Tag Archives: Collection

The Excitement of Looking Through Your Old Autographed Baseball Cards

Until I created this website and decided to include pictures of my autographed baseball card collection I had not gone through it in a few years. Around 2008-2009 was the last time I collected anything so the box they are in remained dormant.

I have only very little interest in adding to the collection. I think once you are a collector you always are. There’s a certain challenge, similar to a creative drive, which people who get obsessive about a collection have within them. Looking through my autographed baseball cards gives me a slight interest in sending out letters again. I only stop because I know how I get with anything. It will become a new obsession and I really should focus on more important things than asking people younger than me to sign miniature pictures of themselves.

Like looking through the high school yearbook, scanning over my collection of autographed baseball cards brings back a lot of memories. And like that cute girl a page across from you in the yearbook that no matter how hard you try you cannot remember, I continue to find cards in my collection I don’t remember getting.

I let out an expletive when I saw two autographed cards from Mike Napoli staring at me. I understand he’s not great, but I had no clue it was in there. At the time he was going by Michael Napoli. I had apparently obtained him through a letter to the Arizona Fall League long before he was bearded and winning the World Series.

Mike Napoli Autograph

I had a similar reaction when I saw a Bert Campaneris autographed card stacked among ones I remembered having a little better. Likely, I added this from a purchase at a card show. At the time I was unfamiliar with Campaneris. My dad probably bought it and felt the same way about him as I will in 20 years about Napoli.

Even authentic autographs in my collection that I received in packs now have a great sentimental value you to me because of how much more I know about the history of baseball. When I pulled a Johnny Callison autographed card years ago I didn’t think much of it. After a few years of listening to Philadelphia Sports Radio, I understand how meaningful the autograph actually is.

Johnny Callison

Lesser names like Jayson Nix even get me a little excited because forgetting about them makes me wonder who else could be mixed in there. I obtained Nix at the 2002 South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Lakewood, New Jersey along with others, most notably David Wright. Unlike Nix, I very much remember Wright.

I consider this far different from simple nostalgia. A big rush from autograph collecting was the feeling that you accomplished something. You gather up your baseball cards, you head to the stadium, and then go back home to see how many have ink on them. It was a challenge and seeing all of these successes years later reminds me I was not wasting my time. Going to a baseball game was always about more than who won or lost the game. It was also about who was willing to sign before and after.

My collection doesn’t compare to the greatest on the planet, but I do think overall it’s pretty impressive. Everything from Derek Jeter down to any player I have in my collection to never get beyond Single A, it all adds up to something unique and different from the rest.

Each autographed card I own has some history. Some were as simple as handing over a few bucks while others involved chasing a player down in the rain. They are a time capsule to a simpler time in life before taxes, bills, and women. They remind me how much one little hobby can give you: the adventure, the feeling of success, the bragging rights, etc.

An autographed baseball card tells a history. For some of us though, it’s a lot deeper than anyone can ever see.

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Pablo Ozuna

One of the first autographs I managed to get in part of the Baseball America series was Pablo Ozuna. At the time, he was playing in Double-A for the Portland Sea Dogs. I could be wrong. This was half my life ago. Ozuna’s major league career was spent primarily as a bench player. But in my collections he’s…still a bench player.

Pablo  Ozuna Autograph

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Trot Nixon

It was around 2002-2003 when the Boston Red Sox were scheduled to play an exhibition game against their Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder. The game was rained out, but for autograph seekers we did have a successful day. Outfielder Trot Nixon was one of several players to sign for the fans. An old man was standing behind me and was able to point out each player. It was apparently my job, among all 100 fans there, to call them over. Thankfully this meant I was always the first one they signed for so I got the best effort, from Nixon included.

Trot  Nixon Autograph

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Luis Sojo

Luis Sojo spent a long time with the New York Yankees primarily as a backup infielder. I never met him until after his playing days were over and he was the manager for the Norwich Navigators which at the time was the AA team for the Yankees. Sojo was very social and his family met him outside the game. Since I had gone to the game with a friend who had very little interest in getting autographs, I got his then called it a night.

Luis Sojo

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Matt Cain

Before he was one of baseball’s pitchers and then one of baseball’s pitchers who suddenly lost it all, Matt Cain was pitching in Double-A and was kind enough to sign some baseball cards for me. Of the three: Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner–Cain is my favorite because of our brief encounter which from an autograph collecting perspective went perfectly.

Matt  Cain

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Ken Caminiti

Because Ken Caminiti personalized this autograph and added in a “best wishes” it was for sale at a much cheaper price than it normally would have been. What sets this autograph apart though is where I got it. After nearly blowing my arm out near Doubleday Field throwing a 35mph fastball at the Speed Pitch in Cooperstown right near Doubleday Field, my dad and I headed off to yet another one of the many baseball card shops on the Main Street. This was one we picked up and thankfully the price tag was light enough where I didn’t injure my powerful throwing arm.

Ken Caminiti

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Bryan Bullington

The first overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft belonged to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They chose to go with pitcher Bryan Bullington. Like many others the Pirates selected in the first round in the early 2000s, Bullington has a much shorter career than they had hoped for. I do remember Bullington being a very friendly guy at the time he signed this while with the Altoona Curve. It definitely didn’t hurt that I only bugged him with one baseball card to sign.

Bryan Bullington