Saturday, September 25, 2010

Update

I go back and forth about whether to count Hank Aaron as a "successful" autograph.  I think I've decided to take his name off my list of completed autographs, dropping the number to 13.  I've updated the last update to reflect the new numbers.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update

I thought it might be time to update the status of my quest to obtain an autograph from all sixty-seven living Hall of Famers.  Here is how the collection currently stands...


13 autographs from living Hall of Famers

7 unsuccessful returns (including 3 "return to sender") (note: this includes a copied Hank Aaron)

24 requests still waiting for a return (including an e-mail to a politician's website)

12 not mailed because they are known to charge for an autograph

3 players with no known address (Kiner, McCovey, F. Robinson)

3 players who are known to not sign through the mail (Yastrzemski, Brett, Ripken)

5 players to whom I have not yet sent a request

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#7: Doug Harvey


I was extremely happy to see a letter in my mailbox today from Doug Harvey.  Mr. Harvey is a former MLB umpire as well as a member of the most recent induction class as you can see from his signature.  He signed the 3x5 cardstock I sent him in standard blue pen.  He was nice enough to include his induction year as well.

Harvey apparently earned the nickname of "God" for his authoritative command of the baseball rulebook.  Not a bad moniker for an umpire!

Harvey is the first MLB umpire in my collection and is in fact the ONLY living Hall of Fame umpire.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Non-HoF Autographs: Jim Bouton


Today i attended a celebration of forty years since the release of Jim Bouton's controversial book, "Ball Four.  Mr. Bouton is far from a Hall of Famer, but he has been inducted in to the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals (an incredible organization).  His contribution to the sport is in publishing "Ball Four", a book which rocked the sporting world upon its release.

I have a copy of "Ball Four", but it is in storage somewhere on the east coast, so I quickly ordered a used copy of the follow up book, "I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally", and took it along today to get signed.

You can see a more thorough review of the day's events at my other blog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Potential Hall of Famers

In my recent post regarding Vladimir Guerrero, I mentioned that I have started to try collecting autographs from players who I expect to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Here is the list I have compiled.

Am I missing anyone?

Should anyone be removed from this list?


Almost a lock Hall of Famers (* current player):

Albert Pujols*
Bert Blyleven
Bobby Cox*
Craig Biggio
Curt Schilling
Derek Jeter*
Frank Thomas
Greg Maddux
Ichiro Suzuki*
Jeff Kent
Jim Thome*
Joe Torre*
John Smoltz
Ken Griffey Jr
Mariano Rivera*
Mike Piazza
Omar Vizquel*
Pedro Martinez
Pudge Rodriguez*
Randy Johnson
Roberto Alomar
Roy Halladay*
Trevor Hoffman*
Tom Glavine
Tony LaRussa
Vladimir Guerrero*


Steroid/Gambling Question Marks:

Alex Rodriguez*
Andy Pettitte*
Barry Bonds
Manny Ramirez*
Mark McGwire
Pete Rose
Rafael Palmeiro
Roger Clemens
Sammy Sosa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Non-HoF Autographs: Rafael Perez


A random middle reliever for the Cleveland Indians, Perez was once labeled by some as their closer of the future, but has struggled to gain command of the late inning role.  I got this autograph at Angel Stadium when I went down to watch CC Sabathia pitch for the Indians a few years ago. 

You might remember that I guessed Perez was a name on this ticket stub I had signed during spring training, but comparing the two autographs do not lead me to believe that I am correct on that guess.

Detective Work

A thought crossed my mind today about my recent Return to Sender envelope from Red Schoendienst.  Both Return to Sender, and Red Schoendienst have capital letters "R" and "S" and share five small letters - e, d, o, n, t.  I wondered if my envelope had been written on by Mr. S himself.

So I did a bit of sleuthing...


This is the writing on the envelope I received.  Notice the way the "R" is drawn with a looping pen-stroke, and the "S" is written in classic cursive.


Here is Red's signature on a baseball card that I found with a quick Google search for images of his autograph.  Both the "R" and "S" are pretty close matches.  I also noticed that the small "e", "n", and "t" are very similar between the two.  The most different letter is the "d" in his last name, but the "d" in his first name matches pretty well!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that my envelope was written on by none other than the living Hall of Famer himself.  If this is the case, it makes me wonder why he feels that he has time to sign "Return to Sender" (14 letters), but not "Red Schoendienst" (only 15 letters!).

It is quite possible that this baseball great is tired of people profiting off of his autograph.  I'm sure these players are constantly harassed by people hoping to make a quick buck or two on ebay, or in collector shops.  Sad, but I guess I see the frustration there.

Mr. Schoendienst, if you are reading this, can you deny or confirm?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Non-HoF Autographs: Jeff Kent, Joe Saunders, Justin Speier

This particular baseball was signed by potential Hall of Famer, and former LA Dodger (among other teams), Jeff Kent (photo on the left).

Kent had a history of altercations with teammates and the media, but he remained one of the best hitting second basemen of his era.  I'm almost sure he will be inducted eventually.  I got his signature at a Dodger game during batting practice on the day of Kent's last game of his career.

The ball is also signed by pitchers Joe Saunders and Justin Speier (photo on the right).  Faithful readers will note this was the second time I got his signature.  I received these signatures while attending an Angels game (during a time when both players were members of that team).  While both have had meaningful big league careers, I'm almost certain that neither will come close to entering baseball's sacred class of Hall of Famers.

While typing this entry, I realized the odd note that three random players on this ball all have names that start with the letter J.  Interesting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Non-HoF Autographs: Vladimir Guerrero (sort of)

In an effort to work toward my goal of getting an autograph from every living Hall of Famer, I've begun a bit of a pre-emptive strike - that is, I'm collecting autographs from players who are almost sure to be Hall of Fame inductees.

I've already listed a few who I have collected over the years, but "Vladdy" (as he is affectionately known) was the first current player to return my through the mail request.  Vladdy will certainly be heralded as one of the greatest hitters of his era, as a player who hit for both power and average and has a cannon for an arm.

Unfortunately what I received was a small autograph card with a printed signature.  I guess he doesn't have time to sign his actual autograph.  I guess it was nice to get something back, rather than returned mail.

Interestingly enough, whoever sent back my envelope also included the blank 3x5 card in the return.  Thanks (I guess?), now I can send it to another player.

Friday, September 10, 2010

#6: Joe Morgan


Joe Morgan is a Hall of Fame baseball player, but he has also gained a reputation (some might say a poor one) as a broadcaster and commentator for ESPN's national baseball coverage.  So it was pretty exciting to discover that after several weeks of waiting, I had finally received a successful (and real, unlike the last) autograph return through the mail.  Lucky number thirteen, I guess.

Mr. Morgan made it interesting for me.  He signed in fairly standard black pen and did not include his Hall of Fame induction year.  He did not include a return address, and the postmark was pretty smudged.  As you all know, I have spent the past few months sending out multiple autograph requests.  Thus, when I opened the envelope it took me a little while to figure out whose signature I was looking at.  Was that first letter a J?  Could I see an M in the last name?  A quick google search confirmed exactly who it was.

Unfortunately, the glue on the envelop tore a small bit of paper off of the 3x5 card, but fortunately the autograph still looks great.  This autograph request took 58 days from the day I mailed it out until receiving it back!  That number gives me hope that some of my early requests are still potential returns despite the fact that it has been months since I sent them out.

Interesting fact: Joe Morgan and I apparently share a birthday! (at least according to Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Failure #7: Red Schoendienst


As previously mentioned, we were away on vacation for a week.  We returned home to a big pile of mail - including three envelopes from players who I have recently tried to obtain autographs from.  I'll share the other two over the next few days.

I wasn't expecting much when I sent out the letter request to Mr. Schoendienst - apparently his health is in decline, and many autograph seekers had shared that he was no longer signing through the mail.  I tried anyway, hoping for the best, but after waiting for a few weeks, I got back this "Refused, Return to Sender" letter.

Sad, but I guess it is what I had expected.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Update

I'm heading out of town for a few days - time to head north to my home and native land.  This means the post office will be holding our mail, and I'm not going to be able to report back with any new Hall of Famer signatures if any arrive while I'm gone.

Thanks for reading about my Baseball Hall of Fame Autograph quest!  See you all soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Non-Hof Autographs: random 2009 Indians part 2


Why can't baseball players write neater?

This ticket stub was from a game my aunt and I attended during the 2009 MLB Spring Training.  It was autographed by what appears to be four different players, but I'm only certain of one of them.  Jhonny Peralta is the only one I'm almost 100% certain of, and that is primarily because he wrote down his uniform number and I have a faint memory of him signing for me.

The others are difficult to make out.  I think one of them is from Rafael Perez, but I'm not certain.  Are there any Indians autograph hounds out there who can help me out?  I'm almost certain none of them were from the Padres side of the field.