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If you don’t have luck pulling autograph cards from Upper Deck packs and just can’t find your favorite players milling around before or after a game, there is another route you can take to get an autograph from these stars. Try the TTM approach where “TTM” stands for “through-the-mail” autographs. If you’re just a little patient, this is a really cool way to get signatures of your favorite players.
Some people will send more than just a trading card to get signed, maybe a photo or jersey, but the easiest thing to send is definitely an Upper Deck card. First you need to write a letter to the player of your choice explaining that you think they are great and that you would like to get them to autograph your card. The best place to mail your card to is to the stadium address for that player’s team. Also, you may want to consider writing your letter by hand; people have experimented and found they have a better rate of success with hand-written letters.
Let’s say you are sending a request to Jason Motte, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. You would send it to the Busch Stadium address. This is a sample letter of something that you could send to your favorite player:
Dear Mr. Motte,
I am a huge fan of you and the Cardinals. I think you are an amazing pitcher and so glad that you are on the Cardinals. (You could personalize it with an experience that you had or some accomplishment that the person you are writing to has accomplished.) I was hoping that you could autograph my Upper Deck card for me. I have included a self-addressed, stamped envelope so that you could send it back to me. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to read my letter and hopefully you’ll get back to me soon.
Your #1 FAN,
And if you get a player as nice as Jason Motte was for me, you could end up with something like this!
The most important thing to include with your letter and trading card is a SASE which stands for “self-addressed, stamped envelope.” That makes it much easier for the athlete to just sign your card and return it to you. This is why sending memorabilia can be a little tough; most athletes are not going to have time to re-package and pay for additional postage to send your item back to you.
So, how do you find the addresses for your favorite player’s team? Check out this great website that will help you pull the addresses you need for baseball teams: http://www.sportmapworld.com/map/baseball/north-america/mlb/.
The most important aspect about TTM autographs is to be patient. Players have a lot on their plates and cannot always drop everything to sign and return your cards each day. I have got autograph cards back in as little as five days before, but waited as long as three years in some instances. The normal wait is usually around three months.
You may want to prepare for the worst. You may not get your card back. It rarely happens, but it can. That’s why you likely don’t want to send anything too expensive out. If you send the card to the wrong address you may get everything back with a yellow slip from the post office, which is called a RTS (Return to Sender). Also, if the player is in a hurry they could put the signed card right in the envelope after signing and it can get smudged like the card below.
If you really want to get into the hobby of collecting autographs through the mail, Harvey Meiselman writes a comprehensive book every year, with the players’ home addresses. It is so great to use and you get the address for almost every current and retired player. Here’s more information about Harvey’s book: http://www.sportsaddresslists.com/.
A great website to use is Nolan’s TTM. He updates it whenever he has success in getting an autograph card through the mail. His website is: http://www.nolansttmgraphs.webs.com/. Another great website that is always updating their users’ success is: http://www.fanmail.biz/ to see who is signing. One last site you might want to review is: http://www.sportsautosttm.com/.
I’ve found current and former MLB players have the highest success rate, for all sports, for fulfilling through-the-mail autograph requests, but don’t let that discourage you from sending Upper Deck cards to players from other sports like NBA, NFL or NHL. Since I started collecting through-the-mail autographs in Spring Training, I have already received over 100 signed cards. Hopefully you’ll have the same success rate. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Troy Kozlowski is an avid collector, a contributor to the Upper Deck Blog and a member of the Upper Deck Volunteer Alliance.