If you’re not a baseball fan but an autograph collector, you have to at least appreciate getting a baseball signed on the sweet spot. That white background, and a ballpoint pen signature…while you smell hot dogs in the background.
The two baseballs I regret not buying are Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. At a baseball card show, a guy was selling a Mantle ball for $125. I had seen a bunch selling a few weeks earlier for $100, but the guy wouldn’t budge on the price.
The Willie Mays ball was a beautiful signature, except for one thing. I couldn’t really read his name with his unusual signature. So I passed on that.
I have one ball signed by Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, and Goose Gossage…a few of the best closers in baseball history.
Since I’m not a huge baseball fan, I would guess the number of signed baseballs I have is under 15.
I started thinking about baseballs signed with the recent All-Star game. Obviously fans stand around sticking balls over the rails or waiting in the parking lot, but I found out something else.
One of the things the players are forced to do is sign memorabilia. Some of the things are sold or auctioned off for charities, and some are for teammates.
The National League players had to sign over 40 boxes of baseballs (there are 12 in each box…you do the math). They are all set up right at the entrance to the showers.
The players also have to put out their jerseys for signatures, and there are 18 NL All-Star jerseys set on the table around the clubhouse, which they are told to sign.
There are a variety of red-and-white gloves and 37 red-and-white All-Star bats, as well as six regular bats for signing.
The American League players have it a bit easier. They had one less box of balls, and only 15 jerseys and 20 team tops they had to sign, as well as 32 red-and-white bats.
It makes you wonder…if idiots like NFL running back Marshawn Lynch can go to the Super Bowl media day and merely say, “I’m only here so I don’t get fined,” could a baseball player say, “I’m only here because the fans voted me in, not to sign autographs for Major League baseball and their various charities.”
Or, if they wanted…I suppose they could just scribble something that looks nothing like their signature. That way, they’re meeting their obligations, but aren’t signing something they don’t want to.
There was an entire decade when Kevin Costner would just sign his name with a K, and one long line after it. And since he’s played a baseball player in four different movies, a lot of people hand him baseballs for signatures [on a frustrating side note: the autograph dealers also carry blank index cards and baseballs in their trunks, and the stars all know this].
I know, it’s hard to comprehend this even being a problem, but you know how these athletes are. Many don’t like signing, or they like to make money themselves off their signatures.
That being said…what are some of the signed baseballs in your collection?