Autograph Q & A

8 11 2011

Chris over at Nachos Grande had an interesting post today – he’s doing an autograph theme week, and kicked off the week with a questionnaire (that is always one of the hardest words for me to spell, by the way).  I thought this would be fun to do – here’s the questions, and my answers:

1.  What is the best autograph you own?

I have quite a few – and a lot of them aren’t on cards.  In fact, most of my very best ones actually aren’t cards.  My #1 is pretty easy, though.  I have a 1975 Cincinnati Reds pennant that I got signed by the starting 8 from the Big Red Machine.

2.  What is the best autograph that you’ve ever pulled from a pack of cards?

I’ve pulled a Jeter auto #’d to 5 out of 2008 Heroes, and a Prince Fielder SPX signed rookie card.  But hands down, nothing beats pulling a rare card of your favorite player.  In 1997, I had basically been done collecting for the past year – except I still collected Upper Deck SP.  In the lone box I bought, I pulled a buyback of Ken Griffey Jr.  It was from the year before – his ’96 SP card, and was #’d out of 312.  That was the highest print run of his many buyback autos, but that is still my favorite card I’ve ever pulled.

1997 SP 96 Buyback Griffey Jr

3.  What is the worst autograph you’ve ever pulled from a pack of cards?

We used to buy Signature Rookies when it first came out, we bought some of those packs, so I’m sure it’s somewhere from there.

4.  Do you try to get autographs through the mail?  If so, what sort of success (or failure) stories do you have?

In general, no, but I do have a good story from when I was younger.  First, my brother and I sent something to Nolan Ryan when he was pitching for the Rangers and got a picture back with a facsimile auto.  I also sent something in to Sam Wyche when he was the coach of the Bengals when I was probably 9 or 10, and he sent back a signed photo.

Sam lived in my hometown – his daughter graduated from the same high school as me, about 6 years earlier. Anyways, a few months later, he spoke in the gym at the local high school and there was a line to get his autograph.  I waited in line just to say thanks for sending one back to me earlier, and he said “thanks, what’s your name”.  Twenty minutes later, in the middle of his talk, he called me up out of the crowd and used me as a prop for his motivational speech.  He dressed me up in NFL-sized pads and pants, which was pretty funny, but for a 9-year old, it was the highlight of my young life.  He came to the high school basketball games every now and then, and I remember going up to him and saying “remember when you dressed me up like a football player” – and he said “yeah – you’re pretty famous for that”.  On a day when we were reminded that some football coaches can be the worst monsters in society – it’s good to remember that there are and were coaches like Sam Wyche.  He’s one of the good guys.

5.  Who was the subject of your first ever autograph?

Whitey Ford – I went to an autograph show with my dad and I got his 1962 Topps card autographed.  I wish I knew where that was.

6.  Do you actively collect any autographs (certain players, teams, brands, etc)?

I’d say I have a “passive” attempt to get an auto on a Rawlings Major League baseball of anyone who’s had 3,000 hits, 500 homers.  My favorite one is of Willie Mays.  I got his auto in Cooperstown a few years ago, and he was very friendly.

7.  Which is better:  Autographs or Relics?

I’ll go with the majority here (Autos) – but here’s my logic.  You know (ok, you can be reasonably sure) that an autograph is the player depicted.  But the way they word the relics – you could have a Babe Ruth relic that was worn by Phil Hughes.

8.  What do you think of cut autos?

Like almost anything, I think they’re pretty good if the design is good; it’s a way for the card company to be creative.  I’d prefer it not to be of someone who’s alive, or at least not of someone who signs a lot.

9.  What is your favorite autograph design (say in the last 5 years)?

This one.  It’s basically because I like the set so much, but this card in particular just goes really well with the signature.

That said – would anything possibly beat getting this card?

10.  If you could get the autograph of any five people (dead or alive) who would you want a signature from (and why)?

Charles Barkley and Hulk Hogan because they’re awesome.  Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, because that’s actually a combo that would beat the Gehrig/Ripken one above.  And add to that Griffey – he’s my favorite player, so he’d have to be on the list.

Also, I’ve always thought it’d be cool to have a baseball signed by an “All-Time Team” – having the foresight to get the player you think is the best all-time at each position.  For me that would go, in chronological order (particular apologies to Ty Cobb and Ted Williams):

SS – Honus Wagner

P – Walter Johnson

RF – Babe Ruth

1B – Lou Gehrig

CF – Willie Mays

2B – Joe Morgan

C – Johnny Bench

3B – Mike Schmidt

LF – Barry Bonds

That would be a heck of a baseball!

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