First autographs of 2017

Once upon a time, I was very into writing to people associated with Major League Baseball in hopes of getting autographs for my collection. I’d guess more than half of the 920+ signed cards in my All-Time Mets collection were acquired that way.

As I got signatures from most of retired Mets players who were still willing and able to sign, and as current players became less willing to respond to fan mail, I wrote fewer letters.

Last year, SportsCollectors.Net tells me that I sent out 14 autograph requests and got back signed cards as a result of eight of them.(In comparison, as recently as 2014, I sent out 83 letters resulting in 58 successes.)

Last month, I wrote to a half dozen short-time former New York Mets players whose autographs I didn’t have. Today, I got three responses.

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2017 Topps Series 1 Mets

I know I’m late to the party, but I just got my 2017 Topps Series 1 Mets team set in the mail this week.

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Player selection is pretty good, considering Topps has to save some recognizable names for Series 2 in a few months. I haven’t double-checked the 40-man roster lately, but I think everyone pictured is still part of the Mets’ organization. (I’m puzzled by the decision to include Matt Reynolds over printing a T.J. Rivera rookie card, but I can easily overlook it since it’s the biggest head-scratcher.)

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Ex-Met Milledge looks for 2nd chance with Lancaster Barnstormers

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is a league of second chances.

Minor League Baseball teams are affiliated with Major League Baseball teams. New Jersey’s Trenton Thunder are a New York Yankees’ farm team, while the Lakewood Blue Claws are affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. These major league clubs supply the players and coaches to staff the minor league teams. If you go to see them, you’ll be able to watch a handful of players the big league squads consider as prospects as well as a larger number of “organization guys” that are needed to complete the roster.

Each year, some of the “prospects” lose their shine and some of the “organization guys” get pushed out by someone younger or more talented. Independent baseball teams like the ones in the Atlantic League give these displaced players another shot to prove their worth to one of the 30┬ábig league team. Sometimes, it works out — before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he pitched in the playoffs in 2016, Rich Hill spent a summer with the Long Island Ducks.┬áMore often, guys just get to keep playing for an extra season or two.

Lastings Milledge, seen here playing for the Norfolk Tides in 2006, signed a contract with the Lancaster Barnstromers last month. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Lastings Milledge, seen here playing for the Norfolk Tides in 2006, signed a contract with the Lancaster Barnstormers last month. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

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