Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hey, Mister! Please sign this!

If you were of a mind to, how big a collection of baseball cards could you amass that show a picture of the player signing autographs?

I got to more than 275 over the period of 2006-10 while I was in the process of sorting through a mountain of monster boxes that I had acquired from my former employer, the publisher of SCD, Tuff Stuff, Standard Catalog, etc.

These were mostly cards that had been sent to us by the card companies for product reviews, cataloging, etc.

The vast majority of the cards were from the 1990s.

A trend that developed in baseball cards by the mid-1990s was the proliferation of card companies, and the proliferation of card sets from each of them. At the peak of (over)production, there were at least 20,000 new baseball cards being produced each year.

Most of these cards used at least two, and sometimes three, photos on each player's card. This created unprecedented demand for player photos . . . portraits, candids and game-action.

So it's not surprising that there exists in the baseball card universe of the 1990s-2000s more than a few cards showing players signing autographs for fans: hats and bats; pennants, posters and programs; balls and gloves and even a few baseball cards. In sorting through all those cards over the years, There are cards showing players from the rawest rookies to superstar Hall of Famers obliging the fans. I generally limited this "collection" to card fronts; I could have added dozens more if I'd considered the photos on the backs.

I'll share just a few of them here. It's my way of showing that "commons" can be uncommon and that a card collection doesn't have to cost big bucks to be fun.

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