Collecting autographs from professional athletes is something that many boys and girls do during every professional sports season. Receiving an autograph from an athlete allows a person to capture a moment in time and a memory that last for ever. This activity is not only fun for the kids but also for the parents.
I collected baseball cards and autographs as a kid. I kind of fell out of the hobby up until the last few years. What really got me back into collecting autographs was a coworker. He invited me to a couple minor league baseball games and I was hooked from that moment forward.
A few years later, I have received well over 100 autographs and found some tips for increasing my chance of success. Here are my top three tips for getting baseball player autographs.
1) Focus on minor league baseball. My philosophy is that if I were around at the time of Babe Ruth and could have gotten his autograph while he was in the minors it would have been just as valuable as getting it when he was with the Yankees.
I love going to minor league baseball games. Many people have never been to a minor league baseball game. The atmosphere is great, the tickets are cheap, and the players don't typically have the sense of entitlement that comes with being a major leaguer. Before the season starts, I will buy the Baseball America's Prospect Handbook for that season.
This handbook rates each organizations players and gives you the ability to see who are the up and coming major leaguers. Each player profile gives a little detail about the person along with a rating. This guide also gives you insight and so when you do go to a minor league baseball game seeking autographs you can focus on the top ten rated prospects.
I do this because usually the guys rated lower don't end up making it to the majors. I don't always follow this strategy exactly because I like getting autographs and if I have a card of a minor league player and can get it signed, I will.
2) If you go to a major league baseball game, go really early. Arriving at game time will guarantee you of not getting any autographs.
Find out when the gates open at the stadium. Many team websites will list when the gates open. Usually everyday but Sunday, the players will be taking batting practice and warming up when the gates open. This allows people the opportunity to go down to the field and seek autographs from players.
Try and find a spot where the players naturally have to come by you during warm ups. For example, do not go stand near the outfield when all the players are warming up by first base.
While waiting for a player to come over, don't yell at the player. Many times this offends the player. Once the player does come over and signs your card or ball, make sure and tell him thank you. A simple thank you goes a long way.
Don't set your expectations too high for major leaguers as many don't spend much time signing autographs at the field. The superstars are usually received at special events, card shows, or through the mail.
3) Consider sending cards through the mail. (TTM)
This seems old school but actually sending baseball cards through the mail to a player's home or stadium works. Not 100% of the time but it does work.
I recently sent Ricky Henderson a card through the mail to the Oakland Athletics stadium as I knew he was touring as an instructor in their farm system. Most of the reports online said Mr. Henderson doesn't sign autographs but to my surprise it came back in the mail signed. It looks awesome and I was excited to have a hall of famer's autograph.
You might ask, where do I get players addresses so I can send the card through the mail? There are many websites with forums that have a long database of players addresses. Some forums go as far to keep track of the success percentage that the address is getting.
I hope these three tips will inspire you to start collecting baseball autographs and if you are already doing it then I hope you will increase your chances of success and getting the autograph you want.
Good luck and best wishes.