Monday, December 31, 2007

Collecting Morality

The previous poll question focused on the morality of memorabilia and autograph collecting. Can you separate the off-the-field issues with players/celebrities enough to justifying paying for their autograph?

No one is more polarizing in the hobby than OJ. He’s done some rare appearances since found guilty in a civil suit involving the ’94 murders. Each time the debate heats up about why collectors should pay to get his autograph? In this poll, the majority said they would pay for OJ’s autograph.

The Fidel Castro autograph card is another example. How many people can play minor league baseball and run a small island country?

Where do you draw the line? If you’re against getting an OJ autograph because of his trial, then are you also against having a Ty Cobb autograph because of his race relations (or lack there of). What about Pete Rose’s autograph because of gambling on baseball and tax issues? Do you refuse Kobe Bryant’s autograph because he cheated on his family? Would you pay for Lawrence Taylor’s autograph despite is multiple drug use violations?

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Self-Promoting Than SportsCenter?

I didn't think it was possible to be more self-promoting that ESPN SportsCenter, but I found a challenger!

If you thought the ESPYs were shameless way to self promote, then this one will really get you going. McFarlane Sports Figurines is having their 5th annual Action Figure Awards.

You can vote online and through their message boards on categories such as: best series, best pose, best likeness, and best legends figure.

I think Todd McFarlane is awesome – his artistic abilities are amazing (I have his autograph on a S.B. XL mini helmet), but a series of awards to promote your own product? It's one thing if a 3rd party industry publication did the awards and included other figurine production lines, but you can't have your own and expect anyone with intelligence to take that seriously!

From a collection standpoint, I think the McFarlane figures were (at first) very cool. They had limited production runs, cool variants, and were reserved for the elite athletes in sports.

But they became too retail and it seemed that nearly every athlete named to an all-star team was molded into a McFarlane figure. It’s no longer exclusive and rare.

Does Matt Leinart deserve to have two collector’s edition figure? What has he done other than date Paris Hilton - and that's a club about as exclusive as the White Pages!

Maybe next year I can have my own awards: Favorite SportsLocker rant, Favorite Collector’s Idea, Worst spell-checked entry, and the Entry With Most Screwed Up English Language Usage!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top 10 Sports Returns of 2007

As we enter the 'returns' season of 2007, what returns for store credit should teams get for purchases made in 2007? Here's a Top 10 List:
10. Greg Oden - This year's #1 NBA pick by Portland won't play a single minute.
9. Eric Gagne - How many prospects did Boston give up so Gagne could throw gas on the 8th inning flames?
8. Brady Quinn - The Browns gave up this year's first round pick for someone to hold the clipboard.
7. Larry Johnson - The KC Chiefs would like store credit for overpaying LJ whom couldn't finish the season.
6. Mitchell Report - What did it tell us that we didn't already know?
5. Upper Deck Black - This was way overpriced and underperformed... much like #7.
4. Norv Turner - Replaced Marty (a 14-2 coach last year) and took half the season to find LT in his backfield.
3. JaMarcus Russell - The Raiders couldn't sign the #1 NFL Draft Pick in time to make more that one NFL start this year.
2. Florida Marlins Season Tickets - Are people actually paying for these?
1. Roger Clemens - What did the Yankees get for their $22 million half season?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Who’s been Naughty or Nice?

Nice: The New England Patriots – for hope they go undefeated so those ancient ’72 Dolphins stop having champagne toast every time a team loses.
Naughty: Mercury Morris – for pretending that his career was anything significant if he wasn’t a player on that ’72 team. He ran for over 1,000 yards once in his career. Perhaps Mercury can be just as ellaborate when he talks on sportscenter about his ’82 cocaine trafficking trial that he eventually got overturned on entrapment charges! Or Mercury can tell us how he got his jock handed to him by Bob Lilly in Super Bowl VI. Mercury talks like he's had this great NFL career, but in reality it's just as brief as his hair club for men commercials.

Nice: Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys for their exciting play this year. It’s hard to cheer against a guy who went to a small college, was undrafted, and sat the bench four years waiting for his chance to prove he’s better than Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Bledsoe, Drew Henson, and Ryan Leaf.
Naughty: Tony Romo for bringing his girlfriends from American Idol or MTV reality show ex-wife’s club to football games. I don’t know what was more annoying to see 100 times during the game: Jessica Simpson or Bill Cowher’s family whenever his Steelers were on TV!

Nice: Pete Rose back in the trading card game.
Naughty: Upper Deck execs for acting like babies with Topps.

Nice: The NY Mets for giving the NL East title to Philadelphia
Naughty: Me for what I did to the TV after the Mets choked the division away!

The Mitchell Report should go on this list somewhere, but I'm not sure where.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mitchell Report in the HOF?

This week’s poll question asked if MLB’s Mitchell Report belongs in the baseball hall of fame.

I believe it’s an historic document that helps to define the late ‘80s to the mid ‘00s era and belongs in the HOF. We can’t put *s on the records or backspace over the numbers that were calculated. However, I think we need to explain why the numbers ballooned faster than Rosie O’Donnel at a buffet.

The HOF should include the report as one of the reasons offensive numbers skyrocketed and why the Rocket Roger Clemens’ ERA stats plummeted. It should be recorded as the main bullet point of reasons why offense stats are higher in the era - other reasons include smaller ball parks and expansion.

I emailed the Baseball Hall of Fame to see if the report will be included and if so, where it would be displayed. I’ll provide their reply unless they post their answers here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Autograph Cost How Much?

Are athletes responsible for knowing what their agents and representatives request on the athlete’s behalf? A recent discussion thread on the message boards dealt with Mike Piazza and his recent signing at an MAB autograph show.

Full Disclosure: I’m a Mets fan, Piazza was one of my favorite players, and I think MAB does a great job with their autograph shows. I’ve been to a few MAB shows this year and will likely go to a few more next year.

First: I think a lot of collectors were surprised by his autograph pricing. From what I remember, an autograph baseball was $200, a bat was like $400 and a jersey was $600. Inscriptions (of course) were an extra $125 and there were several restrictions on what you could or could not get signed by him.

Second: With that pricing environment established, some collectors were not happy with the attitude of some of his handlers.

Finally: That lead to string of newsgroup postings about Piazza having outrageous demands, attacks on his character, and even a few blasts at MAB who did nothing wrong except when they tried to smooth things over with a reply that Mike Piazza wasn’t even aware of some of the demands placed by his “handlers.” What?

Now, I wasn’t in the autograph room because I thought his price was too high, restrictions were too much, and I think his autograph looks like crap.

But I think it’s a crime for Piazza and other athletes to pretend they have no idea what their representatives are doing for them. Of course the athletes know what’s going on. As smart and PR savvy as some of these guys are, there’s no way they are in the dark to what their representatives are doing. And shame on the athletes for thinking we’re dumb enough to let them get away with playing ignorant so their representatives can play the bad cop role.

It’s like ARod pretending he had no idea what Scott Boras was doing. ARod hasn’t lived a day in the past 10 years where the entire agenda wasn’t scripted!

To Mike Piazza and MAB: playing ignorant isn’t an excuse, it’s a flaw.

Best Ways to Make Your Autograph Collection Unique

It’s easy to get trapped in the cycle of getting baseballs and mini helmets signed with HOF and ROY inscriptions. It’s only natural when you’ve seen hundreds of them on eBay and online stores.

But do you want your collection to look like something anyone could have bought on eBay? Or do you want your collection to be different, something that you put extra time into, and has a story?

I’ll expand upon some of these points in later posts, but here are four great ways to make your autograph collection unique.

  • Make the item you are getting signed different. My earlier posts with Helmet Hut and the catcher’s gear are two examples.

  • Get a unique inscription. Instead of getting HOF with the player’s name, try getting a score of their winning Super Bowl, gold glove numbers, or the offensive stats of their best season.

  • Have a theme. MAB Celebrity does a great job at providing themed autograph shows. I was recently at the Magic Moniker show where “Pudge” Rodriguez, “Hurricane” Carter, and “The Big Unit” Randy Johnson were signing. You could also create a 500 home run club, gold glove, all star game MVP, or Super Bowl MVP collection.

  • Have your item tell a story. Beckett did a story about this a year or so ago with someone who gets a story on his baseballs. For example, you could get Bobby Thompson to sign, “I got good wood on that one” and Ralph Branca to write, “Lucky shot” or something like that. I’m in the process of doing one of these with Pete Rose.

    The point is, to think a little differently with your autograph collection and don’t fall into a routine. Make it unique to you – you’ll probably get a lot more enjoyment out of doing it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Like Sands Through the Hour Glass . . .

Check out this card sold on eBay. According to the listing, it is one of only 5 made by Upper Deck. It's an obvious swipe at Barry Bonds and another card company.

The card companies have recently exchanged in a childish pissing contest not seen since the days of Paris Hilton vs. Hillary Duff. Soon they'll be pulling each other's hair and threatening to steal the other one's boyfriend.

A recap of the card company cat fight is chronicled on the Sports Card Forum.

Thanks to Laloosh for the heads-up on this Soap Opera.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fans' Reaction to Clemens on Mitchell Report

A couple of fans put their reaction to Roger Clemens' steroid use on YouTube. Beckett is linking to the video.
But is this autograph baseball real? You be the judge. The Roger Clemens autograph baseball on this blog (to the left) was taken from the CBS Sportsline Store. Does the one in the YouTube video look the same to you?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Best Autograph List

Autograph Magazine just came out with their best/worst celebrity autograph list. I'm not a celebrity autograph person, although I did get my picture taken with Helen Thomas and sat on a plane next to Jennifer Garner (before Ben). Wow - isn't that like comparing apples to oranges!

According to Autograph Magazine, the best person on the list is Johnny Depp because of his attitude and wanting to talk to the fans. Surprisingly Will Ferrell, aka Ron Burgondy, was last.

I think my best sports autographs are Art Donovan and Gary Carter. Arty talked about his days as a '52 Dallas Texans and their only win that season against George Halas' Bears. Gary always yucks it up with the fans!

Does the Mitchell Report Damage Memorabilia Value?

I've read a lot on the web about card/memorabilia values taking a dive following the Mitchell Report. Beckett even has a temporary blog where paranoid collector's are discussing changing their retirement plans because of the impending crash of Clemens rookie card values! :) Whether you the report is a good idea or a bad idea - I don't see values taking a long-term dive.

In the short run, you may see some sell-off by collector's that have a short-term view or don't want the cards due to moral outrage. But over the long-term, I think the card values of Clemens and Bonds will bounce back and climb just as the cards of Pete Rose and Joe Jackson.

Pete's 1963 Topps has a low Beckett card value of $600 and Joe Jackson's are around $1,000. Would their cards be worth more if they were in the HOF? Maybe, but I don' think they are suffering because they are not in the HOF.

For those looking for a discount on Bonds, Clemens and Todd Hundley (yeah right), this could be an opportunity to buy some of their cards cheaper due to their short-term dip.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mitchell Report - Does Anyone Care?

What exactly does this report do again?

Oh yeah, the Mitchell Report will reveal if players took performance enhancing drugs 5 years ago. I thought we already knew that answer?

I don't think this will have any effect on the memorabilia market. Card values of McGwire, Canseco, Palmerio, and Sosa have already taken their hit. Of the major 'roid targets, only Bonds has seen his card/autograph high on the Beckett Top 20 list thanks to his home run chase. Having a late and bloated report isn't going to change that.

Do we really expect baseball and the MLBPA to suspend players based on doing something five years ago that wasn't against the rules then, but is now? This is stupid. It's like being mad at your girlfriend because she dated someone else five years before she knew you.

You Won't See These Autographs on eBay

Pete Rose made different inscriptions more popular by adding his "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" inscription with his autograph.

The Eddie Kranepool Society blog recently highlighted a link to a Maxim online article that seems like a Top 10 list of best autograph inscriptions. (Another great use of Photoshop on these images!) Take a look!

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What did Emmitt say?

This could be a weekly series on the blog if I could find enough YouTube clips.

After watching Emmitt's MNF display last night, I had to look on YouTube to see if someone captured his . . . analysis. I didn't find last night's episode, but I did find this one from earlier in the year.

Disclosure: I was an Emmitt Smith fan before he decided to turn in his man card, Dance with the Stars, make a fool of himself on MNF, and charge $350 for an autograph.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Make Your Collection Unique

I went to the MAB show in NJ this weekend and saw some great examples of people making their collections unique and (maybe) more valuable.

Catcher’s Clubs
I saw two guys that had catcher themed autographs. They were getting HOF (or soon to be) catchers to sign a chest protector and shin guard. I thought this was very cool because of how different it is. Everyone gets baseballs or helmets signed (myself included), but how many collections have you seen with a catcher’s shin guard autographed by Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza! Those four are probably in the top 5 of all-time catchers. (I reserve the #1 for Josh Gibson.) This is a great example of making your collection unique and valuable.

Baseball Hit Clubs
One guy had baseball bat themes. He had a 1,500 RBI bat, a 3,000 hit bat, and a few others. So every time a player reached that mark, he got the player autograph on the bat. Think of the names that are on those bats!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bill Conlin's Crap Storm

Not really the image I wanted to post on the blog, but . . .

I have a follow-up to the posting last month, Bill Conlin’s Fight with Bloggers. The writer of the blog, was interviewed by Philly Magazine about his email exchange with Philadelphia Daily News Columnist Bill Conlin.

I think Crashburnalley is on the mark and Conlin is just bloated another example of the pompus media preaching tolerance, but not wanting to respect anyone’s opinion that is different from their own.

Congrats to the Crashburnalley blog for getting some much deserved attention and publicity for exposing Conlin for what he really is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Match Your Football Autograph to the Correct Helmet

Some research and can add authenticity to your collection.

You wouldn’t get Joe Montanna’s autograph on a Chargers helmet?

You wouldn’t get Jim Brown’s autograph on a Steelers helmet?

So why do people consistently get autographs on helmets that the players never wore?

Before the player grips the sharpie, make sure you are getting him to sign the correct helmet.

In the last 50 years, the helmet styles have change drastically in the NFL - from leather to hard shells, and from lucite fase masks to full cages. You can really improve the authentic look of your autograph collection by using a helmet/face mask that your player would have worn. does a ton of research on the players’ helmets and work with Riddell to recreate authentic truly throwback helmets.

For example: Art Donovan is a Hall of Fame player for the Colts. You could get his autograph on a current Colts helmet and it would look fine. But what if you got his autograph on a ’54 Colts helmet (dark blue with white horseshoes - see picture) and with his lucite face mask? Another example would be Roger Staubach. The helmets he wore in the ‘70s with Dallas and previously with Navy are very different than the current Cowboys and Navy helmets.

I don’t work for Helmet Hut, but I’ve used their research and products. I’ve also seen their helmets used at autograph shows. Take a look at their samples on Their helmet prices are comparable to the current authentic NFL helmets.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

$450 = 7 Sportskings Cards

I went to my local card store yesterday and asked about the new Sportskings cards (see Pete Rose entry from last week).

The Sportskings cards are only available in boxes. Each box only has 7 cards AND each box is $450! Whoa! The Rose card is the best card in the pack/box and it's only worth $250.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dallas Triumph Show Run Poorly

I was in town to see some family and catch the game, so we decided to check out the Triumph Sports Football Spectacular Show in Dallas. Wow... the organizers could really use some help!

The whole ticket process was a cluster. Before even standing in line to get an autograph, I had to stand in three separate lines! One line for a show ticket, one line for an autograph ticket, and one line for a authentication ticket. What? Why not put the booths next to each other? Why not get your autograph ticket and authentication ticket at the same spot? And why were the booths at the opposite side of the hall from the autograph booth? No one from Triumph or Provo looked at the user experience.

Triumph workers were arrogant and offered zero information. As a promoter you need to have full disclosure.

  • Find out why someone is running late, when the guest will arrive, and when you'll have new information. Their "I have no idea" answer isn't good enough for someone waiting to spend their money on your services.
  • If every guest is 30 minutes after the first day, then it's probably a good idea to get people 30 minutes sooner the next day. Brilliant.
  • Complaining about the set-up of the show on Day 1 doesn't make your company look good. Triumph people were saying they didn't like the stage set up.... so why not change it? Comparing the problems of their Dallas show to their show in NJ (on the first day) isn't a good idea. It shows me that Triumph didn't put any work in to preparing for this show and doesn't seem to care to fix it.
  • Attitude. From the moment I got my ticket, no one at Triumph was helpful. I actually had to ask someone to find out an answer because all of us were asking it. The Triumph employee was satisfied with "I don't know" as an answer. We were not.
I don't know if I'll go to another Triumph show. I'd rather spend my autograph money with companies that actually seem to care about the collector's experience. Triumph made MAB, CSA, and Mounted Memories look like real professionals. I've been to several autograph shows where players cancel, or run late. These things happen. The promoter cannot control that, but the promoter can control their customer's experience in dealing with those issues. Triumph needs to learn that lesson.