Collecting autographs from baseball personnel is a growing trend. Umpires, team presidents, managers and scouting directors have a profound effect on the game and are involved in some of the biggest games and most influential trades. Collecting autographs of these figures is a growing hobby. There are a few important tips to remember when collecting autographs from baseball umpires.
What do I get signed?
It's so easy to drop a baseball card in the mail and send it off for an autograph. Finding baseball cards for umpires is much more difficult. Throughout the years there have been a few random umpire cards that were a part of larger (often-obscure) card sets.
1988 T&M Sports Umpire Card Set
I purchased this set off EBay a few years ago for $10. It is not a rare set but it is a little difficult to find. I would not recommend paying more than $15-$20 for this set. It has 64 different umpire cards and some of those featured are still in the game. If you're looking to get autographs from umpires this is a great set to purchase.
Used Ticket Stubs
If you happen to attend a baseball game, it's always fun to send the umpires autograph requests using your ticket stub. I think that's the most personalized way to do it since you were actually at the game and saw them officiate. I recommend asking others for their used ticket stubs (most people throw them away) so you can send requests to multiple umpires.
If you Google image search the name of any umpire, you're sure to find pictures of him. Often you can find images of him in action. Simply print these photos onto small photo paper that will fit easily into an envelope and mail them off.
Where do I get their addresses?
Unlike players, umpires don't have a home team address to send autograph requests to. You will likely need to find their home address to get their autograph. It is possible that some former umpires are working in another capacity with a team or other organization (like a youth organization or news channel) that you can send the letter to.
Every year I purchase Harvey's address lists. He compiles lists for all major sports and some lists for famous and notable public figures. Within the baseball player address lists, he has begun to list addresses for umpires. This is really the only way I know of to get mailing addresses for umpires. There are other individuals who release address lists each year, but I think Harvey's are the most comprehensive and up to date.
What do I write in the letter?
What to write in an autograph request letter needs to be basic. Make sure to keep it simple and genuine. I write all my autograph request letters in a 3x5 notecard. Sometimes the players or umpires write me a short bit on the back of the card and send it back along with the autograph.
Collecting autographs from umpires is a growing hobby, one that is cheap, easy, and fun.