It’s not as easy to get an autograph in person as it was when your dad was your age.
Professional athletes today tend to keep their distance, and some will sign autographs only for money. Still, there is a way to get autographs both from current players and from players who have been retired for years: the U.S. mail.
• Go through your sports trading cards and identify a player you would like to ask for an autograph. It’s probably best to start with less well-known players, because they’re less likely to receive as many requests.
• Write a polite, friendly letter asking the player to autograph your card. Remember that athletes, like all celebrities, receive many requests from fans. Writing a thoughtful letter is key.
• If the player is still active, simply mail him your request in care of his team. Addresses for all Major League teams can be found at http://www.mlb.com. For retired players, most libraries will have a book or two containing player addresses. Try Jack Smalling’s “The Baseball Autograph Collector’s Handbook,” available in some libraries or at http://www.baseballaddresses.com. This book, updated periodically, contains more than 11,000 addresses of players, coaches and umpires.
• Once you have a player’s address, mail the letter and the card with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and be patient. It can sometimes take months to receive a reply. Good idea: Send only cards of which you have duplicates. Some players won’t respond, and you’ll never see the card again.
• When you do get a signed card back, be sure to send a thank you note.
WHAT AUTOGRAPHS DO YOU HAVE?
Tell us which autographs you’ve collected and how you got them in the comments field below.