Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt says stalking by autograph collectors is one of the reasons he retired.
Like a lot of players, Mike Schmidt became keenly aware of the rising value of his autograph by the time his career headed toward the finish line.
Schmidt’s status as a future Hall of Famer had collectors and dealers scrambling for his signature by the early 1980s when the autograph became a marketable commodity.
Now, with his place secured in Cooperstown and the market for autographs still strong, Schmidt earns a nice payday when he puts his Sharpie to a photograph or bat.
He knows there are true collectors out there who have no intention of selling the free ones he might give out, but he also knows there are others simply looking to profit.
So what’s the big deal when your pension and memorabilia income set you up for life? In a special column for SI.com, the former Phillies star says it’s the passing of an era that makes him long for the days when autographs were more about the memory than the money.