`
 (Toll Free)

Your Turn: What autograph-hounding tales do you have? + win a Hall of Famer’s autograph


Sharpie2013

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

If you’ve ever hounded for autographs, you probably have a favorite story.

We want to hear it.

For the upcoming Autographs Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, we’re setting aside space to showcase some interesting stories from autograph collectors who do their hunting the old-fashioned way — with a pen in hand — instead of a mouse click.

No matter what the sport — heck, it doesn’t even need to be that — we want to hear about your successes, your failures, your close calls.

But keep it civil — after all, somebody isn’t obligated to sign for you at any time or anywhere.

And they’re not evil if they turned you down, either.

Tell us your story in the comments below — and be sure to include your name and location as well.

We’ll run some of the best stories and highlights in the issue that arrives in January.

Need a little extra incentive to offer your tale? We’ll offer up a deluxe autograph card that was given away as a prize previously but was never claimed by the winner.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

79 Comments

Mike Berry

It was during the 1994 New England Patriots season, I was 7 years old and attending my first NFL game. The Patriots were blown out by the Bronocos but I went home excited because I received an autograph from Robert Kraft. He even took the time to talk with me as I hung over the railing to the field holding my program. The best part is that he didn’t want to “ruin the cover with his signature”, he flipped to a page with his photo on it and signed it. I know he is not a top athlete, but it is a moment that I’ll always remember, and respect him as an owner and even more as a person.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
blair burnside

When I was a kid I was always trying to get NHL Toronto maple leaf autos and went to a ton of leafs home games…I went almost every week for a season but always missed Wendell Clarke’s auto…he was always busy or I just missed him…later in life I worked at a golf course in northern Ontario and Wendell was there for a golf tourney…and I finally got his auto…took awhile but I got it…b

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

As a kid I was just starting to get into autographs. I had no clue that they added value to cards or anything like that, I just thought it’d be cool to have some players sign my cards. So, at the time, I thought the best means to go about doing this would be to just blindly mail a few to the players at their respective teams.

I started with just three cards (and have no idea why these were the three I chose). I sent cards to Travis Fryman, Tim Salmon, and Kirby Puckett.

Fryman got back to me right away. I think I had the card returned in just a few weeks. Signed and in great shape.

Salmon took another few weeks. I opened up the envelope and first saw the card I’d sent him, unsigned. Then there was another behind it. Something Salmon had clearly printed himself, as it was loaded with personal information on the back. He’d signed that one instead of mine. An acceptable response.

Finally, there was the Puckett. One of my favorite players as a kid. I never heard back, figuring the card was lost and that was it. Months later I happen to go check the mail as it was being delivered. I casually joked (for a kid who was probably 10 or 11 at the time) about how it must have been lost in the mail. Our mailman then hands me the day’s mail, with an envelope on top scrawled with my own handwriting.

It was my Puckett card. Signed and returned. Only I’d forgotten to put the card in a top loader first. I’ve never seen a card so wrinkled, but I didn’t care. I’d gotten my Puckett auto and couldn’t believe it.

I still have all three cards.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
Zack Webb

I started collecting autographs in 2011. Mostly ttm, a few in person (best baseball one was Bubba Starling). I was attending my first big signing event, the 2012 WVU Gold vs Blue spring game! It was the last year Mountaineer Nation would see Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, and Stedman Bailey dressed in gold and blue. I grabbed Geno’s and Stedman’s autos from one table, stand up guys! Then I got Tavon’s…He hardly looked up at me. The event was nearing a close, and I had yet to get my favorite kickers autograph, Tyler Bitancurt! The kids leg was amazing could nail a field goal from 50+ yards!!!! I was next in line when the security said the players had to go and get ready for the game (signing started at 10 and ended at 1) Tyler said he was staying to sign autos until everyone who was in line at the time got an auto! I got my auto of Tyler and the 3 best WVU players to be at WVU at the same time since the Pat White Steve Slaton Owen Schmitt era! That day will be forever in my memories!

Zack Webb
Bluefield VA

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
Roland Wake

3 stories all include the Den Broncos

1) I grew up in Greeley CO where the broncos used yo hold summer camps. It was the first day of players arriving and I was on the hunt. I road my bike by campus. No one. Then I tried the local billiard bar. Sure enough the cars you don’t typically see. I walked in a 12 year old looking for graphs. The waitress pointed me to the pool tables. Tyrone Braxton Glen Cadrez Steve Atwater Keith Traylor. They tossed my football around the room no hesitation. Each signing and then played catch a few times with me.

The nrxtv2 are John Elway.

2) after practice it was a skunk of a day graph wise. I was waiting to be picked up. When the back door of the gym opened and out came John Janet (wife) and his kids. It was hot he couldve gone right by and I wouldve had a great story of seeing my idol in football. Janet lightly stopped him in the cart they had. Of the 5 kids left including myself he signed EVERYTHING! 2 footballs and my jersey.

3) finally I had been lucky enough to do a meet and greet with Elway. I had a beer and played cards with him. The meet was over and I had a chance..I was wearing his HS jersey and asked him if he would give me a reason not to wear the jersey anymore. He had no pen I had no pen.then as if a sign from above a silver sharpie was on the card table. He signed my jersey as I wore it. Best sports day ever.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
Jason Gustafson

When I was about 7 years old, we went to a wrestling event at Notre Dame. We were standing in line to get something to drink and we heard cheering. I turned around and bumped right into Andre The Giant. I was so scared I almost started crying and Andre rubeed my head and said its ok boss. Then he signed my picture for me and kept walking. Highlight of my childhood

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

Back around 2000, I was hanging around outside the old Rosemont Horizon during the Chicago Comic Con when suddenly I turn to my right and notice Stan “The Man” Lee exiting the building no more than ten feet from me. I started fumbling for an old issue of Thor From the ’60′s which I had in my backpack as I made my approach.

Stan, who sees me coming, takes time to read the “Timebomb 3:16″ t-shirt I’m wearing (a reference to Green Bay concert promoter “Timebomb Tom” Smith) and says to me, “Timebomb? We better get out of here!”

Before I realize what is happening, Marvel security push Stan into a waiting limo and they peel off.

Dumbfounded, I’m standing on the curb as my friend Matt walks up to me and says, “I got Stan’s autograph.” All I could do was look at him, laugh and begin telling him the story.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
Kyle Edwards

I started collecting in 1991 because all my friends were doing it. Being a kid you had to have a favorite player. So you could trade cards etc. Mine was Cal Ripken Jr. It was a good year for him. I had been to games on occasion when Texas would play the Orioles. Being from Oklahoma, it was a rare chance to meet my idol. I tried to name after him got a dog named Calvin instead. Big news broke the Oklahoma State University was hosting various figures from different backgrounds to talk about their success. Cal was invited to speak on Perseverance. I took off early from work and loaded up my son and brother to hear Cal speak. I got there early hoping to get a glimpse and autograph of Ripken. He was hurriedly whisked away under the stadium avoiding all fans. Being the genius, I am I got directions to the Stillwater airport where a private jet was waiting. I asked the stewardess if the plane was for Ripken. It was! After waiting two hours with my son and brother and one other person. Cal arrived with a police escort. My son asked for his autograph. Cal was a gracious host and took pictures with my son as I stood there speechless. Fond memories. Thanks Cal

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
David

Write your own articles, Olds.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
Daniel Restifo

I was young at the time, with my family on a trip to Philly. It was my first time in the ballpark but we got there early enough for batting practice. It was a sunday night game against the braves and Joe
Morgan was there to do the game. When I saw him I scurried down by the dugout and with small self tried to squeeze to the front. My efforts were futile but a stadium attendant took my bal and went down and got an autograph for me. When I got it back I was in shock. It was the first time I ever got an autograph at a ballpark not in New York and it was by far the best autograph I have. It makes travellong to other ballparks so worth it.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

David: Thanks for your valuable input there.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
Jason Duncan

There is nothing like getting autographs whether sending ttm or getting them in person. When I was a younger my parents were into collecting sports memorabilia and introduced me to the hobby at a young age. I remember when my dad taught me how to send ttm to professional athletes. My brother and I sent hundreds of cards out. My greatest one I received back signed was from Peyton Manning my favorite NFL quarterback. I have a lot of great memories collecting sports memorabilia. We went to numerous card shows, PGA golf tournaments, NFL games, NBA games, and MLB games. We would go to the Detroit lions training camp at Saginaw State University every year when they use to have it there. We would always get a ton of autographs. I have been to a lot of Detroit Tiger and Detroit Piston games. My parents also took me and my family to the Buick Open a PGA tournament they use to have in Warrick Hills, Michigan every year. There was a spring break where my dad, brother, and uncle went to the Par 3 tournament and a practice round at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. I have a ton of autographs from all of the many sporting events I was fortunate enough to go to with my family. The memories I made with my family while going to these sporting events and collecting autographs I will never forget. I still have all of the autographs I have collected over the years. I will never sell them. I will pass them down to my kids just like my parents did with theirs. I will also introduce my kids to the hobby just like my parents did with me. One of my favorite autographs is a Miguel Cabrera autograph that Cabrera signed on a chainsaw carved Miguel Cabrera bear my dad made. I have the picture but won’t let me paste in here.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
Richard Christie

My best auto story was when Juan Pierre was signing for everyone on a Sunday. We were in line and it was his first auto. I was explaining to be polite, hand him the ball and to say thank you. He started to run out of time and they cut the line off a few people behind us so we were lucky to still get the auto. When we got up there me son handed him his ball and before I knew it was giving him his hat and trying to take off his shirt (he’s 9). I told him only one thing could be signed and JP said it was no big deal and signed all of my sons things. I was embarrassed but my son had a great time getting his first auto from JP.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
Paul Braddy

I met my sports hero Chipper Jones this summer at a sports convention for his bow hunting gig Major League Bowhunters. I brought my wife and son with me. I was so excited to meet him. After standing in line, I finally got the chance to shake hands and meet Chipper. My son was up first and then my wife and then me. I was trying to think of all the things I could ask him or talk about. By the time that I started speaking, all I could think to say was that my father-in-law was a butcher and that he had recently cut up a moose. Next thing I know, I am moving on and my time is done. Still great to meet him and get some awesome stuff signed.
My wife did much better. She got her old Chipper Jones Candy Bar wrapper signed. They had a real conversation and talked and joked. I didn’t say a word. I just say there frozen waiting to tell Chipper, evidently, all about my father-in-laws great knife skills. #fail

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
Shaun Baus

Some of my favorite autographs that I have acquired over the years came while I was serving in the Army. The USO sponsors many trips which bring many athletes and celebrities to visit the troops all over the world, including combat zones, to help boost morale. During my service I was fortunate to meet Roger Goodell, Gale Sayers, Drew Brees, Warrick Dunn, Osi Umenyiora, Larry Izzo and many others. When we’re thousands of miles away from our families and the pastimes we love, they really brighten a day for all the troops and I really appreciate the USO in all that they do.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink
Erling Crousse

Growing up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, we had an AHL team, the Montreal Canadiens affiliate. Every New Years Day they had an open public skate with an autograph session at the the end. Tickets were free, and the place was always packed.

As the gates opened up to the ice for people to get autographs, Pepsi had gone around and given each of the players a can of pop (soda for you Yanks). I had gone with a friend and, as was custom, my parents never gave me any money for drinks or refreshments. So by the end of the two hour practice, I was dying of thirst.

I came o the table that Donald Brasheur was sitting and noticed he didn’t drink his yet. So, I asked him if I could have it. He said he didn’t want it, and it was aaaaaaall mine. But now I had an issue. Do I drink the can that a future NHLer gave me, or satisfy my thirst. I decided to save it. I said I would NEVER drink from it, keep it forever. (12yo’s concept of forever just isn’t that long)

A week later I got thirsty. Playing Monopoly with the family I couldn’t resist the urge any longer! I said, “Well, the CAN (with his autograph on it) was the more important thing. For YEARS I had that can on my dresser. It wasn’t until my mom decided to clean my room and mistook the can for just another empty, and tossed it.

Sure, Brasheur won’t be a HOFer, but was my favorite player for years because of that can of Pepsi.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
Eric Gallagher

As a young boy, my family took me to Three Rivers Stadium regularly to watch our beloved Pirates. I remember constantly trying to talk them into staying after the game, waiting for my favorite players to walk out of the stadium and sign a few balls for a lucky fan here and there before they left. Andy Van Slyke was my favorite Pirate as a kid, but I could never get him to sign my ball. One evening I was with my visiting cousins from Oregon, and we caught Andy right before he got into his car. He signed for both of my cousins and put his window up and drove off.

I was let down, I felt like a deflated balloon..all the air was let out of me and I just stared at the ground trying to figure out why my cousins were so lucky and I struck out. Then I heard someone say “Hey, kid…come here” in a very soft voice. I looked up and there was Barry Bonds, smiling and waving me over to him by his car. Before this night I had tried for a couple years to get him to sign my baseball after the games, but he usually had his wife and children with him and he wasn’t exactly known for being a prolific signer. Usually he would dart out to his car and take off, ignoring the crowd of people trying to shove their ball in his face. I had pretty much stopped asking Barry to sign my ball because it never got me anywhere.

But I think on this particular night he could see that I was visibly upset for not being able to get my hero Andy Van Slyke to sign my ball, or maybe he remembered me from the twenty+ other times I had asked him for his autograph and he wouldn’t sign. Either way, Barry finally signed my baseball and I still treasure the ball to this day.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
John Russell

My favorite autograph story is the time I met Stan Musial. Back in the mid 1990s, a local sports show featured the five living Cardinal HOFers at that time – Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Enos Slaughter, and Bob Gibson. The show had a special poster made up, and I had all but Stan sign it. At the time, his $50 signing fee was just to much for a high school kid to come up with. After the four signatures, I decided to do some research. I found that Stan had Stan the Man Inc, his memorabilia company. His mail order signature fee was $40 (a little more reasonable for a 17 year old), but now I didn’t want to mail the poster! I called, and his assistant explained to me that I could drop the poster off, pay for Stan to sign it and she would call me when he was done. I took the poster on the day she told me to, and when I arrived she said, “Well hold on, Stan is here now signing.” I thought she would take the poster back to him, sign it, bring it back and collect my money. I almost fell over when she said, “Come with me.” I walked in to what looked like an oversized janitor’s closet packed to the ceiling with balls, bats, you name it. In the middle, was the elderly man slumped over a desk just writing away. The assistant simply and sternly said, “STAN! This young man is here to see you.” Without skipping a beat, he set his sharpie down, spun around with that trademark half smile, and said, “Why hello, and who is this?” Quickly getting past my shock and awe moment, I introduced myself, then stood there with the poster. “He wants you to sign that STAN!” said the lady from over my shoulder. He grinned even bigger, signed the poster and handed it back. He then handed me one of his COAs, which was also signed by him. Then, in typical Musial fashion, he stated, “Anyone that bothers to come see me, should get a little something extra.” And with that he whipped out an 8×10, signed it and handed it over to me, shook my hand, and thanked ME!!! Stunned, I shook his hand back, thanked him, and wandered out of the “room.” Almost back to the front desk, it dawned on me. “Oh man, I didn’t pay for the poster yet and now I have all these extras that I cannot afford…” I asked the lady again how much I owed (still thinking $40 would be my minimum), to which she grinned and said, “$20.” I still have all three pieces hanging in the Man Cave today!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
John Russell

My favorite autograph story is the time I met Stan Musial. Back in the mid 1990s, a local sports show featured the five living Cardinal HOFers at that time – Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Enos Slaughter, and Bob Gibson. The show had a special poster made up, and I had all but Stan sign it. At the time, his $50 signing fee was just to much for a high school kid to come up with. After the four signatures, I decided to do some research. I found that Stan had Stan the Man Inc, his memorabilia company. His mail order signature fee was $40 (a little more reasonable for a 17 year old), but now I didn’t want to mail the poster! I called, and his assistant explained to me that I could drop the poster off, pay for Stan to sign it and she would call me when he was done. I took the poster on the day she told me to, and when I arrived she said, “Well hold on, Stan is here now signing.” I thought she would take the poster back to him, sign it, bring it back and collect my money. I almost fell over when she said, “Come with me.” I walked in to what looked like an oversized janitor’s closet packed to the ceiling with balls, bats, you name it. In the middle, was the elderly man slumped over a desk just writing away. The assistant simply and sternly said, “STAN! This young man is here to see you.” Without skipping a beat, he set his sharpie down, spun around with that trademark half smile, and said, “Why hello, and who is this?” Quickly getting past my shock and awe moment, I introduced myself, then stood there with the poster. “He wants you to sign that STAN!” said the lady from over my shoulder. He grinned even bigger, signed the poster and handed it back. He then handed me one of his COAs, which was also signed by him. Then, in typical Musial fashion, he stated, “Anyone that bothers to come see me, should get a little something extra.” And with that he whipped out an 8×10, signed it and handed it over to me, shook my hand, and thanked ME!!! Stunned, I shook his hand back, thanked him, and wandered out of the “room.” Almost back to the front desk, it dawned on me. “Oh man, I didn’t pay for the poster yet and now I have all these extras that I cannot afford…” I asked the lady again how much I owed (still thinking $40 would be my minimum), to which she grinned and said, “$20.” I still have all three pieces hanging in the Man Cave today!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
Ron Lawhon

My son Jay pulled quite the HOF exacta when we were lucky enouhg to attend the MLB Futures Game here in Houston in 2004. My son was about 13 and went down by the dugout and got a perfect sweet spot signed baseball from Ernie Banks and another from one of the Futures team managers, Goose Gossage, who went on to get elected the HOF in 2008. We also saw a young Felix Hernandez on the mound and high schooler Justin Upton sat across the isle from us with his family watching his brother B.J. play in the game. Fun day!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
CB Garrett

4 or 5 years ago I was in Port St. Lucie for the Mets Spring Training. They were playing the Cardinals, and I was surprised to how many people were signing. I was on the Mets side of the field hoping to get some of my favorite players, even though there were some bigger names, including Tony LaRussa signing for the Cardinals. Suddenly I saw Ron Darling walking across the field. I was the first person to recognize him and asked him if he could sign my ball. I was disappointed when he said “No autographs today, just pictures.” It broke my heart as a huge Mets fan, and as someone who wanted to be a sports broadcaster (I was 11 at the time). I was even more upset when I realized i did not have any sort of camera on me. At the end of the game I was by the Mets dugout trying to get signatures from the couple of minor leaguers that signed, and I saw Omar Minaya, the GM at the time. He signed for me, and the a couple other of people who asked after me, and I thought that was a cool signature.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
Ryan

My Best or most favorite autograph experience comes from when my daughter got her first NFL auto. Michael Palmer was a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons at the time and a fellow alum of her elementary school. He came and read a book for their “Reading Rocks” program one night and ended the evening signing posters for the kids. I had pumped up my kindergartner up so much about him that she was so giddy when meeting him. He talked to her, took a picture with her and signed her poster. She was obsessed after that. I shared my story on the BMB and got PMs from members wanting to send her cards….and in they came. She’s got a nice little PC of Michael Palmer.

Flash forward to this past Atlanta Falcons training camp (two years after the Palmer meeting). She and I drive up and bring a football to be signed by the team. However, I notice that Kordell Stewart is hanging out underneath a tent about to do his radio show. Apparently, I’m the only Falcon fan that notices him (hey, when the Steelers draft Hines Ward, you become a Steeler fan). I tell my daughter who he is, she pulls out the ball: “Mr. Stewart, can I please have your autograph?” I don’t know who’s smile was bigger. He posed for the best picture ever and signed her ball on a complete panel. We dubbed the ball “Kordell’s ball”. We got another for the Falcons to sign.

Needless to say, we were on eBay buying a graded copy of his rookie card and now she has two favorite players of all time.

So, my two favorite and important autographs….belong to my daughter. It’s something that we can share, and that is priceless.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
Ryan

This is my favorite story but might not be something that would get others excited. When I lived in South Florida I would graph the hockey teams that came in to play the Panthers. One night me and my buddies parked on the highway and watched the plane that was carrying the Red Wings land. We jumped in the car and drove to where the bus parks. We saw the team get on the bus and we started following the bus. We drove for over a hour and finally the bus pulled into a hotel. We jumped out and attempted to graph the team. Since we had drove over a hour we were not leaving. So we sat down. The guys left to go to dinner, etc and we attempted to get who we could in the lobby of the hotel and outside. During the 5+ hour wait we had a feeling security would come and tell us we had to leave. Well, at about 1 am the security guard came over and asked us if our flight was good and if we were ready for the game. We had no idea so we played along. Turns out after a 20 minute conversation, the security guard thought we were members of the team. We could not believe it. Since we had spent the whole night we were not going to tell him anything different so we continued to play along. After a little while the security guard told us he’d leave us alone so we could relax and enjoy our evening before the game the next day. Players started trickling in and some signed and some didn’t. The best response was from a completely plastered Manny Legace who asked us what time it was and when we told him 4 am he said “Ummm I don’t sign after 3 am” and almost fell over laughing. Then he came over and signed. We ended up staying the rest of the day until the team left for the game. Overall one of my favorite autographing experiences ever. We ended up finding out the team was very upset they were so far away and it was a mistake.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink
Robert Murphy

The year was 1994 and I was a sophomore in high school. Our local hometown has a minor league baseball team and I would attend every game I possibly could. With the season starting in April it was a few long nights trying to get autographs after a game and get up for school the next morning. One game in particular I was trying to get an autograph from the top prospect of the visiting team, Portland Sea Dogs and their top catcher, Charles Johnson. I had the 1994 jumbo checklist I wanted to get signed. I waited for him to come out of the dugout and headed for the bullpen (knowing he would be warming up the starting pitcher that night.) He acknowledged me, engaged in short conversation but said he couldn’t sign then – he had to warm up the catcher and get ready for the game. I explained I had school the next day, couldn’t wait after the game to have him sign and that was my only shot. After some pleading, he came over and signed my checklist – telling me I better make it to school the next day and do well in class. I didn’t call in sick that day

Posted December 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

One year the Oakland A’s had a Spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers, and I took my ten year old son and eight year old daughter to the game. After the game, they flagged down Reggie Jackson and asked him for an autograph on the new baseballs that I purchased for them. He obliged and promptly wrote “Donald Duck” on my son’s ball and “Mickey Mouse” on my daughter’s ball.
That was a real special moment for us…………and one that I am sure my children will remember!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
Shawn Driscoll

I have many autograph seeking stories but this is my most recent and favorite. I have obtained many of my favorite players autos over the past 15 years (all SF giants, Marino, Musial) but never had the chance for Tiger Woods. The PGA Championship came to town last summer and I bought tickets for the Wednesday practice round roughly a year in advance. For a year straight I researched how people approached Tiger and how they were successful or not. I dreamed about how I was going to get it. Most people say its straight luck, and I agree. So I took my wife that Wednesday and got to the grounds a half hour before it opened. Me and her sprinted to the range. He already left. We then raced to the board and saw that he started early and was on hole #4 already shooting his practice round (about a mile walk away from the range). Was I going to miss my chance? We eventually found out that Woods was only playing 9 today so we decided to camp out by the roped off Isle that security created for him to walk through after the round. We were 2 hours early and waited there in the 90 degree sun. But we got the best spot, we were the first people with this stroke of genius idea. 2 hours later, there was easily 5000 people waiting there with us, all with hopes for Tiger to sign. He finally arrives and drains the Par putt. He poses for the cameras and then the sheriffs arrived. They escorted him towards a secret exit on the other side of the green that gave him completely different route to the clubhouse!!! I booked it towards the clubhouse as soon as I saw this and found a slim spot along the fence. 30 seconds later I reached my flag over and said “Tiger please?”– he grabbed it and signed it while walking into the clubhouse and stopped to give it back to me. After that I jumped like a 10 year old screaming “Babe I got it I GOT IT!!” It turned out to be the best autograph day ever since Rory Mcilroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, KJ Choi and 22 others singed the flag as well. THE PRACTICE ROUNDS ARE WHERE IT’S AT!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

“The Event” happened when I was 14 years old in the summer of 2003. After a Patriots training camp I was waiting outside the facility after in hopes I could score some signatures on a cheap football my dad had picked for me. I was wearing my own school jersey and was filled with the dream that one day I was going to be just like them. I’d managed to come up with signatures from Marion Butts and Jon Vaughn when I saw that Andre Tippett had somehow escaped my net. He was almost at his car and I bolted to catch up with him. Nobody was around him so there was no chance he was going to get delayed by another fan. This would have to be an open field solo tackle before he made it down the sideline to his car. Right as Tippett reached his car, my Dad caught on that I’d run off and yelled my name in surprise. I turned and yelled over my shoulder that it was Andre Tippett. That was the plan anyways. I’d managed to get out “IT”S ANDRE TIPP…..” when I collided with a light pole. I had no idea what happened. When I lifted my head up from the ground Tippett was already sitting in his car. To my surprise, he got back out of his car and started walking over to me. He had tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Andre Tippett, but, he’s large enough without being a 14 year old staring up at him from your back in a parking lot. He leaned down and said “give me the ball.” He signed it and handed it back. After he handed it back he told me he only got out of the car because I didn’t drop the ball. I had about two seconds of renewed pride before he looked at my jersey and said “It isn’t good that something doesn’t have to be able to move to tackle you though. May want to work on that.”

FROM MOD: Winner of an autograph, which went previously unclaimed!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

“The Event” happened when I was 14 years old in the summer of 1992. After a Patriots training camp I was waiting outside the facility after in hopes I could score some signatures on a cheap football my dad had picked for me. I was wearing my own school jersey and was filled with the dream that one day I was going to be just like them. I’d managed to come up with signatures from Marion Butts and Jon Vaughn when I saw that Andre Tippett had somehow escaped my net. He was almost at his car and I bolted to catch up with him. Nobody was around him so there was no chance he was going to get delayed by another fan. This would have to be an open field solo tackle before he made it down the sideline to his car. Right as Tippett reached his car, my Dad caught on that I’d run off and yelled my name in surprise. I turned and yelled over my shoulder that it was Andre Tippett. That was the plan anyways. I’d managed to get out “IT”S ANDRE TIPP…..” when I collided with a light pole. I had no idea what happened. When I lifted my head up from the ground Tippett was already sitting in his car. To my surprise, he got back out of his car and started walking over to me. He had tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Andre Tippett, but, he’s large enough without being a 14 year old staring up at him from your back in a parking lot. He leaned down and said “give me the ball.” He signed it and handed it back. After he handed it back he told me he only got out of the car because I didn’t drop the ball. I had about two seconds of renewed pride before he looked at my jersey and said “It isn’t good that something doesn’t have to be able to move to tackle you though. May want to work on that.”

Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink
Corey

Strange things happen at the Circle K, but not in these two tales rather it was a DQ (Dairy Queen) and a Pizza Joint in the Bahammas. First the odd tale at the DQ. My buddy and I were trying to decide on what place to eat in Eldorado, Illinois where there was this annual Holiday Basketball Tournment (High School). I wanted Mcd’s and he wanted DQ. I reluctantly gave in and after we had ordered our food we sat down. I had forgotten the salt so I got up to get some but when I id saw this older gentleman who looked oddly familiar. I sat back down and asked my buddy if he knew who the guy was, all he did was shook his head, and continued eating. I couldn’t take it, I racked my brain, till all of a sudden it came to me. BOB LOVE. I looked at my buddy and said that is BOB LOVE. My buddy looked up at me and said, “Who?” “BOB LOVE.” “Who?” Bob Love of the Chicago Bulls. So I watched and watched because I hate it when people desturb people while they eat. But once he was finished it was like the flash I was over there hounding as you say. We talked for about 2 min. He was in town because a family member was playing in town. So he signed my DQ sandwich wrapper and he went off into the sunset.
My other story was when I was 12 and my family desided to go to the Bahammas for vaction one year. I want Disney World and they wanted the beach, not much a 12 year old has to say in matters such as that but ole well. Anyway back to my story. One day after hours of running around the beach my family decided to eat pizza. We got in line and was chatting it up when I say this big guy in front of us. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him that hair, those glasses, that look. I knew him but who was he? Then he went to order and his voice, I knew that voice it was Mike Ditka. Oh my goodness MIKE DITKA, DA BEARS. I couldn’t believe it. I turned to my parents and said, “That is Mike Ditka.” Once again I got a, “Who?” I don’t know why everyone I am with knows nothing of sports but they don’t. After he ordered, I said, “Mr. Ditka can I have your autograph?” After mom fished through her purse for a few mins. Mr. Ditka grabbed a paper plate and signed it and off he went. Anyway those are my auto stories and I have no idea why they were both in a food joint, I guess a guys got eat right? Thanks for reading.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
Ken

My greatest story is more of an amazing one in that it actually happened. Back in 2007 Columbus, Ohio was hosting the NHL Draft. I brought my best friend and my 10 year old son to the draft. My son wanted to go for many reasons, but most of all he wanted to get Wayne Gretzky’s autograph. We went to the 1st round on Friday night and the moment he saw Gretzky he wanted it, he has his hockey puck and a sharpie. After the 1st round was over we moved down where the teams were drafting and there were hundreds of people calling to Wayne to come over, he was not even looking over. My son goes up to the barricade about 30 feet from Wayne, smiles towards him and waves. Wayne stopped what he was doing, walked over and signed his puck and said hi, than walked away. No other autos. I turn around to my friend who had the camera and all he could do is look at me and said he was so shocked he missed the photo. My son slept with the puck for a year.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
Brian Blankenburg

My best autograph moment came in January, 1995 at the Burlington (Iowa) Bees winter banquet. They were inducting Billy Williams and Paul Molitor into the Bees HOF. Since I had advertised my small card shop in the Bees program during the 1994 season, I received a free ticket to the banquet and a free autograph ticket. So after the dinner and all the speeches, Paul Molitor consented to sign for us, and sign for the others in attendance for a nominal fee (I think $5) and then donated it back to the Bees. As most of you probably know, Mr. Molitor can be a gracious and willing signer when he asked at a good time. Anyway, he was wearing one of his World Series rings, and while he was signing my program he couldn’t help but notice me staring at it, since it was the first WS ring I had seen. After he signed he asked me “Would you like to take a closer look?” All I could do was nod yes, so he took the ring off and handed it to me. While I was looking, he signed a couple more autographs. Then I gingerly handed the ring back to him and thanked him profusely. How many other players would be as gracious to this small town baseball fan? In fact, he came back to Burlington a couple of years ago for the winter banquet as the guest speaker. As we were all leaving he asked me how I liked the ring? To be remembered was really great.

Brian Blankenburg, Donnellson, Iowa

Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
Brian Kosinski

Im 15 years old, and I went to spring training this year with my dad and my friend Tommy. We traveled down to Ft. Myers, Florida to visit the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins facilities. I actually have two stories. My first starts out on the second day of my trip. With the twins the guys I wanted to get was Joe Mauer and of course, Byron Buxton. We didn’t even see Joe Mauer besides in the games. But, on the second day I’m sitting on the bleachers by a practice field watching BP and I see Buxton walking to the building that holds the batting cages. I run as fast as i could to him and asked for his autograph. He turned to me and said “later, after i hit.” About 45 minutes go by and he comes back out. I asked him again for an auto and he said “after BP.” So he went to the field for BP. Phenominal hitter by the way. So he came back out after about an hour, and I asked him a third time. He said “after I field.” I wasn’t going to leave without his autograph. So after fielding practice ended he dropped all of his stuff and came out to sign my jersey for me. I was so happy. We waited almost 2 hours for his autograph. I yelled at my dad to get a ball and have him sign for him. So at the end of the day I got 2 Buxton autos. My second story happened the next day at the Red Sox training facility. We were all sitting by a nearby field watching fielding. Then the team cam out, but a whole area was fensed off just for them, so we couldn’t approach them. After the team left, I saw Pedro Martinez behind the outfield fence of a diamond in the fenced in area watching the game. While we were there we heard that he doesn’t like to sign because he doesn’t like crowds. So my friend Tommy and I went as close as we could get, which was about within 60 feet of him. I called his name, he just stared at me and went back to watching the game. I called his name again, the second time he stared at me. I called his name a third time, and he finally walked over and signed a jersey for me and a ball for my friend. Then a whole crowd came over, he signed like 3 more autographs and left. I was very happy that we got his auto since he doesn’t like to sign. On that same jersey I got Jon Lester too. Those days were the best of my life!! I went home thrilled.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
Shane

Shane
Honolulu
Barry Sanders was in Hawaii for an autograph session back in the late 90′s.
I paid $50 and could get ONE item signed. I had his ’89 Score Rookie card and wanted him to do something different – probably NEVER asked by a fan.
When I got up to Barry, he signed it, and I asked him “Can you rip the corner”? He was like, “WHAT? you’re gonna ruin the value”.
I told him that it would increase the personal value , and was my way of saying I would never sell it.
One of his bodyguards/buddies said “man that’s bad luck”. But Barry tore one of the corners and shook his head.
Makes a great story – everyone asks, “what the hell happened to the corner??” , instead of just having another autograph.

HOWEVER – it was only several months later when Barry shocked the world with his retirement. Till this day, my friends blame ME for jinxing him.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
Brian Blankenburg

Brian Blankenburg
Donnellson, Iowa

My best autograph moment was in January, 1995 at the Burlington (Iowa) Bees winter banquet. As I had advertised in the 1994 season program, I received a free banquet and autograph ticket. The Bees were inducting Billy Williams and Paul Molitor into the Bees HOF. Williams had a conflicting schedule, so only Molitor was there. After the banquet and speeches, Molitor graciously said he would sign after the banquet, those who didn’t have a ticket paid a small amount for the auto and Mr. Molitor donated it all back to the Bees. Anyway I got into line, and when it was my turn, I handed him my banquet program to sign. I noticed he was wearing one of his world series rings. Naturally, I stared at it because at that time it was the first one I had ever seen. When Paul finished signing he said, “Would you like to take a closer look?” All I could do was to nod my head yes. So he takes the ring off and hands it to me. So while I was looking at it, he signed a few more autos. Then I gingerly handed it back to him. How many other players would be so gracious to let a small town baseball fan like me? Then a couple of years ago, he was the guest speaker at the banquet again, and when we were leaving, I said in passing, thanks for showing me the ring, he took a look at me and said, “Right, you looked at it at the HOF banquet. It was amazing to me he remembered.

Brian Blankenburg
Donnellson, Iowa

Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
graham

Actually my wifes story.
She is a die hard Art monk fan and they had an article in the Washington Post right after his retirement.
There was a black and white picture of him standing against a tree on his property.(all they had back then)
My wife contacted the paper and was able to buy an 8×10 color blow up of the picture.
Well years later she went to an autograph session Art would be at and he was stunned to see that picture and wondered where she got it at.
The look on his face was priceless, thinking big time stalker.
He remembered the article and was very cordial and has signed stuff for my wife since then.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
Greg Barlow

My eventful meeting was with The Chairman himself, Vince McMahon. Some friends and i went to a hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma the night before Monday Night Raw . He was coming in to the hotel and my friends were freaking out. They couldn’t believe we were actualy lucky enough to meet the boss. He signed autographs and took pictures and cut up with us for a few minutes. Unlike his character on TV, he was very nice. I will forever be a fan of Vince McMahon and WWE.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
Toby Johnson

A little background… I ran my first fantasy baseball team was in 1987. Charlie Hough was the ace of my team, and a personal favorite in my card collection. I was 12 and loved the idea of a knuckleball.

Fast-forward about 21 years…

In 2008, I worked on a project as part of the Inland Empire 66ers Booster Club. We had permission from team management to approach, then pitching coach, Charlie Hough to sign 66 baseballs we could use for fundraising in the upcoming season. Charlie agreed to the project. I was stoked!

About two weeks before Spring Training was to begin, we were setting a time and place to meet so he could sign the baseballs. Charlie invited my friends, George & Denise, and me to his house! On a nice Saturday in February, we sat at Charlie Hough’s kitchen table talking baseball and getting 66 baseballs signed. We covered topics from his own days in the California League, to his major league career, and the best arms he was coaching in the minors.

Not only did I get his autograph, but I had a chance to get to know one of my heroes of the game. He may not have been an elite pitcher, but he’s one of the best ambassadors the game could have.

Toby
Riverside, CA

Posted December 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
Jon Rzepecki

Jon Rzepecki
Grand Rapids, MI
Two days before my 11th birthday the Packer Fan Tours had an event before their game with the Lions. My family took me to game in the nose-bleed seats of the Silverdome before, but this would be my first, and so far only, game at Lambeau Field.

I was already over the moon. The hotel had a swimming pool, and Goldeneye was on TV, but then we got to meet one of the old players that was at the meet and greet. My memory is fuzzy of Fuzzy for most of the conversation with Fuzzy Thurston, the great guard opposite Jerry Kramer and one of only three players to be on six national championship teams, but I do remember a couple things.

He looked like he played football from out of the womb. He was short and stocky and could probably move a car like Fred Flintstone no problem, Secondly, he spoke with a voice aid that was a shock to me at the time, and thirdly, he gave me his autograph.

It was the first time that I was face-to-face, and talked to, a pro football player. I don’t recall everything we talked about in the few minutes I sat next to him. I probably asked him what it was like to play in the NFL, and other starry-eyed questions a kid asks a man who played in front of thousands of people every Sunday. More importantly, however, it was the first autograph from a Green Bay Packer in my collection.

And then the Packers won.

Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
Richard Buck

I have been lucky enough over the years to obtain many hall of fame players and figures autographs. However the one that always stands out in my mind occurred in 1982 at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, OK. I was 24 years old at the time and the one thing I wanted most was an autograph from Arnold Palmer. I went for the last practice round on Thursday and while getting many autographs I could not close to him. I had tickets for the first round on Friday and I was still bound and determined. I waited and watch his every move until he was walking from the putting green to the 1st tee and got myself into the crowd surrounding him and for some reason he reached over took my souvenir program book and signed it for me. I said thanks and then I got to watch him tee off. To this day it is still the prize possession in my collection!

Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

I was in my early teens and I was at an air show that my dad’s company was sponsoring and Pappy Boyington was making an appearance. My dad was a Marine and I grew up hearing stories about Boyington so he was kind of a hero to me. I approached him while he was taking a break and when I got closer he looked at me and said something along the lines of “Let me guess you watched Baa Baa Black Sheep?” I nodded, he just ripped in to me using some words that were definitely not appropriate for a 12 year old to hear. He told me to “F-off” and go beg Robert Conrad (the actor who played Boyington in Black Sheep) for his autograph.

Needless to say I was devastated and just walked away with my head held down with one less hero in my eyes. A couple of hours later as the show was ending I saw Boyington near his trailer and surprisingly he called me over. He apologized because so many people had been approaching him all day thinking he was Robert Conrad and he assumed I was going to ask if he was Conrad. We ended up talking for at least an hour, he was surprised to hear a kid talk about his history in the Marines. He was a gruff man but his eyes just seemed to light up as the conversation went on. He signed an autograph for me and the best thing of all was that he waited with me for my father to finish so my dad could meet him too. It was definitely a roller coaster of an adventure and unfortunately the autograph is long lost but I still have the memory.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink
Mike

My family and I were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona. We had spent most of the week at the Dodgers Spring Training camp. I had overheard security talking about beefing up security for Sandy Koufax’s arrival the next day. I went to my wife, and we planned to have the kids up early to try to meet him and maybe get an autograph. I wanted to surprise my mom with an autographed baseball from him because he was her favorite ball player growing up, and her birthday was coming up on March 15th.
My family and I got up early that day, got the kids ready, and left our hotel. I figured we’d get some breakfast on the way there. Well, we got stuck in traffic. I got frustrated, and in my frustration, I forgot to stop to get food for everyone. When we got to Camelback Ranch there were TONS of people there. As we’re walking around, we’re hearing both excitement and disappointment from the people in the crowd because apparently Mr. Koufax had shown up, signed some autographs, and then headed into the clubhouse. I found one of the security guards and he confirmed what I had heard. What’s worse was he had already left the complex by the time we got there and no one knew if he’d be back. This was all on a Saturday, and we had to head back home that Sunday night because I had to work on Monday.
Disappointed, I grabbed my family, and we headed back to the hotel. On the way back, my wife decided that she wanted to go to a restaurant to sit down to eat. I told her I wasn’t feeling up to it, so she took the kids to Denny’s. I got bored in my room, so I headed downstairs. As I’m walking out of the lobby, Sandy Koufax is walking in all by himself! I got SO EXCITED! I rushed back up to my room to grab a ball. On the way back down, I called my wife and implored her to come back! She said they had just gotten their food and were about to eat. I was hoping Mr. Koufax would still be in the lobby when I got back. He wasn’t. I decided to wait outside, just in case he came back out, hoping I hadn’t missed my chance. I found a bench and sat down. I had been sitting for maybe five minutes when I look up to see Mr. Koufax walking out of the hotel. I was so nervous! I walked up to him and asked as politely as I could (stuttering the whole time) if I could have his autograph. I tried to make small talk with him. He was as polite as could be. That’s when I sent up a “hail mary”. I told him my mother’s birthday was on March 15th. I asked, “Mr. Koufax, if I were to call my mother on the phone, would you please speak to her?” He smiled and said, “Sure!” In my head I’m going crazy by this time.
I called my mom at work. I was so worried that she wouldn’t answer, but she DID! I told her,”Mom, I have Mr. Koufax here and he’d like to speak to you”. She thought I was joking. I handed him the phone. They talked for just a few minutes, but he remembered to wish her a happy birthday! I nearly cried when he handed my phone back to me. He shook my hand, I said, “thank you, so much”. I wanted to hug him! I didn’t though. He walked away, and I just stood there in awe.
I almost forgot that my mom was still on the phone. I must have sounded shaken because my mom asked me if I was ok. She sounded like she was crying too. We hung up the phone. I gave her the ball on her birthday. My wife showed up about an hour later, and I was still in disbelief. She asked me what happened. I told her the story of that time Sandy Koufax called my momma to wish her a happy birthday.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

It was the early 90s and I was a tennis playing teen. I was participating in a tennis camp and as a treat we were brought to a USTA match to watch Michael Stich play some poor schmo who had the unenviable task of trying to return one of Stich’s 100+ MPH serves. Before the match, the announcer thanked Wayne Gretzky for attending the match. I wasn’t a huge hockey fan or anything, but we’re talking about “The Great One.” My buddy and I were in disbelief. We PLAYed tennis and we didn’t even watch the sport, but right there across the court was perhaps the best hockey player of our generation enjoying a match. Needless to say, we spent a good part of the match watching him instead of the actual tennis that was being played.

Close to the end of the match, Gretzky figures he’s seen enough and gets up to leave. I turn to my buddy and we quickly decide that we must go and try to get his autograph. What happened next was like some cheesy slo-mo movie action scene. We quickly recognized that there were a few problems with our autograph quest. Something for him to sign and something for him to sign with. Not only that, but he was all the way across the stadium and we had no way of figuring out which way to cut him off. We quickly decided on a plan of action. We would get Gretzky to sign our cold hard cash and I would go to a souvenir stand to purchase a pen while my friend chased him down. It was a long shot, but we were a couple of teens with a plan. As we run out of our seating section, we are in luck and see him off in the distance walking towards the exit. My friend starts making a beeline and I rushed to a thankfully nearby souvenir stand and quickly purchase a pen. As I’m doing this, my friend closed in on Gretzky and as he’s asking for a couple of autographs for a couple of star struck teens, I toss him the pen with a shovel pass and he catches it perfectly for a hand-off to Gretzky. He graciously signed our one dollar bills and was on his way leaving two breathless teens admiring the freshly inked bills in our hands. It’s not the best example of a Wayne Gretzky autograph, but I still have that dollar bill and the pen he signed it with tucked safely away in my home safe.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink
Brian Bennett

Shortly after my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, won the World Series I discovered that my hero, David Justice,was going to be in Nashville, TN at a collectors expo signing autographs. Since I live only an hour away from there I begged my mother to take me. I remember the line was ridiculous and I had brought my commemorative 1995 World Series ball and my favorite Justice card to be signed. I made it all the way into the hallway waiting in line to enter the room and out walked Mr. Justice and stood directly in front of me and addressed the crowd. He said he was running late because he had signed so much and that he would sign for the next 10 kids only, and would sign one item. We walked back in the room. I was fortunate enough to be the third or fourth kid in line, and I got to pass several adults. I chose my baseball to be signed and still have it on display 18 years later. I have collected autographs since then but that was by far my greatest success.
Brian Bennett
Cookeville,TN

Posted December 10, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink
scott d

My dad took me to a Durham Bulls game as a kid; we were sitting watching bp when my das got excited and pointed at an elderly man walking towards the field. My dad handed me a ball he had caught and a pen and told me to go ask him to sign it. I dont recall how old I was, but wasnt old enough to realize i was supposed to stop at the gate as i followed him onto the field and into the dugout. The old man took a seat in the dugout and looked at me oddly then laughed as i asked for his autograph. This Luke Appling ball still sits on my shelf, along with hundreds of others that followed my first autograph.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink
Zach Thiel

I did a ton of work to help save a D3 baseball program (University of Wisconsin La Crosse) from being cut from the school budget. I had created a website and basically reached out to the media over a 18 month period drumming up support to raise money to save the program from extinction.

As a fundraiser we held a banquet that featured Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Jim Gantner. It was a historic event. The best part was every table at the banquet received a stack of autographed baseball’s by the three Brewer players. So I was given the opportunity to hangout in their hotel room suite for 2 hours as they signed the balls and talked “baseball” stories. It was an incredible experience one I will never forget.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink
Max L

Just last year, Ryan Zimmerman was doing an autograph signing in my town. As a huge nationals fan, I had to go. When I got there, though, a huge line was waiting. I stood in line for what seemed like hours, but I finally made it to the autograph table and got a ball signed by Mr. Zimmerman. As I started to leave, someone announced that a raffle was starting for a signed Zimmerman jersey. My raffle ticket in hand, I waited anxiously to hear the winning numbers. As they were called off, I realized that I didn’t have the winning ticket. However, no one came up to claim their prize. At least five more tickets were drawn, with no owners, until my number was called! I won the jersey of my favorite player, and it now hangs framed on my wall. I have to say that was a day I’ll never forget!

Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink
Ron Atkinson

My greatest autograph moment will always be the one I had at old Seals Stadium in San Francisco in 1959. The Giants had just moved from New York the year before and it was my first major league game. My grandmother (God bless her wonderful memory) took me. After the game, the details of which are very blurry, she told me she would wait outside the stadium while I tried to get some player autographs. First I located Leon Wagner who signed my piece of lined paper with his beautiful big signature. Then I joined a huge throng of kids trying to get recent call-up Willie McCovey’s sig. That was hopeless so I went around the corner and saw a player with just a few kids around him. He dutifully signed for all of us. I really didn’t know who he was until I looked at the auto…it was Willie Mays!!! I still have the cut sig, framed with a 1959 Topps Wille Mays card!

Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink
Ian Gibbs

The last year of municipal stadium in Cleveland we waited outside the stadium for players after the Indians were hammered by the yankees. I was young and it was the 1st time I had ever done this for a professional game. We got a ton of autoraphs, mostly from people I didnt recognize, but just before we left Albert Belle came out and signed everything for every last person. I was totally in awe. I tried to get it again, but never again did I see him sign. Its one that I cherish and will give to my son, even though it is fading. Obviously, as time went by, I heard he wasn’t such a nice guy, but because of that day he will always be in my favor.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink
Clint Spencer

In 1968 I was in St Louis for a three game weekend series with the Cubs (which the Cardinals lost. But that is for another time). After the Sunday game, I waited across the street in the parking garage where the players parked their cars. After a while the player I was waiting for (Orlando Cepeda) walked in. After waiting for him to sign autographs for several other kids, I jumped in the elevator with him and another guy. With pen in hand and a small poster I waited for him to sign for me. After the elevator stopped on every floor, the pen would not write so when we got to his floor he handed it back and said sorry as he stepped off. Needless to say I didn’t get his autograph but I did get to ride in the elevator for several minutes with him.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
Allen Shen

Here’s a true and good story for you all. When I was 12 years old, my father took me to an Oakland Athletics game back when the Bash Brothers were crushing. We had great seats and 4-5 rows ahead of us was Mr. October, Reggie Jackson. The Yankees were in town that day and Jackson had on a NY Yankees cap. In the middle of the game I saw a kid probably 7-8 years old go up to him with a ball and pen. He asked Reggie for an autograph and he happily obliged. Jackson signed the ball, handed it back to him and I saw the kid run up the steps with a huge smile back to where his parents were sitting. As he was running past us he stopped and said, “huh? It’s signed Willie Mays?!?!”. This is why I despise Reggie Jackson…sorry if you thought this was going to be a story with a happy ending.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
Mitch Kalman

In 1991 my wife surprised me with a trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame for the 100th Anniversary of Dr. Naismith inventing this great game that we all love, basketball. My pregnant wife and I were staying at the Marriott Hotel a few miles away from the Hall. As a collector and autograph hound of Basketball Hall of Fame members, we decide to mill around in the lobby. Two elderly gentlemen who I did not recognize were sitting on the couch and started talking to my wife about her upcoming pregnancy. One of the gentlemen was Hall of Fame coach, Harry Litwack, former Temple Basketball coach and member of the Philadelphia Sphas. The other was Hall of Fame referee J. Dallss Shirley. They asked if we were going to the Hall and was wondering if they could grab a ride. After we transported them to the Hall, they were very grateful and wanted to provide a personal tour of the Hall and show us their Enshrinement plagues and memorabilia the hall displayed. After the hall they graciously autographed my Metallic and Center Court Hall of Fame cards.
Harry Litwack and J. Dallas became lifelong friends to my wife and I. When I arrived home in Connecticut, J. Dallas sent me a personal autograph thank you and referee whistle for my son and I. The weekend and festivities at the Hall was one my wife and I will never forget.

Years later when I moved to Reston, VA I became a High School basketball official. I remembered the packages I received from J. Dallas and was curious as to the return address. It was from Reston VA, a mile away from my current residence.

It was very emotional as J. Dallas past away just a year before I relocated to Reston, VA.

He never got to see me ref a game.

But I will always have Harry Litwack and J. Dallas Shirley remembered in my heart forever.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
Brad Reese

Back in 2006, my wife and I took our 4 year old son Brady to Camden Yards to see the Yankees and the Orioles play. Our seats were just down from the Yankees dugout and for weeks my son talked about getting Derek Jeter’s autograph and I kept telling him that he might be disappointed that it is hard to get. So about an hour before the game Chien Ming Wang and Kyle Farnsworth came from the outfield toward the dugout and all of a sudden everybody climbed over the barriers and pushed down toward the wall and my son was down there and being squashed. My wife had to push through all the supposed “adults” and get him. So now he is crying and scared. But then he was down by the dugout about 10 minutes before the game and was yelling Mr. Jeter and the lady seating by the dugout looked down and said that Jeter just signed your little boys baseball. It was amazing to see how just getting that autograph wiped away that little boys tears. He still talks about that day even 7 years later. That is my best autograph story!

Posted December 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
ernest lantto

i was 9 years old and my dad took me to a new little ceasers pizza shop and i got to meet my favorite detroit tiger mickey lolich and he signed the baseball i brought with me and he shook my hand and to this day it is my favorite autograph ever. it means more to me than my 2001 ty cobb cut auto.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
Bryan George

Back in the good ol’ days of visiting teams playing in each city twice a year, you would have a chance to see your favorite player more than once a year if he was a member of a visiting team. The great thing about old Arlington Stadium (home of the Rangers) was the fact that many teams stayed at the hotel just beyond the right field stands. Since it is only about 100 yards, many players would just walk to the stadium from the hotel. When the Royals first came through for the first visit of 1991, George Brett was very accommodating & signed for everyone. I asked him as he was signing my card if he had received the Charlie Lau card that I had mailed to him. Being a George Brett fan growing up, I knew a lot about him & his history. Charlie Lau was who basically turn George into the HOF hitter that he became. George replied “No, but thanks for sending it.”
During the Royals second visit to Arlington of 1991, George was not in a very good mood on his stroll to the stadium. He was ranting about how we need to get a life; there are better things to do, etc… (cleaned up for family reading), I just ignored the rant & kept up with him stride for stride & mentioned that during his last trip to Arlington I had asked him about the Charlie Lau card and that I had one with me that I wanted to give him. At this point, we are near the gate where the security guard stands to ensure only players go down the ramp to the clubhouse. George stops dead in his tracks, looks at me & says “Thank you so much. You are alright. Give me your picture. What is your name?” I hand him the 8X10 that I have with me. He signs it, ‘To Bryan, My Best to You Always. Thanks George Brett’. I then very nervously ask if he will take a picture with me. He says “Hell Yes!”. The picture turns out pretty good, George is smiling from ear to ear & I have a dumb look on my face. So I laugh every time I see it but it has a story with it that I will never forget.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
Kevin Stary

My first autograph experience came when I was 14, just 3 years into collecting cards. We were vacationing in Des Moines, Ia and we took in an Iowa Cubs game. Of course my brother and I had our stacks of cards hoping to get some high profile autographs of who else but Lance Dickson, Derrick May, the great Gary Scott and oh yeah, some guy named Joe Girardi, all of which were graciously kind to sign. My more obscure autograph from that day though is the player who ungraciously signed. I had a program to obtain signatures of players I did not have cards of. I was in line on the other side of the railing like all the other kids and I remember dangling my program over the railing to try to catch the eye of a player, I think a pitcher, to sign my program. Again I was 14, so I wasn’t quite mature enough to know autograph etiquette at the time so I may have gotten my program a little too close the the players face and the player grabbed my program and signed it, then stated to me, “next time get that program out of my face” only to find out that the player who signed it was the great “Joe Blow”; which I never did find out who actually signed it. I was a little disappointed when I brought the program back to my parents to show them my autographs I was proud to get, and just remember my parents laughing when I showed them the faux signature.

My other only autograph experience is my favorite one, when I worked security at the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta as a 19 year old. My buddy and I worked security at the arena where the dream team 2 played. I was roaming around as the game ended and got asked to help send people through the back doors of the arena, where I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to catch at least a glimpse of the dream team. Well that ended up being a good place to be because the entire dream team walked right by me. As a policy we were told not to ask for autographs, but I thought to myself, this is a chance of a life time I will never get again so it won’t hurt to ask for just one, considering the adult guard working next to me just asked for Hakeem Olajuwon’s. Next in line was Karl Malone who towered over my by just a few feet. When he walked by,I had my note pad out and asked… “Mr. Malone, can I please have your autograph” to which he replied “son, how old are you” I replied my age then he retorted “then you have to call me Mr.” to which he started laughing as he signed my notepad and walked away. I know Mr. Malone has gotten a bad rap over the years, but I was walking on cloud nine that night and to this day have the utmost respect for Mr. Malone for taking the time to sign for me and joke around with me which met the world to me. To this day, now after 25 years of collecting , that Karl Malone autograph is one of my favorite pieces.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
Dan

I was 6 years old, soon to be going to a SF Giants Spring Training game in Scottsdale, AZ. I was going through my collection pulling the cards that I thought that I could get signed at the game. I came across a 1983 Topps Greg Mitton Record Breakers card. I left the card in the box thinking if this guy broke a record noteworthy enough to have a card dedicated to the event, he was surely too famous have time to sign for me. Sure enough, at the game I see Greg signing. I sprinted over as fast as I could, grabbing a discarded popcorn box along the way. I got there just as he was walking away, and shoved the popcorn box at him along with a ball point pen. He laughed and commented that signing my popcorn box was the highlight of his career. Everyone within ear shot laughed, but I still have my popcorn signature of “Record Breaker” Greg Mitton.

I’m also compelled to acknowledge wonderful memories of meeting Bart Starr, Paul Molitor and Brooks Robinson. I’d be shocked if there are three more gracious and humble superstars in sports.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
Derek Frank

I have been, and always will be a die-hard Dodgers fan, and I got the opportunity to go to Spring Training before the 2010 season. We were visiting family in Meas, and my wife relented, because she knew how BADLY I wanted to go. So we packed up and set off for Camelback Ranch. Being from Montana, I didn’t anticipate the amount of traffic there would be, and we showed up about 45 minutes before the first pitch. As we were walking in the gate, I saw a gentleman sitting at a table signing, but we kept walking. I looked back through the bars, and recognized the great manager, Tommy Lasorda! I gave my wife the tickets and ran back to the table with my ball and pen I had brought with me. Just as I got there, he was being shuffled into his golf cart, and his handlers stated that he was done signing. JUST missed him, and I was more than a tad miffed.

We found some seats in the grass, and I took my youngest daughter, who was just 2, to see what players were signing by the field. As we sauntered down there, I noticed that Joe Torre, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier were signing. There were huge crowds surrounding the players, and didn’t think I would make it down there. Torre and Kemp finished signing, but Ethier stayed signing as much as he could. I had no way to reach out to him, but my daughter was up on my shoulders holding the ball and pen. I told her to ask him to sign the ball, but she was so embarrassed! He overheard her saying “no”, and stopped signing, looked her in the eyes, and said “its ok little lady, you can talk to me.” She got so red in the face, and leaned over everyone to give him the ball. Andre signed the ball, handed it back, and told her how adorable she was. My daughter softly said “thank you”, but just loud enough for him to acknowledge with a wave.

That ball now sits on our wall of signed balls, and she is the first one to tell you how we got him to sign it. Which lead to a Fathead of Andre Ethier going up on her wall. Just a class act of a player, and I hope the Dodgers never part with him.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
Nick Mikulicich Jr.

In 1996 I was at a convention in San Diego and was having dinner in the hotel restaurant when I realized that Jim Brown was having dinner a couple tables over from me. I wasn’t exactly prepared for getting autographs. Luckily I did have a pen on me. At the end of dinner I went over to his table and asked if he would sign the only signable thing I had on me – the sports section of that day’s paper. He graciously did.
It’s still the oddest place I’ve ever gotten an autograph.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
Justin Londagin

Chipper Jones was in town for a hunting expo. I guess he was promoting his hunting show. So he is suppose to be doing autographs for the whole weekend. I get up and go on Saturday, taking my son with me. I also take both of my Jones’ rookie cards (Topps and Upper Deck). There is a line when we get there so me and my son walk around and check out the hunting stuff. We go back and the line is gone, but they had stopped autographs for a break. So we wait and wait, told Chipper will start signing soon. After a few more minutes he starts shaking hands with the guys running the show. I ask someone if Chipper is leaving, and am told yes, he has a private function to get to. Pissed, as I had paid $10 to enter just for his autograph. I ask for a sharpie and go to the back side of the autograph area. As I reach the backside, there is Chipper. I ask for his autographs and receive them. Success was had.

Oh, and I also got some guy named Gov George Bush autograph at a Texas Motor Speedway race in 1999.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
Travis Leflar

Well living in South Florida of course there’s tons of stories I could w/ like following Steve Young in a mall in 95, but I’m going with my very first & still favorite in-person auto.

April 1993, 2nd ever Marlins game in their existence, they’re playing the Dodgers. My parents got awesome 4th row seats, right @ 1st Base, on the aisle. Have the “Founders” section right in front of us which was 3 rows right on the field, real expensive.

It’s the going in to the 2nd half of 2nd inning. All of a sudden our whole section just starts yellin “Hey yo Danny!” “Dan’s the Man” “Let’s Go Dolphins”. Me being a lil kid, this being only my 2nd ever MLB & not knowing whats going on, I just sit there. When everyone sits down, I can see what’s happened. DAN MARINO IS SITTING LITERALLY 12 FEET AWAY!!!!

I just sat there smiling the whole time cause he was my fave player. My dad caught me watching Marino instead of the game & said “Why dont you go say hi, see if he’ll sign your glove?” I got up, took some very awkward tiny steps down towards him. Everyone starts yelling “Hey kid, down in front!” & since I didnt know what that meant, I ran right back to my seats.

My dad’s laughing & told me they were meaning just crouch down cause they cant’t see thru you. So I literally crawled on my hands and knees back the 12ft, sat down on the steps next to him & didn’t say one word for easily a whole inning cause I was just happy to be watching MLB sitting next to him, and was a lil shy when I was a kid (LOL you can stop laughin now Chris cause yes @ one point I was a quiet person).

He then turned to me, said “How ya doin kid? Enjoying this game? You ever come see me play?” Told him a couple stories of going to games but didnt like cause sat up top rows. But, I sat there BS’n w/ Dan Marino for the next inning! Was with him from about the 3rd to the 6th innings in total.

When I got up to go back to my seat, after watching him turn down literally the whole 400+ ppl in the section that wanted autographs, he said “Hey Travis, Let me see that glove” & that is how I’m probably the only person in the world that has arguably the greatest NFL QB ever on a Rawlings baseball glove.

Thanks for allowing me to share & bring back a great memory! GO MARLINS!!!

Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
David Wicker

Back in the 1994 we had a card show here in Memphis that had Rookie of the Year Jerome Bettis appearing for autographs. Sitting with him on stage and a relatively unknown Rams Draft pick at the time was Issac Bruce. As the show began and the autograph seekers began to line up, Bettis had a line that measured a hundred yards long. My friends and I who were new dealers at the time watched as the line grew and grew, while Issac sat there with nothing to do…no one would even pay the five bucks to get anything signed by him. So as the signing was wrapping up, I decided that Issac Bruce needed some hometown love and I went and bought the only ticket they sold all day. I went up on the stage and as I got there Issac look surprised that I was holding a ticket for him to sign an item. I looked at him and said, “Go Tigers.” He grinned and asked what all did I want signed. I handed over a football and a few cards and he signed them all. As he was finishing, Bettis looked over and said is that your first one all day? Issac said naw man you just missed my line because you were so busy. I laughed and Bettis said I was smart to have bought his autograph, because one day Bruce was going to be pretty good. I agreed and as I started to leave and they were walking off stage Issac grabbed the football and tossed it to Bettis and asked him to sign it so I would have the autographs of two Rookies of the Year. It may not ahve come true, but now I have a ball with two Hall of Famers on it. (I know Bruce isn’t there yet, but he will be.)

Posted December 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
Cory Furlong

Great stories all!

My most memorable autograph was my very first one. The spring of 1985 my father took my sister and I to Florida for the first time. I was 13 and had just started collecting in 1982. The second day of the trip we went to the Houston Astros camp and it was a moment I will never forget but at the time didn’t realize how rare of an experience it was. We got to the training facility in Kissimmee mid-morning and there was not much of a crowd. My father pointed out Bert Campaneris to me. I ran up and asked for an autograph and he said “Get me after practice”. Somewhat dejected we wandered around to the other fields. I notice Joe Niekro leaving one of the fields. I walked up to him, asked for an autograph and he was more than friendly.

I looked out on the field that Niekro had just left. A familiar looking person was in the batter’s box practicing bunting. It is none other than Nolan Ryan. Shortly thereafter he came off the field with bat and cleats in hand. I immediately ask him for an autograph, he replied “Sure, can you hold my shoes for me?” He signed an Astros spring training roster list for me. Then he posed with me for a picture and off he went. It wasn’t until years later I figured out how rare this was. Some of my friends were looking through some photo albums lying around my house and one of them exclaimed “You got your picture taken with The Express?” I lost the autograph through the years but I still have the picture cleats in hand.

P.S. Yogi was there and walked right by me. Never knew his autograph would ever be in demand.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

I’ve done a lot of hounding through the years but my first one will always be memorable. I was around 11 years old and used to walk by this variety store on my way to and from school. I would stop and buy some gum or candy on occasion. When I was younger, it was just Tommy Grant’s variety. When I became a CFL football fan, I figured out that this must be one of my football heroes store. So I carried his 1962 Topps CFL card # 66 with me and hoping I could get him to sign it. Then one day, there he was, sitting there and having a coffee at the counter. I mustered up my courage to ask him to sign my card. He did and I was in heaven. I still have and cherish that card today. It was the beginning of a long time hobby. All started with one signature to a star struck kid.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
Jim Boehm

I was staying at the Chicago Hyatt in 1990 while the Philadelphia 76′ers were in town to play the Bulls. I met a few players in the lobby and got their autographs (Johnny Dawkins, Hersey Hawkins, and Mike Gminski). I asked if Charles Barkley was around. Mike Gminiski said he should be coming down the escalator any second. Being 16, and a basketball fan, I was excited. Sure enough Charles was coming down the escalator and I stood at the bottom waiting to ask for an autograph. As soon as Charles reached the bottom he started to run to the door. I was the only one standing there and he barreled into me knocking me to the ground. I never got my autograph, but he did get a “number 1″ salute from me.

Posted December 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
Michael Campbell

My most memorable autograph was a very recent one. About 7 years ago my mother was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. It’s a condition that develops scar tissue in the lungs and has no known cause or cure. Recently this year she was told it was time for her to pursue a lung transplant. Luckily all her medical bills could be paid for through her insurance. However, she was told that she would need to expect to spend $20,000 out of pocket for after care expenses. These expenses are rent because she has to live in another state for the transplant. As well as prescriptions and travel i.e. gas.

So my sisters and I decided to start raising money for her and we threw a “House Divided” party for the 2013 football season opening game of Clemson University vs. University of Georgia. I work at Clemson and grew up in the town with my sisters. My oldest sister went to UGA so the theme fit pretty well. We planned to have a little auction at the party as well to raise more money.

I challenged my sister to to a best auction prize. I immediately started using any and all connections and got the ok and phone number to get in touch with Clemson’s Head Coach Dabo Swinney. I called and told him what I was looking for and by the end of my work day I had a signed Nike football from him. I know Dabo isn’t the best of autos but it really was the fact that in his busy pre season schedule he responded so quickly. We auctioned the ball of and got $600 for it. I’m also happy to say that just my simple networking, we have raised nearly $16,000 in just 5 months and my mother will be listed next week in hope of getting a new lung for Christmas.

Posted December 11, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink
Justin Credible

My craziest Autograph card moment was actually Panini Black Friday packs. The store owner told me he had a bunch of them leftover and said that if I bough a few boxes he’d give them to me since I have been a loyal customer to them.

Wasn’t sure on this gimmick and this store has a high traffic volume so not the kind that you can bust a box in. However, the owner was really interested to see what these cards looked like so I agreed to open these.

I had 4 Black Friday packs which I can’t remember how many cards per pack.

At the end of it I ended with a Kobe Bryan 09-10 Autographed All-Star Patch #24 of 49 AND a 2010 Tim Tebow AUTO RC!!! That’s better pulls then 99% of BOXES I’ve bought let alone FOUR packs!! The look on the owner’s face was kind of priceless. He had just been hanging onto them and may have found them earlier that day and decided to use it to upsell me to buy that extra box. Once I pulled those, he was sick because he could’ve opened maybe one and pulled one of those cards for sale.

LOVE Black Friday packs now and CHASE them!!!

JC

Posted December 11, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink
Dan

On the flip side, my WORST autograph experience came a couple of months ago. During October at the AZ Fall League, I was part of a small crowd of people waiting to get a signature from Byron Buxton. I was too far back to hear exactly what was going on, but Buxton had stopped signing because a “professional” autograph hound got mad at Buxton when he wouldn’t sign more than one auto per person. When this class act didn’t get multiple autos, he got mad and called Buxton a “stupid n****r.” The entire incident left me sick to my stomache, and forced me to rethink how much I want to be part of the autograph hound pack.

Posted December 11, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink
George Rombach

I started collecting autographs as 9 year old attending many games at Three Rivers Stadium. It began by just having players sign before the game along the railing while the players where taking batting and fielding practice. It was always a gamble on who felt like signing that day. I even had some success during the NLCS in 1990-92 with the Reds and Braves.
My most amazing autograph experience was during the 1994 All Star game week in Pittsburgh. My friends and I wanted to try get an autograph for each of the All Stars. I was not a greedy collecter and only had one card for each player. We had struck out during the Home Run derby. Early on the All Star day, we headed over to the hotel that they were staying. We got a few players as they were heading out to grab breakfast but still had a way to go to accomplish my goal. Several players mentioned that they had a mandatory Players Union meeting to attend before departing for the stadium. During a lull in activity, I made my way into the hotel lobby to use the restroom. As I’m walking in, I ran into Moises Alou coming out. I asked for his autograph and told him my goal of getting the entire team’s signature. Alou told me to follow him and escorted me into the ballroom where the players we congregating and past the security guards. He told them that I was with him. Once inside he turned me loose and I was able to get every player’s autograph from the American League and National League All Star teams.
I was so excited to get autographs from Griffey, Thomas, Maddux, Ripken, and Gwynn among others. Even the players who are normally reluctant to sign like Bonds obliged my request. Before leaving, I thanked Moises Alou again and made my way out.
Back outside, my friends and father were wondering what had happened to me. This was the highlight of an amazing All Star week experience and a memory I will never forget. It goes to show that by being polite and asking, sometimes you can get what you want.

Posted December 11, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink
Jason

I’ve never been a big autograph seeker but love getting them in packs. In 1986 I made it to the national finals for the Hershey Track Meet. Michael Jordan was the MC and I was able to get his autograph. He was very approachable and I actually spent about 3 minutes talking to him. Pretty cool for a nine year old.

On a negative side in 2000 I was employed by the Detroit Tigers. My parents were visiting for a weekend series against the Yankees so I got them into the stadium about three hours before the gates opened and we were the only three people in the park. As we were sitting in the front row near the first base dugout and my parents wearing their Yankee hats (insert Elaine Benes joke here) a fourth person walked right in front of us, it was Bernie Williams. My mom politely said “Hi Bernie, I’m a big fan” and all he did was shake his head, put out his hand as to say “stop” and verbally said “sorry.”
I am 100% against bothering people for autos as I’ve seen how often these guys get hounded. Bernie proved that they are so conditioned to say no that he didn’t even hear the words my mom said and looked like a jerk in doing so. Again, keep in mind that there were only three of us in the park at the time.

Thanks,
Jason – Tampa, FL

Posted December 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
Edwin S. Garb

I remember when Tim Duncan & Wake Forest played at Mizzou in Columbia, MO. where I grew up back in February 1997, and I was a few months away from being 15. We got beat up pretty badly by the Demon Deacons and Duncan had an all around great game as he always has from that time into his pro years. Despite the Tigers getting beat handily at home, I was in awe of how fundamental he was not only in the post, but almost as good at dribbling in the post with his back to the basket, like one of my all time favorite true PF/Centers Hakeem Olajuwon. I got to shake hands with Duncan and he asked me if I had a pen on me, offered to sign the basketball (even though it was a black & gold Mizzou basketball) I had, even my program where his picture/bio were at too…and right as I was about to get his signatures he’d offered to me a bunch of reporters who were outside the Hearnes Center started rushing towards the Wake Forest team bus so one of his teammates (Tony Rutland) said the coaches wanted Tim to get on the team bus or away from the crowds at least. Duncan said “I’m sorry man, wish you had caught me just a minute or two before now so I could’ve signed that ball and the program too.” He gave me a pat on the shoulder, handed the ball back to me that he was palming easily with one big hand, smiled & said “thanks for understanding kid, most people don’t, so I’m glad you’re not taking it personally because I’d feel bad if you did, take it easy and be good.” Although it was extremely disappointing not to get the autographs from Duncan he was at least polite and didn’t treat me as if I was a nuisance and still shook my hand and talked to me. It also was a learning lesson for how to approach athletes or other people who I’d want an autograph from later if another opportunity like that came in the future. So I’ll always respect “The Big Fundamental” even though I came up empty on getting the autographs since he was so polite when he honestly could’ve just said I’m sorry but I’ve gotta run kid and chose to say a few things to me before walking away. I got a cool story to tell my friends in my freshman high school class at school the next week who loved sports at least though, right?

-ESG

Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

I am a huge, and i mean HUGE Adam Rosales fan. When I was maybe 10 or 11 years old I followed him when he was in triple A Louisville for the Cincinnati Reds. He would always sign for fans, but somehow i was always in the restroom, at the concession stand, somewhere where he wasn’t. Well one day before going to a Reds game in september when he was called up, and for a 7 o’clock game got to the ballpark around 2 to go to the club shop and eat with some friends. Well there he is. We were standing outside the club shop waiting for it to open when Adam walked up with Iphone in hand and just sat there waiting with us as well. At first glance I didnt think it was him. But after a few quick glances I was assured, it was the man himself. Still about 20 minutes before the doors opened, My grandfather and I are sitting there next to my favorite ball player. Not long after he signed a few things for me, we took pictures and just talked baseball for a good half hour or so. I love the way he plays the game along with how he treats fans and how he goes along with his business. Class act, both on the field, and off. Well, not long after that amazing day, he was traded to the Oakland A’s. I cried for a few hours. But hey, at least the Reds got rid of Willy Taveras, never did like that guy.

Im Ryan, Im 14 years old, and thats a wrap.
-Batesville, Indiana

Posted December 12, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink
Nick Tegeler

When I was in middle school my family and I lived in Adrian, Michigan and every summer my dad would take me to 2-4 Detroit Tigers games. Every year he would ask me who I wanted to see them play and since I am and was a huge Yankees fan I would always say the Yankees. For the first couple of years he couldn’t get tickets for the games that the Yankees were going to be there. Finally he did and he would always get me a baseball and take me early to try to get autographs when they were taking batting practice. While most people were trying to get Cecil Fielder’s autograph, I of course went over to the Yankee side. Right there before my very eyes was none other than my favorite baseball player Don Mattingly hitting balls off a tee. Everyone was yelling “Mr. Mattingly” and he wouldn’t even hardly look over. I started to panic and said “I am form Evansville, Indiana” and then he looked up, smiled and walked over to me and signed my baseball while asking me things about the city that we were both from. Then he looked over his shoulder and said “Hey, Steve come over here for a minute” and the starting second baseman Steve Sax came over and Donnie told him to sign my ball so I got both autographs on the ball that day. That is probably one of my top 10 memories growing up, there are more stories than that but I will save them for another day.

Nick Tegeler
Lawrenceville, Illinois

Nick Tegeler

Posted December 12, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink
Rob

2013 Masters

As y’all know, Augusta National prohibits autograph chasing and personal photography during The Masters golf tournament. However, during Friday’s round this year, a buddy of mine and I were walking down one of the fairways when another attendee said, “Look, there’s Wayne Gretzky.”

Sure enough, hockey’s greatest of all time – clad in shorts and flip flops – was making his way down the same path we were, just ahead of us. Though asking golfers for autographs is against the rules, I didn’t know of any rule against asking other golf fans for autographs. So, as soon as I spotted Gretzky, I took off after him, as inconspicuously as possible, and caught up with the hockey great on the next hole.

I – quietly – asked him if he had time to sign an index card for me – yes, I had a stack of 3x5s and a Sharpie on me – and he said he’d be glad to.

Posted December 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
TS

At a Saturday day game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in about 1974-75, I walked down to the dugout and asked a player standing there to autograph my program. He told me that they get fined if they do it before the game, but come back after and he sign for me. I figured out the player’s name (Tom Hilgendorf) and of course he did not stay around to meet me three hours later. Ebay now exists, I can find autographed Topps cards of him selling for a few dollars, and I have yet to purchase one.

Posted December 16, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink
Jason K

I’ve got a ton of stories, and I will have a hard time deciding which one to tell here.

I could tell the one about my silver sharpie leaking all over Derrick Robinson’s hands. Or, the one when Danny Duffy (probably the classiest, most down to earth guy I’ve ever met) stepped in gum as he was signing for some kids.

I’ve told the one about my first autograph (Benny Distefano, the last left handed catcher to play in the majors) on this forum before. And, my most prized autographed item has about 20 signatures (and 20 stories) for Cardinals over the years (I’ve carried it to Cardinal games for about 25 years).

So, instead I’ll tell about one of my biggest hits (and misses) that happened on the same day.

First, let me say that if you are a guy, and you find a woman who is patient enough to go to a game early enough to see the players arriving so that you can chase autographs… MARRY THAT GIRL!!! That’s what I did with my wife (who is also part of this story). We went to Citizen’s Bank Park before a late season Phillies (her team)/Cardinals (my team) game in 2011. This is a girl who LOVES Chase Utley (not just because of what his butt looks like in baseball pants, or for his ocean blue eyes… But mostly because of his playing abilities), and I told her that this would likely be her best chance at an autograph from him because not many people show up at the stadium that early. We were chatting with the security guard, and he had mentioned that only about half of the Phillies players had arrived, and none of the Cardinal busses had arrived yet.

I need to paint a bit of a picture for you. I’m 6’7”, and my wife is about 5’3”. I’m the perfect height to see into the giant SUVs the players drive, and she’s the perfect height to see into the tiny little sports cars they drive. Her phone rings, and it’s her friend that is impossible to get off the phone. They talked for several minutes. In the time they were talking, one of those tiny little sports cars she was supposed to be looking into pulled up, and it was a guy with his dog. As he pulled into the player’s garage, he talked to the security guard for several minutes. I was trying to see into the car, but was unable to. He pulls the rest of the way into the garage, and vanishes. She finally gets off of the phone, and asks me who it was that pulled up while she was on the phone. I told her I couldn’t tell, so we asked the security guard. He told us. It was Chase Utley. She was very upset, but she learned a lesson… When autograph hunting, ignore your phone.

We learned from the security guard that the first Cardinal bus would probably arrive in about 15-20 min. I started getting very excited, and was deciding who out of a whole bus full of players I would have the best chance at actually getting. As I was debating this, a pickup truck parked behind the gate where the Cardinal busses would be parking. I looked, and couldn’t believe it when I saw a gigantic man with red hair and a goatee climbing out. I called out “Mr. McGwire, do you have time to sign an autograph?” He said “Sure, but you gotta come to me!” As I started walking over, I said “I’m not supposed to walk past this gate.” He said “You’re gonna have to if you want an autograph.” I was a little nervous; because there were armed security guards at the gate (even though the gate was open). I started walking over, and then I got a nod from the security guard… That’s when I took off like my behind was on fire. I asked first if he would sign a jersey, but he said he only signs jerseys at shows, not at a stadium. The only other thing I had was his 1985 USA Olympic card, which he happily signed, and commented that he hadn’t seen that card in years.

My wife eventually got a chance to talk to Chase Utley (across the dugout) when we got to take a lap around the field with our nephew on “Scout Night” at the stadium. I’m pretty sure she knows his address, so maybe I’ll encourage her to write a letter like Mac from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”. Only instead of asking to have a catch sometime, she can ask for the autograph she missed a couple years ago.

Posted December 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
Jason K

Jason K

I’ve got a ton of stories, and I will have a hard time deciding which one to tell here.

I could tell the one about my silver sharpie leaking all over Derrick Robinson’s hands. Or, the one when Danny Duffy (probably the classiest, most down to earth guy I’ve ever met) stepped in gum as he was signing for some kids.

I’ve told the one about my first autograph (Benny Distefano, the last left handed catcher to play in the majors) on this forum before. And, my most prized autographed item has about 20 signatures (and 20 stories) for Cardinals over the years (I’ve carried it to Cardinal games for about 25 years).

So, instead I’ll tell about one of my biggest hits (and misses) that happened on the same day.

First, let me say that if you are a guy, and you find a woman who is patient enough to go to a game early enough to see the players arriving so that you can chase autographs… MARRY THAT GIRL!!! That’s what I did with my wife (who is also part of this story). We went to Citizen’s Bank Park before a late season Phillies (her team)/Cardinals (my team) game in 2011. This is a girl who LOVES Chase Utley (not just because of what his butt looks like in baseball pants, or for his ocean blue eyes… But mostly because of his playing abilities), and I told her that this would likely be her best chance at an autograph from him because not many people show up at the stadium that early. We were chatting with the security guard, and he had mentioned that only about half of the Phillies players had arrived, and none of the Cardinal busses had arrived yet.

I need to paint a bit of a picture for you. I’m 6’7”, and my wife is about 5’3”. I’m the perfect height to see into the giant SUVs the players drive, and she’s the perfect height to see into the tiny little sports cars they drive. Her phone rings, and it’s her friend that is impossible to get off the phone. They talked for several minutes. In the time they were talking, one of those tiny little sports cars she was supposed to be looking into pulled up, and it was a guy with his dog. As he pulled into the player’s garage, he talked to the security guard for several minutes. I was trying to see into the car, but was unable to. He pulls the rest of the way into the garage, and vanishes. She finally gets off of the phone, and asks me who it was that pulled up while she was on the phone. I told her I couldn’t tell, so we asked the security guard. He told us. It was Chase Utley. She was very upset, but she learned a lesson… When autograph hunting, ignore your phone.

We learned from the security guard that the first Cardinal bus would probably arrive in about 15-20 min. I started getting very excited, and was deciding who out of a whole bus full of players I would have the best chance at actually getting. As I was debating this, a pickup truck parked behind the gate where the Cardinal busses would be parking. I looked, and couldn’t believe it when I saw a gigantic man with red hair and a goatee climbing out. I called out “Mr. McGwire, do you have time to sign an autograph?” He said “Sure, but you gotta come to me!” As I started walking over, I said “I’m not supposed to walk past this gate.” He said “You’re gonna have to if you want an autograph.” I was a little nervous; because there were armed security guards at the gate (even though the gate was open). I started walking over, and then I got a nod from the security guard… That’s when I took off like my behind was on fire. I asked first if he would sign a jersey, but he said he only signs jerseys at shows, not at a stadium. The only other thing I had was his 1985 USA Olympic card, which he happily signed, and commented that he hadn’t seen that card in years.

My wife eventually got a chance to talk to Chase Utley (across the dugout) when we got to take a lap around the field with our nephew on “Scout Night” at the stadium. I’m pretty sure she knows his address, so maybe I’ll encourage her to write a letter like Mac from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”. Only instead of asking to have a catch sometime, she can ask for the autograph she missed a couple years ago.

Jason K
Olean, NY

Posted December 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
max

i was a little kid and i got to go in the yankees dugout for a game to get autos and i saw arod and i was like arod come over here and he thought about it and he just shook his head and i was so sad but jeter saw it and he came over and signed my jersey

Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink
Steve Raezer

My story took place in 2012 when I took my dad to the Father’s Day game at Citizen’s Bank Park against the Marlins. I was standing in the Left Field corner as the stands start to angle. Heath Bell and Josh Johnson were in pregame warm-ups when they started making their way to the dugout. I was standing along the rail, next to a kid around 12 years old. As Heath Bell was walking past us, this kid just held out his ball and Sharpie but did not say anything. Realizing that he wasn’t going to say anything, I politely asked Mr. Bell if he would mind signing for me. I did say, “Please”. Heath said, “Absolutely”, and came over and signed my ticket. Even as he was signing for me, the kid next to me stood in amazement but didn’t say a word. When Heath finished signing for me, he stood and stared at the kid, as if he was just waiting for the kid to open his mouth. The kid reached out his hands again but didn’t say a word. I leaned over to the kid and suggested that he ask Mr. Bell if he could please have his autograph. The kid, after a few minutes, finally had the nerve to ask, and Heath Bell replied with a “Yes, sure”. He followed it up with a very important lesson for the kid. He said, “You know, if you want something in life, you have to ask for it”. As he said that, Josh Johnson, who was also signing in the vicinity, turned and chuckled at the life lesson that his teammate had just passed along. I was completely impressed by his patience and willingness to teach a valuable lesson through an opportunity that he had no obligation to participate in.

Posted December 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
Richard Morton

In 1969 at the ripe age of 1 year old my parents had taken me to visit my grandparents in Latrobe PA. My aunts were working the cafeteria at St. Vincents and the Steelers training camp was underway. This was back before the Steelers became the powerhouse that they soon became in the 70′s and as a results the crowds were small and attended mostly by the locals. As the story was told to me years later the Steelers 1st round draft pick Terry Bradshaw held me in one arm while he signed an autograph on a non description white piece of paper. I had heard the story many times and dad proudly showed me the autograph but it remained in his collection of home made Steeler scrapbooks covering 1968 to current. It was 1990 when I moved out and dad gave me a hug, and a kiss and the prized Terry Bradshaw autograph as he sent his youngest son into the world. The autograph remains a prized possession and is proudly displayed in my Steeler room under glass with an autographed Terry Bradshaw jersey.

Posted May 29, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*