Near the beginning of spring training I wrote about how you could get autographs from the players with out going to spring training. I hope that some of you took the opportunity to do so as spring training is one of the best times to get autographs through the mail. Many players will sign during spring training who do not sign during the regular season.
I took my own advice and sent out some requests this spring and go some really good returns so I wanted to share them with you. My focus was on sending out 8×10 pictures of myself and/or my son with the players. This is my favorite thing to get signed. Everyone gets baseball cards signed all the time and Rawlings Official Major League Baseballs are not that cheap and are the only ones I will get signed. I will say that from experience the established Major Leaguers are not as reliable as the Minor League guys are at signing through the mail. I was also surprised by a couple of the returns I got back.
I sent out a total of nine requests. I know that is not many but it can be expensive to get autographs through the mail. Like I said I focused on sending out 8×10 pictures to get signed. To get the pictures printed it cost me $3 each on average for a total of $27. Then I also used an 8×10 rigid picture holder so that the picture was not bent going to or coming from the player. I had most of these already so it cost me $4 to cover the rest for a total of $31 so far. One of the most important things is you have to have envelopes, they are relatively cheap but cost another $5 for 20 envelopes. Now I am up to $36 spent on this endeavor and I have not sent anything out in the mail yet. My final cost is the postage but not only do you need to cover the postage to the player but also back to yourself. This was $2.76 or a combined $5.52 total for each picture sent and total postage charge of $49.62. This brings the total of everything up to $85.68. WOW!! I am not including the supplies I used to print a letter to each player or the time it took to get everything done or the gas it took to drive to all the different places I went to get the supplies and mail the final items out.
I use www.sportscollectors.net to track my requests and returns. This site helps me find addresses, track requests, track returns and track how long a request has been out. I also use it to see which players sign through the mail more often than others. Like a just showed I spent $85 doing this so I want to make sure I get the best chance at returns I can get. For the following a “request” is a person that sends a request for an autograph through the mail and a “success “is when a person reports that they received that autograph request back and their item was signed. All of the information on request and success is from www.sportscollectors.net. For the following requests, I sent a note thanking them for stopping to take the picture with me and asking them for a bit more time to sign the picture and return it to me.
- Ned Yost – Since 1999 he has had 541 requests and 522 successes for a 96% success rate. I also asked for him to inscribe “2015 World Series Champions” but he did not. He signed it for me in blue sharpie and took nine days round trip.
- Rusty Kuntz – Since 2001 he has had 165 requests and 133 successes for an 80% success rate. I also asked him to inscribe one of the saying from his bobblehead “Oh player, now your cooking” and he did. He signed in blue sharpie and took nine days round trip.
- Jake Junis – Since 2017 he has had 18 requests and 17 successes for a 94% success rate. Signed in silver sharpie and inscribed it to me by name and took eight days round trip.
- Jorje Bonifacio – Since 2012 he has had 48 requests and 31 successes for a 64% success rate. I sent this just days before he received his 80 game suspension so I thought I would never see it again. He signed in blue sharpie and took 10 days round trip.
- Bubba Starling – Since 2010 he has had 113 requests and 55 successes for a 48% success rate. Honestly I never thought I would see this again. My son and I took this picture with him on the Storm Chasers opening day 2017 and I spent the rest of the season trying to get him to sign it in person. He was injured and not playing during this time. He signed in blue sharpie and took 17 days round trip.
- Danny Duffy – Since 2008 he has had 249 request and 155 successes for a 62% success rate. According to the website he signs regularly during spring training and during the regular season too. In addition to the 8×10 I sent two baseball cards for my son. He signed all three in blue sharpie and added Col 3:27 and took nine days round trip.
Those are the ones that I received back. I think that getting back six out of nine is a really good success rate. Now for the ones that I am still waiting on:
- Eric Skoglund – Since 2014 he has had 14 requests and two successes for a 14% success rate. The last reported success was June 2016 and took 95 days round trip.
- Brandon Maurer – Since 2013 he has had 45 requests and 38 successes for an 84% success rate. I did misspell his last name so maybe he did not get it. The last reported success was September 2016 and took 63 days round trip.
- Andress Machado – Since 2013 he has had three request and two successful. Mine is the only one waiting. The last reported success was from July 2017 and took 17 days round trip.
I may be trying these three again during the season to see if I get a response. However Machado will be in AAA and Skoglund may end up in AAA at some point. I go to quite a few AAA games so will be trying in person before I send these back out again.
All in all I had a good response to my requests. I will be sending out more of these during the season to some of the lower minor league players. Was it worth the $85? That all depends on your outlook on the players that responded. To me it is a very big YES, it was worth it.
Photo Credits: Peter G. Aiken—Getty Images