First, congratulations to Bruce Sutter and the Negro players who are FINALLY getting the recognition they deserve. Because I did not get to a game this weekend I will share a few sentences about when I got a guaranteed future Hall of Famer’s autograph. I used to read ESPN the Magazine and right after Roger Clemens was traded from the Blue Jays to the Yankees he was on the cover. Because I hadnt gotten to read it prior to heading to the game I brought the issue with me. As amazing as it sounds Roger Clemens signed my magazine. Yeah, he signed it sideways. Players and coaches do that because they think it will keep dealers from selling the item. Maybe it’s just me but I’d take an autograph going sideways, vertical or horizontal equally. So back to what I was saying at least for a few days I believe I had a one-of-a-kind Roger Clemens signed item.
Sometimes there are players that you don’t have a card of. For example, until recently it was very hard to find a card of Uggla of the Marlins and Mike Napoli of the Angels still has almost no cards. And then there are times when a former player that you weren’t expecting to see is at the game. Yes, most of the time they are announcers or work in the front office for the team but during spring training you never know who’s going to show up. That is why index cards are very important to have a few of. Years ago I got an Alfonso Soriano autograph on one, long before he was ever known and he was still with the Yankees. There are also sometimes cards for baseball players that are not baseball cards. We all know that Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were two-sport athletes but there are some lesser-known ones. For example, I got a basketball card of the now Dodger and former Devil Ray pitcher Mark Hedrickson. If you get a non-baseball card signed it increases the story behind it.
I’m out of town until Sunday so good luck to all who read this.
So after reading mlblogs for a long time and seeing how EVERYTHING on the baseball fan’s experience is covered but the reason I go to games this is the blog to fix that. This blog will cover how to get autographs. First, I almost always do only cards. I do have a signed Al Kaline ball but that was just by luck. I feel that while it is harder to make sure that you are handing the right player the right card especially if it’s someone like Brian Shouse (no offense) and you cannot get autographs over the dugout it is much more personal and you actually do know who’s autograph you got. Most athletes, famous or not, have signatures that are impossible to read. With a card you know who’s autograph you got if you look back months later.
In the past year I’ve gotten over 450 autographs and average at least 10 a game though Tuesday’s game was really bad. I go to Devil Rays games and the ballpark is usually very good but when we played the Angels, I only got 2. Only three Angels signed- Bendan Donnelly, Rex Hudler, and Tommy Murphy. I missed Brendan by one moment because having not been in the park for a month I turned the wrong way initially once I got past the gate. Although I called Rex over he didn’t come over until I had switched to the first base side. And I had used my Tommy Murphy card the last time the Halos were in town. So in the end I only got the Rays pitcher Edwin Jackson and the coach Mike Butcher. Now, for each post I will try to tell a story. Here’s today’s story. When I asked Mike if he’d sign he said he would but really didnt want to. I told him he could be like others and just not sign then. He said “No, it’s okay. Just give me the card”.
Because I won’t be at a game until next Tuesday- the Tigers, I will be giving some details on my collection the next few days and pointers on how to get ‘graphs.
Finally, if you would like to know how to get ‘graphs or more than you do normally at whatever ballpark you use leave a comment link of detailed pics of how the field runs into the stands. In other words, how high is the infield fence, where is the dugout and bullpen, and any webbings that exist. By the way, if you act like you belong in a section when the ushers are looking you will usually be safe.