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View Full Version : What baseball autographs could be considered uncommon


markf31
07-03-2012, 08:14 AM
As we all know, many of the still living HOFers sign autographs like they're going out of style, and many of the recently deceased signed in a similar manor as well when they were still alive. My question then is, in your opinion, what HOFers really limited their signing sessions and autographs and as a result their signatures are more uncommon and rare? There are the obvious pre-war players such as Wagner, Cobb, Mathewson, etc… But I’m thinking more along the lines of players from the 1940s to today. Thoughts?

I know Sandy Koufax rarely does signings, one of the reasons his autograph is valuable compared to other pitchers of his day.

bender07
07-03-2012, 09:29 AM
Any HOFer starting their career since the 30's has a pretty common signature (Clemente being the obvious exemption). As you mentioned Koufax's popularity and lack of signing events make him more expensive but he's still very common. Mays and Aaron command high prices but are readily available.

The uncommon HOF autographs come from some of those starting their careers in the 1800's and passing by the 1930's and those from the negro leagues that weren't inducted until recently.

Lordstan
07-03-2012, 10:04 AM
Mark,
I guess part of the answer is what do you consider uncommon?
To echo Mark's comments, there are very few HOFers that started since the 40's that would really be considered uncommon. The exceptions would be the guy who died at a young age, like Jackie Robinson. Also someone like Campanella, who was unable to sign the amount he likely would've had he not been in the accident.
Most of the HOFers we see today have signed truckloads of autographs. Currently, there are 654 Sandy Koufax autographed items listed on ebay. Now I'm not saying they are all real, but even if only half are real, that still isn't what I would call uncommon.

Best,
Mark

Hey that's three Marks in a row. Is that a record?

Lordstan
07-03-2012, 10:11 AM
Wait,
I take back the part about Jackie Robinson.
There are currently 78 Jackie Robinson autographed items on ebay. Most are certed by someone. Not exactly uncommon!
There are 40 pre stroke Campanella items. More uncommon than Robinson!

HexsHeroes
07-03-2012, 01:23 PM
.


. . . but I'll go ahead and venture the name Nellie Fox for marginal consideraton. Major league playing career started in late 1940's, died in mid-1970's.

travrosty
07-03-2012, 03:17 PM
if the player died before the mid 80's, their signature will be a lot less common than if they lived later than that, because their participation in the autograph show boom would be more limited.

maris just missed out, only doing 1 or 2 shows or private signings. so obviously robinson, clemente, even greenberg, less autographs than if they would have lived to late 80's when it really took off like gangbusters.

packs
07-03-2012, 03:21 PM
Not going to find too many Grover Cleveland Alexanders around. Even less with him on the sweetspot.


http://s107.photobucket.com/albums/m294/madjams/GLAlexander.jpg

HOF Auto Rookies
07-03-2012, 03:42 PM
Not going to find too many Grover Cleveland Alexanders around. Even less with him on the sweetspot.


http://s107.photobucket.com/albums/m294/madjams/GLAlexander.jpg

WOW!!! Is that yours Frank? If so, what's the story behind it

mr2686
07-03-2012, 04:46 PM
I'll add Red Faber. He died in 1976 but was in bad health since the mid to late 60's so his wife signed almost all of his stuff during that time. At any given time, you can find about 13 Fabers on Ebay and most times it breaks down to about 4 Fabers and 9 of his wife's. Right now is a rare time as I just looked and saw about 9 actual Fabers and about 2 of his wife. I've actually seen one "major" dealer and one of TPA's authenticate his wife sig, and that's really funny since the TPA wrote a really great article on what to look for on both Faber's and his wife's sig. :eek:

packs
07-03-2012, 04:56 PM
Hey Brent. I bought the Alexander ball from an old woman on eBay. There was no photo on her auction and the buy it now was $80. The ball was advertised as being signed by a GL Alexander. I figured I'd take a chance. What a chance to take!

The story she gave me is that she attended a House of David game in Colorado in the early 1930s. While she was there with her father she got a few players signatures. Alexander is on the sweetspot and on a side panel is Babe Didrickson Zaharias, who I believe played with the team only briefly.

The ball is 80 something years old and has had exactly 2 owners. It is in incredible condition.

MacDice
07-03-2012, 05:22 PM
I have an unsigned baseball card of Bob Feller which is considered to be pretty uncommon.

Lordstan
07-03-2012, 05:33 PM
All good points.
I think Nellie fox is probably the best example of the rarity trifecta.
1) Dies young
2) Dies prior to autograph show boom.
3) Inducted to HOF way after death.

Despite all that there are still 70 Fox's listed on ebay as I write this. I think the ebay effect really has changed our perspective on who is a difficult autograph and who isn't. Greenberg, even with him dying before the show boom, still has 170 current ebay autograph listings.

That is a great Alexander Ball. Congrats.

MooseDog
07-04-2012, 12:19 AM
It was not uncommon for autograph collectors in the pre-show signing days to send a player 3-5 items to sign and would get them all back signed. Despite his untimely death, Nellie Fox is by no means hard to find, and neither is Greenberg. Both were quite accommodating signers.

Uncommon would be ones that maybe weren't as popular, or that were elected to the HOF long after their passing.

The other problem is that there were at least two major forgers at work long before the Operation Bullpen gang, the passed a lot of bad stuff into the hobby, many extremely rare names like Keeler, Rabourne, etc.

Exhibitman
07-04-2012, 07:42 AM
I agree that a guy who was around for decades post-WWII can't really be considered a tough signature, except perhaps for the occasional d**k who won't sign [like Neil Armstrong or Mike Marshall] or a few foreign players who disappeared back to South America when their careers ended. What's more challenging with postwar HOFers is trying to find specific items signed by them. I wanted a Satchel Paige for a long time but only on a card signed during his career. I finally got one this year:

http://photos.imageevent.com/exhibitman/miscellaneous3/2012%2004%2005%20Lipset%201.jpg

A Groucho autograph can be had readily but try finding one on a Bowman card:

http://photos.imageevent.com/exhibitman/collectorshowcase/large/1953%20Bowman%20Marx%20autographed.jpg

JimStinson
07-04-2012, 09:23 AM
I agree with almost all of the above, any player that died prior to the 1980's card show BOOM's autograph would be considered kinda uncommon. However even Nellie Fox , Satchel Paige etc are are tough sells and don;t command much on the autograph market. Clemente of course does but I think this has to do more with demand than rarity as he was a pretty good signer. Jackie Robinson same, but the market was flooded with hundreds maybe even thousands of signed Jackie checks so it was almost like he did a couple card shows anyway.
So the post war toughies then become the umps and executives that typically were never asked to sign autographs. Then work your way back from there using the date of death as an indicator from fairly common to , mid range , tough and impossible. Of all of the Hall of Famers many of those fall into the catagory of "no known examples" of their signatures have ever been offered to "less than a handful" exist , the production of many of the all time toughies like Addie Joss, Tim Keefe, Mike Kelly, Buck Ewing etc etc has created a false sense that there are more of their autographs in existence than there really are.
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7nohitter
07-04-2012, 09:34 AM
Addie Joss

jdmeltz
07-04-2012, 12:04 PM
Billy Southworth, managed through the early 50's, died in 1969, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. You can find his signature, but it will cost you.

travrosty
07-04-2012, 12:42 PM
eddie gaedel is hard to find for non hall of fame but notable for the situation he was in.

Mr. Zipper
07-04-2012, 01:03 PM
I agree that a guy who was around for decades post-WWII can't really be considered a tough signature, except perhaps for the occasional d**k who won't sign [like Neil Armstrong or Mike Marshall]

This isn't fair to Armstrong, who signed freely through the mail from 1960 through 1994. After almost 35 years, signing tens of thousands of autographs, and then realizing he was being scammed by dealers, he said, "enough." (people would send in requests such as, "I am a teacher... Can you send 25 signed photos for my students?" which he obliged for years until he realized it was often a ruse and they were being sold by dealers.) Can you blame him for quitting?

Armstrong is quite common and in good supply... Even so, demand is much higher because it is true global demand.

packs
07-04-2012, 03:02 PM
I will never understand why someone would care that people are selling their signature. Neil got to walk on the moon. That would be enough for some people.

3and2
07-04-2012, 03:50 PM
Collecting autographs from World Series teams are popular. Every team has guys that played marginally and are very difficult to find/collect.

For example, I'm a huge Mets fan. I have a team signed photo of the entire 1986 team minus reliever Randy Myers. Every time I look at the photo my eyes go right to him and I cringe. I'd probably pay a 100 bucks for him to sign it. Problem is he never signs at shows. If anyone knows of him signing somewhere please let me know. I've been scouring the Internet for 2 years now.

JimStinson
07-04-2012, 03:51 PM
Walk on the moon ? When did that happen ? Neil Armstrong ? isn't that the guy that was in that simulated lunar landing film they shot in Hollywood back in 1969 ?:)

earlywynnfan
07-04-2012, 04:05 PM
I will never understand why someone would care that people are selling their signature. Neil got to walk on the moon. That would be enough for some people.

So you're saying he should spend, what, an hour, two hours, five hours a day opening packages, signing his name, packaging back up, and mailing all this stuff so it can go to someone who ebays it and makes a pile of money?? This is how a man in his 80's should spend his life? "He walked on the moon 40 years ago, so he should gladly be in the public's debt for the rest of his life."

Ken
earlywynnfan5@hotmail.com

packs
07-04-2012, 04:13 PM
Who said anything about signing autographs full time. I'm talking about the sentiment behind not signing autographs because you think people will sell them. So what if they do? Why does that matter to you? Sign an autograph when you have time, don't worry about what happens to it after.

prewarsports
07-04-2012, 04:20 PM
I agree on Armstrong. I think I would get pretty sick of it too. I think I would sign freely but insist on personalizing them so they would be tougher sells or something to the dealer to discourage anyone from asking for pure monetary gain.

Mr. Zipper
07-04-2012, 05:06 PM
Who said anything about signing autographs full time. I'm talking about the sentiment behind not signing autographs because you think people will sell them. So what if they do? Why does that matter to you? Sign an autograph when you have time, don't worry about what happens to it after.

I think you may be underestimating the amount of requests he would get. Hundreds per week. Maybe more at times. It must have been a part time job just signing and returning items.

And then he learns many of them are insincere requests from people lying in attempts to get more, more, more.

Greed killed the goose laying the golden egg.

The man served in combat and then went on to risk his life for anther 15 years in service to his country. And he probably earned in his life less than what Derek Jeter earns in one season.

I think he's earned the right to enjoy his life doing what he wants without dealing with mountains of fan mail from strangers, many of whom are just looking to make a quick buck.

travrosty
07-04-2012, 05:27 PM
he could make a ton of dough by just setting up his own web site and selling like brett favre does, so i dont think not making jeter type money is part of the equation.

he wants to be known as one of those difficult signers. he doesnt have to sign through the mail, but to refuse on the street, i dont get it. muhammad ali doesnt have that problem.

The speaker of the house of the united states asked armstrong for his autograph, and he turned her down. hardly seems like a scam attempt.

He wants to be known as a difficult signer. It gives him a sense of power, like it does mike marshall, and like it did bill russell. russell eventually gave in when enough money was involved.

If armstrong is concerned about unscrupulous people making money off of his autograph, the solution is to sign more, not less. the more things are worth, the more they are forged.

drc
07-04-2012, 05:31 PM
From what I read, Armstrong both didn't like seeing his autograph selling for so much on the secondary market (him signing for someone else's profit and the money as motive that sickens many people about the hobby) and all the forgeries-- so he quit the whole process. At least that's what I read.

If he doesn't want to sign, that's his choice and fine by me. We live a free country.

David Atkatz
07-04-2012, 05:34 PM
Armstrong doesn't owe anyone anything. It should be up to him whether he signs or not.

Ballplayers (and all other entertainers), on the other hand, do owe the fans--the ones who pay their outlandish salaries, and make it possible for them to become ungodly rich while playing a child's game.

MacDice
07-04-2012, 05:54 PM
Collecting autographs from World Series teams are popular. Every team has guys that played marginally and are very difficult to find/collect.

For example, I'm a huge Mets fan. I have a team signed photo of the entire 1986 team minus reliever Randy Myers. Every time I look at the photo my eyes go right to him and I cringe. I'd probably pay a 100 bucks for him to sign it. Problem is he never signs at shows. If anyone knows of him signing somewhere please let me know. I've been scouring the Internet for 2 years now.

Randy for a long time was coaching women's basketball at Clark College in Vancouver, WA. In the past he was very active in fundraising, you might try and contact the school and see if for a donation they could help you acquire his signature. Or he also has a foundation http://www.todayfoundation.com/

Mr. Zipper
07-04-2012, 06:51 PM
he could make a ton of dough by just setting up his own web site and selling like brett favre does, so i dont think not making jeter type money is part of the equation.

he wants to be known as one of those difficult signers. he doesnt have to sign through the mail, but to refuse on the street, i dont get it. muhammad ali doesnt have that problem.

The speaker of the house of the united states asked armstrong for his autograph, and he turned her down. hardly seems like a scam attempt.

He wants to be known as a difficult signer. It gives him a sense of power, like it does mike marshall, and like it did bill russell. russell eventually gave in when enough money was involved.

If armstrong is concerned about unscrupulous people making money off of his autograph, the solution is to sign more, not less. the more things are worth, the more they are forged.

I completely disagree. If he wanted to be known as a difficult signer, why sign for over 35 years?

Read his authorized biography. He has a very structured way of looking at things. If he says no to Joe Blow, he says no to the speaker of the house. It's that simple. He's happy to shake your hand or pose for a photo like you are old pals... but no autographs.

When Apollo 11 returned, Charles Lindbergh imparted one bit of advice on the crew -- don't answer autograph requests because they will want more and more and it will never end. Collins listened, Armstrong and Aldrin did not.

Unlike Armstrong, Aldrin embraced fame and commercial opportunity.

Exhibitman
07-04-2012, 07:25 PM
Several of the astronauts have commercial sites where you can pay for an autograph. If Armstrong doesn't like his signature sold by third parties, join the others and cut out the middleman. Give the proceeds to a pet charity if the filthy lucre aspect is repulsive. It just seems a shame to waste all of that potential good.

travrosty
07-04-2012, 07:53 PM
exactly, he could have priced it at a point where it is affordable to the serious collector, and he wouldnt look like a jerk, he could make a bunch of money to do with what he wants, and a fullfillment company could ship out the orders for him. he takes as much time saying no than just signing. he gets satisfaction from saying no and exerting that type of power, like mike marshall.

he could have flooded the market by now easily and the demand would subside, all he had to do is pick a price point that collectors would buy, but the people looking for a freebie couldnt get one without ponying up. then nobody can complain that they are out of reach financially. say 250 per photograph, he could have signed 500,000 by now easily and dont sign through the mail, just refuse the stuff sent to him and point to his website.

Then he wouldnt look like a jerk, and collectors could get his autograph and everybody would be happy. by rigidly not signing, demand has only increased, and people bugging him for his autograph has only increased. he made it worse.

he has been offered 1 million dollars to sign stuff, even 2 million. but once he signs even a few, then he blows his so called "principled stance" that he adopted many years ago and he is afraid people will see him as a sell out. in reality people dont care. bill russell did the same thing, then ended up signing everything that isnt nailed down and took the money, and people don't care. they just want his signature.

muhammad ali is as well known world wide and he didnt have a problem signing for kings or vagrants and sign for money. he accomodated the collector, the fan and i dont see how Ali got bugged any less for his signature than Armstrong. If you want to stop the opportunists, sign a lot.

collectbaseball
07-06-2012, 02:18 AM
Armstrong doesn't owe anyone anything. It should be up to him whether he signs or not.

Ballplayers (and all other entertainers), on the other hand, do owe the fans--the ones who pay their outlandish salaries, and make it possible for them to become ungodly rich while playing a child's game.

I honestly don't think anybody owes anybody anything... if a guy doesn't want to sign, he doesn't want to sign.

But, just for the record, it's not like Armstrong's salary wasn't financed by you or people like you (not to mention cost of developing the technologies that enabled him to do what he did).

David Atkatz
07-06-2012, 02:53 AM
And just what do you think Armstrong's salary was? Look it up sometime.
Jeter wouldn't give you the time of day for what Armstrong was making.

HOFAUTOS
07-06-2012, 06:54 AM
Jeter signs in person for free a lot more then people may think. I've seen him sign before games inside the stadium, and he even signs if he's out walking on the street. There's a lot of in person successes with Jeter on a sports autograph website I'm on as well. He will rarely sign on the sweet spot and will usually give a rushed signature, but it's still a Jeter autograph.

Now if you're a single gorgeous lady and are lucky enough to make it home with him for the night, he will send you off with some signed memorabilia - according to a NY Times article :p

Mr. Zipper
07-06-2012, 07:22 AM
I honestly don't think anybody owes anybody anything... if a guy doesn't want to sign, he doesn't want to sign.

But, just for the record, it's not like Armstrong's salary wasn't financed by you or people like you (not to mention cost of developing the technologies that enabled him to do what he did).

His salary was a pittance and for that he risked his life, didn't see his family grow up and went on countless PR tours for NASA. When does his obligation end?

I've seen the "we paid his salary" argument before and respond, we paid schoolteachers salaries too... 40 years after they retire, can I ask them to come over and rake my lawn because "I paid their salary." :D

packs
07-06-2012, 06:23 PM
It has nothing to do with owing people anything. That's a bad argument. The argument is if you have time, why can't you sign an autograph? No one's saying anyone has to go out of their way out of obligation. But it seems rude, obnoxious, and even insulting that a guy who has time for an autograph would say no just because "that's what he does." Or, "he's signed enough." Give me a break. That is some self-righteous garbage.

mark evans
07-06-2012, 07:09 PM
I don't believe anyone has a duty to sign autographs.

collectbaseball
07-06-2012, 08:41 PM
His salary was a pittance and for that he risked his life, didn't see his family grow up and went on countless PR tours for NASA. When does his obligation end?

I've seen the "we paid his salary" argument before and respond, we paid schoolteachers salaries too... 40 years after they retire, can I ask them to come over and rake my lawn because "I paid their salary." :D

I totally agree—just thought that it was silly to use the 'we pay his salary, thus he owes us something' argument to apply to athletes/entertainers but not to astronauts. Mike Marshall's salary was 'paid for' pretty darn near 40 years ago, but that doesn't stop people today from saying he's a dick for not signing for his fans.

It's cool with me if someone doesn't want to sign autographs, for whatever reason—but they probably should be polite about declining. I don't think it's exactly healthy to feel entitled to someone's autograph. Heck, if I were famous I'd probably just go Pynchon on everybody.

JimStinson
07-06-2012, 08:50 PM
Mike G. Marshall was probably the most polite autograph "decliner" in history ! compared to HEROS like Munson who actually pushed kids to the ground or shoved them out of his way, Leon Wagner actually told me to go "F" off when I was 10 years old. Come on man ! Nobody is obligated to sign anything ....its a favor

Mr. Zipper
07-06-2012, 09:26 PM
Mike G. Marshall was probably the most polite autograph "decliner" in history ! compared to HEROS like Munson who actually pushed kids to the ground or shoved them out of his way, Leon Wagner actually told me to go "F" off when I was 10 years old. Come on man ! Nobody is obligated to sign anything ....its a favor

As a Yankee fan, the Munson worship even makes me scratch my head a bit. Everything I've ever read indicated he was a real SOB to everyone except the teammates he liked.

Maybe when someone dies young we tend to romanticize and turn a blind eye to negatives.

packs
07-06-2012, 09:59 PM
It's all about the fans. Fans pay to see the games. Fans live and die with the team. Fans make everything these guys seem to take for granted possible. That favor needs to be returned. Everyone has time to sign their name. Even if it's just one.

thecatspajamas
07-06-2012, 11:34 PM
It has nothing to do with owing people anything. That's a bad argument. The argument is if you have time, why can't you sign an autograph? No one's saying anyone has to go out of their way out of obligation. But it seems rude, obnoxious, and even insulting that a guy who has time for an autograph would say no just because "that's what he does." Or, "he's signed enough." Give me a break. That is some self-righteous garbage.

I think you are seriously trivializing what a chore autograph signing can be for high-profile figures and celebrities, especially world-renowned individuals like Armstrong whose popularity extends across several areas of collecting and fandom. We're not talking about someone who played a couple of games in the majors and is just glad that someone remembers him. Armstrong is literally in the history books that every gradeschool kid grows up studying from.

It would never be "an" autograph request.

Gary Dunaier
07-07-2012, 01:16 AM
Mike G. Marshall was probably the most polite autograph "decliner" in history ! compared to HEROS like Munson who actually pushed kids to the ground or shoved them out of his way

Am I correct in my understanding that Marshall's reason for not signing autographs was because he didn't believe in hero worship, or that professional athletes weren't "heroes," and he felt autographs fed into that?

JimStinson
07-07-2012, 02:23 PM
Yes Gary thats what he said , Also looks at autograph collecting as sort of silly, which is maybe what some people would say about his pitching techniques :)
He has said that if kids want to have heros they should be their mother or father or school teacher. Not some guy that can throw or hit a baseball better than anyone else.
And actually he's a nice guy and enjoys talking about baseball and unlike many contemporary ball players knows alot about the history of the game. I first met him back in 1990 in the Florida Senior league. He eventually did a private signing with Bill Corcoran and I but it took me 10 years to talk him into it. And even then said that he did it in the hopes that collectors would stop asking him for autographs.
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Vintage autographs for sale daily
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mark evans
07-08-2012, 08:52 PM
I don't believe anyone has a duty to sign autographs.

It follows, by my way of thinking, that one who declines to sign does not owe anyone an explanation. Of course, no one has a right to be rude, either.

MooseDog
07-08-2012, 09:08 PM
I spent a lot of years chasing autographs in person, I was respectful and polite at all times, if someone said no, I left it at that.

Into the mid-1980s and beyond more people started going to spring training, more people stalked the hotels and airports and a small number became VERY aggressive (often kids who "worked" for adult "dealers"). I saw some really bad form, such as knocking on hotel room doors, interrupting meals, and even yelling at players for not signing. It's that minority that killed it for everyone else.

Scott Garner
07-08-2012, 09:43 PM
i spent a lot of years chasing autographs in person, i was respectful and polite at all times, if someone said no, i left it at that.

Into the mid-1980s and beyond more people started going to spring training, more people stalked the hotels and airports and a small number became very aggressive (often kids who "worked" for adult "dealers"). I saw some really bad form, such as knocking on hotel room doors, interrupting meals, and even yelling at players for not signing. It's that minority that killed it for everyone else.

+100