall of 2001, Eddie asked if I could send him an extra Season in Review. He was going to be spending a lot of time in Los Angeles with a friend of his who was a huge baseball fan. Eddie went on-and-on about his friend, and said this guy would read it cover-to-cover and get a big kick out of receiving it.
I didn’t think anything of it. Of course, I sent the extra book to Mr. Vedder to give to his friend. Happy to do it!
Honestly, while I list Pearl Jam at the top of my personal “music influencers” chart, I didn’t really connect the dots as to who influenced my music influencers. Eddie had told me the name of his friend that he was hanging out with, but that was the guy’s pseudonym. I didn’t put two-and-two together and track down the real name.
So when I received a letter a few weeks later … with a baseball as a return address label … and a postmark of Hollywood, CA … I had no idea of what I was about to open.
The lightbulb didn’t go on for me when I read the name of the sender on the address label – John Cummings. I just figured it was a random note from a fan asking for something. I had no idea that was the real life name of the New York-born musician who was one of the great guitarists of all-time.
It wasn’t an “Ask” note. It was a “Thank You” note from a huge Yankees fan. And when I saw the signature at the end of the letter, the goose bumps raise on my arms the same way now as when I read it for the first time in 2001:
Thanks for the “Season in Review.” It was a very good season for the Cubs. The Yankees need to make some changes, increase their on-base percentage and slugging but I’m sure they will. Eddie is working on his autograph 8 x 10 Cubs collection, he has about 400 different Cubs players. If there is ever any “Ramones” items you need let me know I’d be happy to help out. Thank you again for thinking of me.
I don’t know what’s more awesome – that Johnny Ramone sent me a Thank You note or that THE Johnny Ramone actually thought about writing me a Thank You note. In any case, I’m so glad I have it.