I started collecting baseball cards at a very young age. It runs in my family to “collect” things which is just a nice way of saying that we tend to lean on the hoarder side. I started realizing that just buying baseball cards and putting them in books was getting a little out of hand and less satisfying. I went on to only buying serial numbered and jersey cards. Again, I got bored from just purchasing these items and letting them collect dust.
What else could I do with my passion for baseball?
Thus began my obsession with baseball autograph collecting. I found the best sports autograph collecting site on the internet, signed up for their yearly subscription and I was off to the races. I now have a little over 500 baseball cards, 200 baseballs, 200 8×10’s signed and growing each year. How I’ve obtained them is a mix between through the mail, in person and very few purchased. The only reason I would buy an autograph is if it’s on something larger than an 8×10 or a bat.
The Tips and the Tricks
Sportscollectors.net has a forum I could talk to other autograph collectors about who they were sending to through the mail and what they were sending. I learned valuable tips such as if you are getting a glossy baseball card signed, always use an eraser on it beforehand so you get a clean signature. Sure it may hurt the value of the overall card but never in my life will I ever sell one of my autographs. I typically only get non glossy cards now to get signed unless there is a great rookie set that is glossy, then I’ll put in the work and get them prepped for signatures.
You always send a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) with your item and a letter. Other collectors felt it was important to hand write the letters. Personally I love to type so I typed mine but always personalized them to the player and included a picture of my family and I at a ball game on the page (and I’ve had great success).
Using the sites search option and up to date info from other collectors over the years, I have had great success just by looking at recent autographs coming in. You knew who was signing at that time and who wasn’t. I’d go on eBay, search for a card of the player who recently just signed for someone else, received the card within 2-3 days and turned it around to the player the next day.
eBay + Paypal = addiction enhanced
A few of the big names I’ve gotten due to patience and persistence through the mail are guys like Johnny Damon, Josh Hamilton, Curt Schilling and my all time favorite Evan Longoria. I became obsessed reading everything I could about the up and coming players who were going to be the next Alex Rodriguez so I could try and get their autographs before they become super stars.
If you put in a little bit of research and use sites such as Sportscollectors.net, you can easily build up a nice baseball autograph collection of your own.