Last week I stumbled upon a section of a blog that is dedicated to sports autographs. Seeing the pictures of signed cards and reading descriptions of cards being returned through the mail brought back many memories. You see, I’ve collected quite a few autographs.
My first autographs were obtained in person at Reading Municipal Stadium. I would get programs signed by Reading Phillies players. Eventually I began acquiring signatures at Veterans Stadium too, carrying a binder with carefully selected baseball cards and several sharpies. My autograph hunting led me to send out letters to players containing a baseball card and a self-addressed-stamped-envelope. It was great knowing I could receive cards in the mail on any given day. I would check the mailbox every day for the envelopes with my own handwriting.
I’ve decided to write posts from time to time dedicated to a few of the autographs in my collection. I’ll start with the cards I have signed by current Hall of Famers. While I have many more signed baseball cards than football cards, I happen to have more NFL HOFers.
I sent this card to Molitor during the 1996 season. In my brief letter I mentioned he caused me much pain in 1993 (he was the World Series MVP when the Blue Jays defeated the Phillies). While I like the card, in hindsight I wish I had sent a classic Brewers card. In my teens when I was collecting signatures I had a bias towards shiny new cards.
Tony Gwynn – 1995 Pinnacle Swingmen
I sent this card to Tony as a long shot. As a kid I only saw Tony play when he played against the Phillies or in the All Star Game. I saw Tony play in person once at the Vet, on television a few times, and I heard Harry Kalas call many of his at bats on the radio.
Andre Dawson – 1993 Topps
The newest Hall of Famer signed a card for me through the mail during his tenure with the Marlins. His signature is so bold and dark. As a guitarist I appreciate that he wrote the d in his first name below the rest of the letters, making it a drop d autograph (which I see as a reference to drop d tuning on a guitar, though I doubt that is his intention).
Reggie White – 1990 Topps
The Minister of Defense signed this card in pen with the Scripture reference John 3:3-16 added below his name. The card is a bit beat up and the signature is faded, but I still treasure it. It was my first autograph. My friend Matt got this card signed for me. Reggie was making an appearance at a business establishment in the area and I was planning to go meet him. For some reason that I now cannot recall I was unable to go at the last minute, so I sent the card with some friends. They told me at the signing someone collapsed while waiting in line for an autograph and Reggie came over and prayed for him before an ambulance took the person away.
Darrell Green – 1991 Pro Set
Darrell Green played for the rival Washington Redskins, but he was a class act on and off the field so I decided to send him a letter requesting his autograph. The letter G in his last name is pretty cool.
John Elway – 1993 Pinnacle
Elway was very good about responding to signature requests during his playing days. Unfortunately this card was put into the envelope immediately after being signed and part of the signature was stolen by the envelope. I was hoping the card would be signed a bit lower and to the left, but it’s still a nice signature. I like the dark border of the ’93 Pinnacle design, they used it for football and baseball.
Thurman Thomas – 1996 Topps 1000 Yard Club
In the mid-to-late nineties I rooted for the Buffalo Bills in the postseason. I loved their no huddle offense and some of their postseason games were very exciting. I sent this card to Thurman because I thought it would look good signed, I really did not expect to get it back. The S at the end of the signature is huge, with the tail end forming the 3 for the 34. It makes for a pretty amazing signature. I’ve looked at pictures of other autographs from Thurman and I have not seen this variation. I’m confident that it is really his though, because the T in Thurman and the 4 in 34 in this signature is very consistent to those in all the pictures I’ve seen.