Even if you’re not lucky enough to make it to a lot of baseball games, you can still collect autographs from the players on your favorite team. If you write to them and send them a baseball card to sign, a number of players will sign autographs through the mail.
Most stars – players like David Wright and Johan Santana – receive too much fan mail to keep up with it. But others – like manager Terry Collins – try their best to send back autographs. Your chances improve even more with retired players like Buddy Harrelson and Ed Kranepool. Writing to prospects while they’re still in the minor leagues is also a good way to increase your odds of success.
If you think you’ll write a lot of letters, I recommend a subscription to SportsCollectors.Net. For $15 a year, you gain access to a database that will let you know which current and former players are likely to sign for collectors, and which ones generally don’t. The database also includes home addresses for some players, helpful if you want to write to someone that’s not currently involved in the game. If you’re primarily interested in retired players, though, I’d also suggest buying Harvey Meiselman‘s address list.
If you’re just interested in current players, the best place to write to them is care of their team. Here are some addresses for Mets fans: (End of season/off-season note: For best results, do not send mail to teams during the off-season… in most cases, it will be returned to you or allowed to sit until the player comes to claim it – likely at the beginning of next season.)
New York Mets
123-01 Roosevelt Ave.
Flushing, NY 11368
Las Vegas 51s
850 Las Vegas Blvd. North
Las Vegas, NV 89101
P.O. Box 598
Binghamton NY 13902
St. Lucie Mets (this is also the Mets’ spring training address)
525 NW Peacock Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
Savannah Sand Gnats
P.O. Box 3783
Savannah GA 31414
1904 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11224
P.O. Box 1128
Kingsport TN 37662
You should include three things with your request
- Your letter (keep it short, and though it seems obvious make sure you remember to say “please” and “thank you”)
- A self-addressed, stamped envelope (if you use a Forever stamp, you don’t have to worry about future postage increases if the player doesn’t respond right away)
- Something that you want signed (don’t send anything too valuable – there’s no guarantee that you will get it back.)
Most current baseball cards have a glossy finish, which makes them difficult to autograph. (Topps Heritage and Allen & Ginter are the notable exceptions.)
You can use a white plastic eraser (available at art supply stores and many office supply stores) to remove enough of the gloss to allow the card to be autographed. If you don’t, your newly-signed card will probably turn out like this Andy Marte card.
Other collectors suggest rubbing baby powder on glossy cards to remove enough of the coating to allow the signature to “take.” I’ve tried it, but I prefer the eraser trick.
Older baseball cards – anything produced prior to the mid-1990s – should not present a problem.
If you’re trying to get autographs from players who don’t have easily-obtainable baseball cards, you can buy generic “Autograph Cards” or send blank index cards. Just be aware that the MLB Players Association and player agents typically advise players not to sign blank items because of potential identity theft concerns.
I think that the Autograph Cards turn out nicely when signed.
Good luck, have fun and remember to have patience – I’ve gotten cards back years after I sent them out.