Jeff Baker writes a weekly column for SC Daily, focused on “TTM” (through the mail) autograph collecting. He also offers previews of his weekly TTM Cast podcast.
The National Sports Collectors Convention is heaven for autograph seekers. I met a lot of all-time greats during the show and snagged a few photos with the likes of Dan Marino, Barry Sanders and Frank Gore.
Another picture from the National. The one and only Barry Sanders took a moment to take a picture with me. A true gentleman. @DFWGrapher @nsccshow @SchulteSports @Lions #barrysanders pic.twitter.com/WK45Odp4bf
— TTMCast (@CastTtm) August 2, 2022
While many of the superstars were signing for sizeable paydays, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to add to your collection. I purchased a VIP pass which offers free autographs and picked up a few other additions to my collection throughout the week.
With millions of cards available at the show, I scoured the show floor to add a few stacks I’ll be using to send to athletes for autographs. Between the price of the card, a stamp to send and a self-addressed stamped envelope, my costs are rarely over $2 (usually less).
Here’s a look at the former players I met in Atlantic City and the autographs I acquired.
“The Bull”, Luzinski slugged 307 home runs during his major league career as an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox from 1970-1984. He was a 4x All-Star and won a World Series in 1980 as a member of the Phillies. He is a member of the Phillies Wall of Fame.
He signed my 1973 Topps card for me during the VIP night at The National.
Luzinski is regular signer through the mail but it’s always fun to spend a few seconds with a player and get that signature in person.
White played outfield for the New York Yankees from 1965-79 winning two World Championships and playing in 2 All-Star games. He slugged 160 home run and drove in 758 runs during his career. He also played three seasons in Japan as a member of the Yomiuri Giants from 1989-82.
He signed his 1969 Topps card for me at the show. White does sign through the mail but usually requires a $10 donation.
New York native Rico Petrocelli played his entire career from 1963-1976 as shortstop and third baseman with the Boston Red Sox. He hit over 200 home runs and drove in 770 during his career. He caught the final out of the 1967 “Impossible Dream” regular season and hit a home run in the 1975 World Series.
Rico signed his 1965 Topps rookie card for me at the National Sports Collectors Convention where he is present just about every year. He does not sign through the mail.
Shamsky played outfield and first base for the Reds, Mets, Cubs, and A’s from 1965-1972. He was a member of the 1969 World Series Champion New York Mets and tied an MLB record when he hit home runs in four consecutive at bats in 1966 as a member of the Reds. Art is a member of the National Jewish Sports Fall of Fame.
He signed his 1970 Topps card for me at the show. He is a regular signer through the mail and does not require a donation.
Hansen was 1960 AL Rookie of the Year as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. He went on to play for the White Sox, Senators, Yankees, and Royals from 1958-1972. He was an All-Star in 1960. In 1968 he executed the 8th unassisted triple-play in the history of the game as a member of the Senators in 1968.
Hansen signed his 1960 Topps card for me the last day of the National. Now 84, he is accommodating to collectors who send him a TTM request.
Parent spent 13 seasons in the NHL as a goalie with the Flyers, Bruins and Maple Leafs and spent one season in the WHA as a member of the Philadelphia Blazer. He won two Stanley Cups with the Flyers and won Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies in back-to-back season with the Flyers. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 and is considered one of the greatest goaltenders of all time.
He signed his 1971-72 Topps card for me during the VIP night at the National. Parent does occationaly sign through the mail but requires a donation.
“Jaws” played quarterback in the NFL with the Rams, Eagles, Dolphins, and Chiefs from 1973-1989. He made the Pro Bowl in 1989 and is a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame. When he retired, he held the record (since broken) for most consecutive starts by a quarterback with 116 games. He tied a NFL record when he connected with Mike Quick for a 99 yard touchdown pass in 1985 in a game against the Atlanta Falcons. Ron is a popular host on ESPN during football season.
He signed his 1976 Topps rookie card for me during the VIP night in Atlantic City. He has signed via the mail on and off over the past few years.
I’ll have to admit when I saw that Mike was signing at the show, I had to look him up. After staring at Baylor, Nelms went on to play three seasons in Canada before joining Washington where he excelled as a kick/punt returner and safety. Nelms made three Pro-Bowls and was a member of the Super Bowl Champion Redskins in Super Bowl XVII. He was selected to the 1980s All-Decade Team. He amassed over 4,000 kick return yards and 1,900 punt return yards during his career.
He signed his 1983 Topps card for me at the show. Mike hasn’t signed via the mail in a few years.
I also found time to send out over 25 TTM autograph requests during the week. My mailbox is starting to fill up and I’ll be posting my most recent successes in this space as the summer winds down.
Here are some players who are currently signing for free. I have had success with all of them in the past:
- Mike Bibby – Former NBA guard
- Don Kessinger – Cubs and White Sox shortstop in the 60’s and 70’s
- Calvin Murphy – Hall of Fame guard (Houston Rockets)
- Gary Bell – Pitcher with the Indians and Red Sox
- Bobby Witt, Sr. – Pitcher with Texas Rangers
- Mickey Stanley – Detroit Tigers outfielder in the 1960s and 70s. Member of ’68 World Series champs.
Have a TTM success story you would like to share with me? Please, send it me at [email protected]. If I use it in my column, I’ll send you a prize.
On This Week’s Podcast (August 8 show)
This week’s TTMCast includes a chat with Auction Report’s Ryan Friedman. We get his views on the hobby and what’s happening in a very active auction space. In addition, hobby legend Les Wolff come on to review The National and offers his unique look at the Super Bowl of card shows.
My regular co-host, Drew Pelto, is traveling the country visiting minor league baseball parks, so TTM legend Troy Rutter is co-hosting this week’s show with me.
Next week Derek Grady, Vice-President of Sports Auctions at Heritage Auctions comes on to talk about the SGC 9.5 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle that’s been generating national headlines.