Most of the time, they’re focused on preparing for what will happen on the playing field this coming season. This week, though, each big league team will spend at least part of one day at spring training taking photographs. Some will be on Topps baseball cards later this year.
— Topps Company (@toppscards) February 25, 2016
For the Kansas City Royals, there was a second mission underway Thursday: autographs.
Members of the 2015 World Series champs and some of the top players in their minor league system buckled down to business, signing boxes of baseballs, racks full of jerseys, boxes of helmets and stacks of photographs. Before they were done, a club official estimated more than 3,000 autographs were signed.
Much of the memorabilia will be donated to charities during the next 12 months. Others will be made available for sale in the Royals Authentics store. Kansas City and numerous other big league teams now operate their own game-worn and game-used memorabilia shops at their home ballparks.
It’s become a significant revenue generator while also raising some money for charity.
Thursday’s signing session was overseen by a hired authenticator, who put holograms on each item, making its origin trackable inside the MLB Authentication database.
The Kansas City Star talked with Justin Villareal, who oversees Royals Authentics and also with a few players for the video below. If you can’t see it, click here.