I had taken a bit of a hiatus from chasing autographs for my Yankees collection. I was OK with getting the players I need on certified cards, and actually, I still am. But after the thrill of getting Hideki Matsui on Saturday and looking at my Yankees autographed baseball collection, I decided to list a few players I really want on baseballs.
My Yankees autograph collection currently stands at 42. My ultimate goal is to have 100 signed Yankees baseballs by the end of the year. I'm close to 50, so that is my immediate goal. Get to 50. I try not to get just any player on baseballs either. Baseballs are pretty expensive, so I try to get the better players on balls, although I do have a few players that may not qualify as such.
To get to my goals, I've compiled a list of Yankees (both former and current) that I would like to pick up signed baseballs of, either in person, through the mail or even trade or purchase. Some of the players on my list might be close to impossible, but that is not going to stop me from at least trying.
Of course, I am going to start the list off with the most difficult and expensive autograph to obtain. Jeter has been very tough for me because I have never, ever seen him sign anywhere. By that, I mean when I'm around. I never seen him sign at Yankee Stadium or any time I've seen the Yankees play in Seattle when I go there to watch the Yankees. I've heard stories about how he has turned people down in public and how he will have people line up when he leaves George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa and sign maybe ten autographs.
Depending on the item, Steiner Sports has Jeter signed baseballs, starting at a ridiculous $645.99. eBay has Jeter signed balls for around the $300.00 and up mark, but you're taking a risk there as you don't know who is selling legitimate autographs.
Getting a Jeter is going to be almost Mission: Impossible. Que the music.
I've always been a huge fan of the "Warrior". He's in my top 3 of all time favorite Yankees. I'm considering starting a player collection of him. He's great as a broadcaster for the Yankees on the YES Network. I want to add a signed O'Neill baseball to my collection.
I know O'Neill is a willing signer. Just trying to find him is the hard part. The New Yankee Stadium is difficult to get autographs as the players don't have to leave the Stadium to get to the parking lot and drive away. I'm not sure if it's that way for broadcasters, but with someone with Paul O'Neill's stature, I'm sure he has a spot there.
I've seen through the mail successes for O'Neill, but I struck out when he never returned my baseball. I'll try again, sending a photo and a baseball card instead. I'm hoping he makes a free appearance somewhere.
Another all time great Yankee who I need in my collection. Rivera is a willing signer, just at the right places. If you watched Being Mariano, you will know what I mean.
Rivera is another player who was signing through the mail, yet he never returned not one baseball, but 2 baseballs I've sent in the last 5 years in care of Yankee Stadium. Just because of the type of person he is, I am still kind of holding out hope that I will eventually get them back. Maybe they got mixed up in all the mail he got and is still going through them, sending back the requests, I tell myself. I also tell myself that the Easter Bunny has a gold chocolate bunny for me.
I do think I will eventually get to add Mo to the collection. He has been doing signings recently. He did a free signing during the winter that I didn't go to because I would have had to stand out in 15 degree weather, but I am now regretting I didn't go, even though almost 1,000 people showed up for it. He also did a signing at the last card show I went to. Steiner Sports was sponsoring it, hence the $299.00 price tag for his autograph. He's making appearances. My time will come.
Getting an Andy Pettitte autograph in my Yankees signed ball collection is a must. Pettitte is another who is going to be difficult as he rarely makes appearances and really doesn't sign at the Stadium when he does show up. At least, not that I have seen.
Pettitte is another who was signing off and on through the mail in care of Yankee Stadium and is another Yankee I sent baseballs to at different times and struck out on. I really have to stop sending baseballs to players in care of Yankee Stadium. I almost always lose them.
Pettitte may be one I have to either trade for or purchase as I don't see him making appearances and if he does, he may be pricey. I'm always looking for the best prices on stuff, so I more than likely wouldn't go that route. I do hope I can add Pettitte eventually.
May even be more difficult to get to sign than Derek Jeter. I've heard horror stories about asking Posada to sign, even hearing him turning down children. I try not to listen to stories like that. Unless I see it for myself, then you take these stories with a grain of salt.
Posada has been showing up at Yankee Stadium events lately, so I'm holding out hope that he may eventually do a signing somewhere. I'm sure he will also be an expensive autograph, but as the catcher for multiple World Series winning teams and he may even be a borderline Hall Of Fame Candidate, I may actually go against my beliefs and pluck down the cash for him.
Goose has always been a friend to the autograph community. I have sent cards and an ice cream mini helmet to him in the past and he always returned the items with his signature on them. For some reason, I have never sent a baseball. I can't explain why I haven't, but I need to rectify that. He is also a great signer in person as I have gotten him on an 8x10 at a free signing and was very friendly.
I had heard a rumor that the through the mail signings were going to come to an end, but the last time I checked sportscollector.net, he was still signing as long as you sent a donation to BAT. If Goose signs a ball for me at 20.00, I will gladly send the donation to him. It's a great cause and I will get the autograph that I need for my collection.
Although Niekro's time with the Yankees was short, he's a Hall Of Famer who won his 300th game as a Yankee so I want him in the collection.
He is another willing signer through the mail. He charges 20.00 to sign a baseball, so I will be sending one and the donation out to him soon. I want to get him before he stops signing.
Winfield was one of my favorite Yankees growing up. The guy was an RBI Machine and one of the very best outfielders I have ever seen play. He could rob home runs from you or throw you out from the warning track at home plate. I have to add Winfield to my Yankees signed baseball collection.
Winfield doesn't do autograph signings, at least none that I have seen here in the NY area. I had seen him sign through the mail in care of the Baseball Hall Of Fame, but I don't think I have seen a success in a while. He was another that required a donation to sign. At a very affordable $10.00, he is certainly worth it. If he is still singing, I will get a ball out to him soon.
Getting the autograph of the manager of the Yankees most recent dynasty is very important to me. Torre might be another difficult signature to get, but he works for MLB and is around a lot, so I feel confident that I can add his autograph at some point.
Torre was signing his mail only once during his time with the Yankees. Unfortunately for me, I missed the window and when I was getting a ball out to him, I found out he wasn't signing so I never got the baseball out to him.
I haven't seen him do any appearances and I don't think he's going to anytime soon. I think my best bet is to get him at Yankee Stadium, only problem is that would have to be a chance meeting as I never know when he is there.
My favorite Yankee of all time has eluded me constantly. When he makes appearances, I usually can't go. The one time I had a shot at him was when I was in Los Angeles last season and he was the Marlins hitting coach. I waited outside Dodger Stadium for 45 minutes, but left because I didn't want my girlfriend waiting much longer. She was a great sport about it and I didn't want to press my luck. Turns out I should have waited because she wanted to see me get the autograph and he came out and signed 10 minutes after I left. Grrrr!
I know eventually I will get his autograph on a baseball. He does appearances here and I will be all over the next one. I don't care what I have to do. I will get this monkey off my back and add Tino's autograph to my Yankees collection.
There are other players I'd love to add. Rickey Henderson, Dave Righetti, Robinson Cano are just a few of the players I would love to get signed baseballs of. The players I mentioned above are just the ones I really want. I do know that like many things in life, if you are patient, then it will happen. I have my goal, now it's up to me to successfully complete it.