Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sparky Anderson (1934-2010)

When I was young I remember owning this card and thinking - wow, that guy is really old to be wearing a baseball uniform.  Well, Sparky Anderson is now 76, and when I got his signature in the mail, I once again found myself thinking - wow, that guy is really old.  You can almost see his hands shaking as he signs his name (in black sharpie).  He did not include any additional personalization or inscription, just his written name.  I love the way the line goes up at the very end.

I am really glad "Sparky" was willing to sign for me.  I hope he enjoys signing his name for fans as much as we do getting those signatures from him.  I'm also really impressed with how fast he signs - granted, he only lives a few hours from Pasadena, but it only took 6 days from my mailbox to his, and back to my mailbox.

Update: Mr. Anderson passed away on November 4, 2010.  

Update 2: Here is a little twist on my Sparky Anderson autograph.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Failure #1: Bill Mazeroski

This was the first failed attempt at an autograph.  I received this letter in my mail box 13 days after it was originally sent.  Bill Mazeroski apparently does not accept fan mail at his address.  The envelope was unopened and marked RETURN TO SENDER.  I had heard that some people will return your SASE with a price list requesting that if you want an autograph, you need to pay.  Apparently "Maz" just isn't signing through the mail these days.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monte Irvin (1919-2016)

The ninth autograph in my collection, and the fourth to respond by mail, was Monte Irvin.  This was a significant signature for a number of reasons.  Mr. Irvin is the oldest living Hall of Famer who played in the Negro Leagues, so there is a historic significance to this signature.  Second, he was kind enough to sign (in blue sharpie) with both his induction year and uniform number (a nice touch).  He also added a return address label, so if you want to get in touch with him, click on the photo above.

This request was mailed out in the first wave of mailings I did back on July 1st.  The response arrived just twelve days later.

Update: Mr. Irvin passed away on January 11, 2016. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gaylord Perry

The final autograph I obtained at the Fan Festival was from Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry.  He signed in blue pen and included both a personalization as well as his induction year.  Mr. Perry seemed like a fascinating guy - he was willing to sign a tub of Vaseline (a reference to his alleged use of the substance to throw a form of spit ball), and signed a second autograph for my friend Sam who was in line for a different autograph at the same time.

Juan Marichal

The third autograph from the All Star Fan Festival was from Juan Marichal, who in addition to being one of the SLOWEST signers of the day, was unwilling to personalize the signature.  He did include his induction year, and signed in blue sharpie.

Dick Williams (1929-2011)

The second autograph we got from the All Star Fan Festival was from former player and manager, Dick Williams.  We actually got in line for his signing without really knowing much about him.  We were pleasantly surprised to find he had recently been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Mr. Williams was also willing to personalize the autograph to me, as well as including his induction year.

Update: Mr. Williams passed away in 2011.  

Harmon Killebrew (1936-2011)

I recently attended the MLB All Star Fan Festival, which is a pretty spectacular event for any baseball fan.  One of the coolest elements of this festival is that there are autograph stages set up around the exhibit halls.  The price of admission to the event allows you to obtain autographs from many current and former players - many of the latter who are Hall of Fame inductees (who often charge $25-100 at baseball card shows).

Harmon Killebrew was the first autograph I received, knocking another name off my list.  He was nice enough to personalize it and include his induction year.  Another benefit of this particular event is that an MLB authenticator was on hand to add a holographic sticker to the autograph, proving that the signature is real.

Update: Mr. Killebrew passed away on May 17, 2011.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bobby Doerr

Bobby Doerr's autograph arrived on the same day as Nolan Ryan and Duke Snider.  I'm not sure I'll ever get three in one day, but it was a pretty amazing feeling!  I assumed (incorrectly), that it would only be a matter of a few days before I had this quest completed!

Mr. Doerr sent back both my signed 3x5 card (in black pen), as well as an autographed postcard of his Hall of Fame plaque (in blue sharpie).  Both autographs included his induction year - which I've always thought was a nice touch (and something that neither Snider nor Ryan did).  Notice that he also added his own return address label to my SASE.  Click on the photo if you want his address.

I was especially pleased to receive this autograph because Doerr is the oldest living player who has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Nolan Ryan

Pitching great Nolan Ryan sent me a response on the same day that Duke Snider's response came back.  Mr. Ryan clearly gets a huge number of autograph requests, and so on this occasion rather than signing the 3x5 cardstock that I sent, he (or more likely, a member of his staff) returned a pre-signed photograph (in blue sharpie) as well as a pre-written form letter.

Duke Snider (1926-2011)

On the first of July, I sent out my first wave of autograph requests through the mail.  Former Dodger great, Duke Snider, was the first to respond.  He signed in blue sharpie on the 3x5 card I sent to him.  In this post, and in future posts, I'll be including the envelope that was returned so that you can see the postmark (if you're in to that kind of thing).

Update: Mr. Snider passed away on February 21, 2011.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bob Feller (1918-2010)

The first Hall of Famer in my autograph collection was Bob Feller.  I obtained this autograph at a Cleveland Indians spring training game.  Feller is a regular at spring games, sitting down the third base line, signing autographs (for a fee) all game long.

He signed this picture in black sharpie while he was eating a hot dog.  I was really happy to get this because Feller is my grandfather's favorite ballplayer.

Update: Mr. Feller passed away on December 15, 2010.  

About this blog

There are currently 67 living members of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.

This is a place where I can document my attempt to collect an autograph from every living Hall of Famer.  My goal is to collect these autographs either in person, or through the mail.  I have no current plans to buy autographs from a third party (ebay, card shops, etc) because I think it is more meaningful to obtain them personally - even if that means your collection may not have any official authentication.

Join me on my journey!