Price of Fame: Freese Autograph Jumps from Free to $75 After Series Heroics

Albert Pujols may be gone, but there are still plenty of ways to spend your money at the uber-popular St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up.  The team’s annual fan fest and autograph session fundraiser draws thousands even when the team is mediocre.  Coming off the 2011 World Series title, fans are snapping up tickets like crazy, including those that they could have had for free a year ago.  David Freese autographs, which cost nothing in 2010, will run $75.  But don’t bother trying to buy one.  He sold out not long after the tickets went on sale last month.

The Cardinals Winter Warm-Up takes place Jan. 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch.

A Pujols autograph cost $175 last year.  Now that Albert’s an Angel, Lance Berkman is now the most expensive autograph at the Winter Warm-Up.  Penmanship from The Puma will run a cool $100, up from $40 a year ago.  Disabled list time caught up with Matt Holliday.  The Cardinals dropped the price for his signature from $100 to $75 this year, but he, too, is a sell out.

The signing sessions start with pitcher Chris Carpenter on January 14th from 9 to 11 a.m.,  Berkman appears on January 15th from 3 to 5 p.m., and World Series MVP  Freese will keep his autograph commitment on January 16th from 12 to 2 p.m.

Fans can also greet the newest addition to the Cardinals coaching staff, manager Mike Matheny, as well as other former Cardinals greats and National Baseball Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, and Whitey Herzog.

Most autographs run $5-50 but all but a handful are sold out.  You can see the list here.

A group of former Cardinals will be signing for free including:

  • Alan Benes
  • Andy Benes
  • Glenn Brummer
  • Danny Cox
  • Mike Crudale
  • Boots Day
  • Ken Dayley
  • Chuck Diering
  • Jim Donohue
  • Chris Duncan
  • Cal Eldred
  • Neil Fiala
  • Phil Gagliano
  • Rex Hudler
  • Mike Jorgensen
  • Tom Lawless
  • John Mabry
  • T.J. Mathews
  • Ed Mickelson
  • Wally Moon
  • Tom Pagnozzi
  • Ken Reitz
  • Kerry Robinson
  • Ted Savage
  • Jason Simontacchi
  • Bob Sykes
  • Lee Thomas
  • Mike Tyson
  • Bill Virdon
  • Ray Washburn

“The Warm-Up is the perfect opportunity for fans to meet their favorite players and help kids in the St. Louis community,” said Michael Hall, Executive Director of Cardinals Care and Vice President of Community Relations. “We hope fans will join us in welcoming our new manager and celebrating our recent World Championship.”

Since its inception in 1997, Cardinals Care has maintained a direct focus on “Caring for Kids” by distributing funds to area non-profit youth organizations and establishing Redbird Rookies, their flagship program that supports youth on and off the baseball field. Most of the organizations who are recipients of Cardinals Care charitable grants are based in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. Grant funds are intended to support purchases such as school supplies and uniforms, computers, software, instruments, books and games for educational programs, as well as basic needs such as winter clothing for needy children.

The Winter Warm-Up and annual 6K Run are Cardinals Care’s two largest fundraising events each year. In 2011 Cardinals Care raised over $700,000 at the Warm-Up.