I’m whittling away the list of current and former Mets players who are not represented in my autographed baseball card collection. Recent additions to my collection have brought it down to 99.
Jerry Blevins – relief pitcher, 2015-present
To play to baseball’s fetish for filling bullpens with left-handed specialists, Mets GM Sandy Alderson traded outfield prospect Matt den Dekker to the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training in 2015 to get Jerry Blevins. He pitched just five innings in the major leagues that year, thanks to suffering a broken bone in his seventh appearance of the the season and then re-fracturing it when he slipped and fell in August. He was effective last season, but seemed miscast – given the opportunity, Blevins was generally effective against right-handed hitters as well as lefties. Time will tell how Terry Collins chooses to use Blevins in 2017. I purchased this rookie signature card for $2.15 from COMC.com.
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.
When I started collecting autographs in the late 1980s, if a baseball player was hired to sign autographs at a card show, you could frequently get a signature for $10… sometimes less. A star or Hall of Famer might cost $20 or $25. Larger shows would often have a free signer with paid admission.
I give JP’s Sports & Rock Solid Promotions credit for keeping the free signer tradition going for most of the shows that they run. At their White Plains show later this month, perfect game pitchers Tom Browning and Len Barker will sign for free on Saturday, Jan. 14th.
But some of the guests seem out of my league.