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SetBuilder
06-24-2012, 01:38 PM
I wanted to share a method for obtaining autographs that I used as a kid.

I used to own a dozen albums stuffed with modern cards throughout my childhood and my biggest fantasy was getting them autographed. At first, I would prepare a small bundle of cards to take to the games I attended at the stadium. If it was the Marlins vs. Braves, I would take as many cards of each player on the ATL and FLA roster that I could find and wait before and after the game for autographs. This rarely worked and it was pretty discouraging.

Then I uncovered a website (I don't recall the URL) that outlined a process of getting autographs by mail. It listed the address of each player and the likelihood that each player was going to respond to the request. For example, Barry Bonds had one of the worst ratings, as he would never respond to auto requests. On the other hand, a player like C.J. Nitkowski had one of the highest ratings as he would always respond to autograph requests. In fact, Nitkowski kept a blog to interact with fans.

I started by gathering cards of players that would likely respond to the requests. The players that I can remember off the top of my head that I sent letters to were: A.J. Burnett, Mark Mulder, Mark Kotsay, Mike Mussina, and others. The process was simple. I would write a hand written letter introducing myself and include a postage paid evelope addressed back to me. The requests would take anywhere from 1 week, to 6 months. At one point, I sent off about 50 different requests and I would have a blast keeping track of their status. Checking the mailbox everyday after school was like Christmas.

A few months into this hobby, I found a book on Amazon that listed players' home addresses. I then sent off another round of requests to retired players, like Enos Slaughter, who signed a card I sent him with a small thank you note.

These are great memories of mine.

Did anyone do this as a kid?

mighty bombjack
06-24-2012, 10:34 PM
As a kid? This part of the hobby is alive and well. I collect HOF autographs, and I got the two of the last inductees by sending them requests TTM (through the mail). I sent Barry Larkin his 1987 Topps and Donruss cards at MLB Network when he worked there a couple of years ago. I included a letter saying that I collect HOFers and that I was sure he was going to go in, along with a SASE. I got both cards back about two weeks later.

Right after Pat Gillick was announced as a 2011 inductee, I did an Internet search and found his home address. I sent him a gov't postcard with my address on it, as well as a letter congratulating him. Got the signed postcard back in like 10 days.

Want a trip down memory lane? Search for the numerous TTM sites around and get back at it!

vintagechris
06-25-2012, 09:32 AM
I did this in the early 80's. Bought Smalling's list to test it out. The first three I sent to were Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Pete Rose. After weeks and then months passing and not getting any back, I decided not to send any more out.

Then after 6 months from sending the original ones out, I got Ted Williams back. I was pretty pumped. Then started sending more requests out. Never did get that Rose or Mantle back.

Jayworld
06-25-2012, 10:15 AM
I used to do this, also, as a kid. Back then, I would send a card to the player/manager in care of the team. I began sending a SASE with my request after receiving my signed Bill Virdon (Astros manager) back with a kind, short note from him with the tip that I would have better luck by sending a SASE With future requests. Prior to that, I received Don Money, Mike Schmidt, Bill Virdon, Dave Winfield, Dave Chalk, Johnny Bench, etc. all without sending SASEs. Often times, I would also receive a team-issued card or postcard signed as well, or in the case of Bench, a Reds logo decal.

I still send a few (2-3) a year; most recently Jim Sundberg (to his address in Arlington) and an old (pre-1976) NL Spalding ball to Randy Jones through his BBQ website contact information. He was kind enough to reply and follow-up via email.

I recommend the website Star Tiger to obtain addresses and see the validity of addresses posted. The fee to join is nominal.