Some might say Mortimer S. Nerd alert…but not me.
A fan here named Scott Mortimer has his own pursuit, with July 31 as the date to watch. That is when the Class AA Erie Seawolves come to Manchester to play the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The hitting coach for Erie is Jerry Martin, a former outfielder who hit .251 for five teams from 1974 to 1984. Scott Mortimer needs him.
Mortimer, 41, is a stay-at-home father on a worldwide baseball scavenger hunt. He is trying to get autographs on all 660 cards in the 1983 Fleer baseball card set. After six years of trying, he is down to his final 99. One of the blank cards is Martin’s.
“I don’t know what kind of person Jerry Martin is, if he’d be willing to sign the card, if he would even pop out of the dugout before the umpires come out,” Mortimer said at his home last Sunday. “But that’s part of the excitement.”
Mortimer calls it the 83F Project and runs a blog with images of the autographs. He is part of a tribe of collectors who put their twist on a child’s hobby, mining a subset of the industry for fun, not profit. He trades with other collectors pursuing their own autographed sets, and has friends in other countries — scouts, in a way — who keep a lookout for his targets.