Show promoters have the inside dope, but most collectors will never know exactly how much a player is paid for card show appearances and private autograph signings. If you’re a United States Senator, we have to know.
According to the personal financial disclosure form submitted by Jim Bunning (R)-Kentucky, and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the former pitcher was paid $18,000 for three autograph sessions in 2009.
Bunning appeared at card shows in New Jersey on two separate occasions in 2009 as well as another show. Each time, he was paid $6,000. He also received air fare for two of those shows.
Bunning was also paid $1250 for a private signing in Michigan, $225 from the Upper Deck Company, presumably for additional autographs, $50 from Major League Alumni Marketing and $57.63 in royalties from Photo File.
The disclosure form also reveals his receipt of a World Series ring–a gift from the team he once pitched for, the Philadelphia Phillies. It shows a letter indicating that it was legal for Bunning to accept the ring since it wasn’t tied to his position in Washington.
As a member of Congress, Bunning can’t accept a paycheck for things like autographs. In 1996, while in the House of Representatives, Bunning and his family set up The Jim Bunning Foundation. He’s considered an employee of the Foundation when signing autographs. A portion of the money Bunning has taken in (nearly $200,000 since 2001) has gone to charity, but he has taken some heat for consistently reporting donations totaling much less than the amount he’s received.
The 78-year-old Bunning is not seeking re-election.