Guide To Collecting Autographs Through The Mail
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 few will sign autographs through the mail.
Most stars – players like David Wright and Matt Harvey – receive too much fan mail to keep up with it.
Manager Terry Collins is one of the best autograph signers on the Mets. Second baseman Neil Walker didn’t go through his mail until after the season was over, but sent back a bunch of signed cards in October.
Otherwise, your best bets are rookies and role players… think guys like Brandon Nimmo and Josh Edgin rather than Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and Addison Reed, though.
Your chances improve 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. Mets top prospect Amed Rosario has been great about signing fan mail so far through his minor league career, but that may change as he continues to get more publicity (and presumably more fan mail to go with it.)
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.
Another source of addresses is StarTiger.com, an autograph community that offers information about Hollywood stars and other celebrities in addition to current and retired baseball players. They offer monthly and annual subscription rates, along with a 7-day free trial period if you want to see what the site is like.
If you’re just interested in current players, the best place to write to them is care of their team during spring training or the regular season. Here are some addresses for Mets fans:
New York Mets
123-01 Roosevelt Ave.
Flushing, NY 11368
Las Vegas 51s
850 Las Vegas Blvd. North
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
211 Henry Street
Binghamton, NY 13901
St. Lucie Mets (this is also the Mets’ spring training address)
525 NW Peacock Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
1640 Freed Street
Columbia, SC 29201
1904 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11224
Hunter Wright Stadium
800 Granby Road
Kingsport, TN 37660
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.