Among the Major League Baseball players who would be considered avid collectors, Hector Santiago would definitely be on the list of the most persistent. The Angels’ lefty has become a passionate autograph collector who isn’t shy about asking current opponents or former players for their signatures.
Turned down four times by Bo Jackson, he finally succeeded on his fifth attempt. He tracked down Hank Aaron in the White Sox owners box when the Hall of Famer came to Chicago for the Civil Rights game. His house is testimony to his passion for collecting autographs, with framed jerseys on the walls of his home built gym.
Santiago is in his fourth full season in the big leagues and third as a starter. So far, it’s been his best year to date. He’s sporting a 2.68 ERA, a low WHIP and has been striking out an average of nearly one hitter per inning. He’s a potential American League All-Star. That means he should be able to continue to take advantage of his position a little while longer.
For me, when I first came up, I was like, ‘I don’t know how long I’m gonna be here,” he told the Orange County Register for this story, which includes some comments about collecting from other major league players who are in the hobby and a slideshow of Santiago’s collection. “This is my opportunity to do stuff like this.’ And I’ve tried to keep that. I don’t see shame in it.”