Daily Archives: February 11, 2009

Not Every Autograph Through The Mail Request Is Successful…

I’ve fielded quite a few inquiries from various bloggers and readers of this blog about my successes with autographs through the mail(ttm).  I am happy that several people are finding this interesting and it has quickly become something I am passionate about.  The ‘fun’ element that it has brought to baseball card collecting for me equals that of adding more cards to my player collections.  As many of you are waiting for the next release to hit the shelves, I am waiting for the next envelope to make it back to my mailbox.

I do want to let you know that I put in a ton of time and research into this new field.  That’s probably why my success rates are so high.  I have found some incredible tools online that have really helped steer me in the proper direction of making this successful.  Don’t forget that I don’t really have a collection of old cards sitting around to be sent out.  I have bought quite a few while the remainder have come from a large donation of cards from a friend of mine.  So what I don’t do is waste time or money.  As much as I would love to add the autograph of Derek Jeter or Ichiro to my collection, I know that the odds of getting something signed back from them are incredibly low.  So I choose wisely as each letter that goes out costs me money for cards, stamps, envelopes, and my time.

With that being said my success rate so far is incredibly high.  To date I have sent out 67 letters.  This does not count the 18 that went out on Monday of this week.  Of the 67, I have received back 23 back signed and  7 back unsigned.  23 out of 67 is a very healthy 34% and that number should continue to climb as I know that several of the guys I am waiting for take 2-3 months but are known as good signers.  So here I sit with 37 letters still out there and the 18 I sent this week just getting to the players now.

My failures are as such : 4 of my letters have come back from the players with the cards unsigned, and 3 had incorrect or undeliverable addresses.  Out of 67, this is a very small percent.  The 4 that did not sign for me are Alan Trammell, Al Kaline, Fergie Jenkins(asked for a donation to his foundation), and Kirk Gibson.  The 3 bad address guys were Orel Hershiser, Dennis Eckersley, and Don Zimmer. 

Like anything else in life, the more you prepare yourself for something the better the outcome.  I have found some wonderful tools on the web about the hobby of collecting autographs TTM and have also developed my own little system that seems to have worked well for me so far.

If you have any questions or want some advice on this, feel free to ask.  I warn you now – This is addictive!!! Once you find that first envelope in your mailbox you will be hooked!!!

Trust me.  My mailman has found this out the hard way…

Happy Graphing!!!


That Guy #4

Just another post in my ‘That Guy’ series.

This ‘That Guy’ will focus on the player that you witnessed as being groomed to take over for a veteran that was getting ready to leave the game of baseball.  Unfortunately, ‘That Guy’ never quite made it and surely did not replace his former teammate in the manner that the team thought he was destined for.

For me, ‘That Guy’ is Ron Karkovice.  Karkovice was the one that was going to push Carlton Fisk out the door and take over as the full-time catcher for the Chicago White Sox.  Having moved to Chicago in 1989, I was able to witness first hand how the Sox tried and tried and tried to give ‘Karko’ chances to budge ‘Pudge’.  But he just couldn’t do it.

In Karkovice’s rookie season of 1986 he was able to appear in 37 games.  Fisk got a majority of the playing time and while being 16 years older than his understudy, he was still the better all-around option.  As we all know, catchers tend to break down earlier than other position players due to the stress put on their knees.  But even as the years progressed, Karkovice couldn’t overtake Fisk even though the aging superstar’s offensive skills began to decline.  From 1986-1991, Karkovice played in 336 games while his aging mentor managed to get playing time in 710 contests.  Yet, the Sox never gave up on Ron.  His batting average over the course of those 6 seasons was a dismal .222 while Fisk did not fare too much better at .260.  Karkovice failed to provide run production as he amassed just 23 home runs and 95 RBI in those six seasons, yet Fisk was still delivering as he bashed 105 homers and drove in an impressive 391 RBI as he played well into his 40’s.

And still the Chicago White Sox didn’t give up on Karkovice.  New catchers were not brought in to challenge him for the back-up role and be the possible successor to ‘Pudge’.  It’s amazing to see how little production Karkovice added to the White Sox line-up, yet the team continued to give him time to make adjustments as their aging superstar played into his mid-40’s.

The roles reversed during the 1992 season as Karkovice finally earned more playing time and got 70% of the starts.  His offense began to take off and he was able to increase his batting average to an acceptable level for a catcher and his power numbers increased as he reached double-digit numbers in home runs in the next 5 seasons.

So, while Ron Karkovice was clearly unable to fill in for Carlton Fisk, the team certainly gave him an extensive learning curve as they stood by him for 6 dismal seasons before he finally broke though and became a starter.  I have to think that in today’s game of 1-year contracts and trade deadlines that no team would be willing to invest the time and money into a player the way that the Chicago White Sox did for Ron Karkovice.

Who is your ‘That guy’???  Does a certain player come to mind when you think ‘I cannot believe that this guy is back with us for another season?’ or ‘What is management thinking by keeping this guy around”?

Let me know. 


Old School Nike Commercial Starring Dwight Gooden, Barry Sanders, and John Salley

I can totally see why Doc Gooden and Barry Sanders were chosen to star in this ad.  But John Salley leaves me scratching my head…

1983 Topps Super Veteran – Mike Schmidt

1983 Topps Super Veteran – Mike Schmidt

‘Super’ is a great word to describe the kind of player that Mike Schmidt was.  One of the greatest competitors in all of baseball during the 1970’s and 1980’s, Schmidt is still as beloved today as he was during his playing days in which he won 3 Most Valuable Player Awards and the 1980 World Series title with the Philadelphia Phillies.