I haven't really sent any through the mail (TTM) autograph requests since the early '90s, when, as a 13-year-old kid, I did on a somewhat regular basis. Most of mine were failures, mostly because I'd send cards that were a couple years old to the players c/o that teams that they were depicted playing for on the cards, not knowing that they were long gone from their former ballclub. I did get a couple of good ones, though. I sent a Topps Black Gold card to Dave Winfield when he was playing for the Twins. I received the card back, unsigned, but along with it, an autographed postcard, which I have, since then, misplaced. I think my dad agreed to hold onto it for safekeeping, but I have no idea where it is at the moment.
My biggest success, however, was this one:
That's right. The greatest basketball player of all time, through the mail, for nothing more than the cost of a couple of stamps and a couple of envelopes. At the time, I didn't realize how big of a deal it was. I just figured I got a pretty good autograph of a really good player. Looking back on it, I realize how lucky I was.
For one, the timing was good. I sent it out, I think, the year before the Bulls won their first championship, so while he may have been receiving plenty of requests, I'm sure they were nowhere near the amount that he would receive. Second, I was 11 or 12 at the time, so I'm sure a handwritten letter from a young kid went a little bit further than a type-written letter from an adult.
Still, no matter what the circumstances, while I am not that much of a basketball guy, I would say it's the cornerstone of my card collection. If I could show off one card out of the thousands that I have, this would be it, plus there's a little bit of a story behind it.
With my card-collecting budget getting ever-increasingly tight, I need to find new ways, and inexpensive ways, to keep the passion alive, and one of those ways could be TTM autographs.
I guess my questions for my readers are, does anyone else out there get autographs through the mail? If so, do you go the route I did as a kid and send request c/o their team, or do you send to home addresses, and if so, do the players mind getting mail at home? In a self-conscious way, I always thought that home addresses had some kind of weird stalker-vibe to it, but maybe they don't mind. Just curious to see what everyone else thinks.