Matt's Autograph Odyssey: All-Time Greats

Remember the feeling you had on Christmas morning, anticipating your most desired wishes would be safely wrapped under the tree for your enjoyment? Well, that's the feeling most collectors have every day when they make the trek to the mailbox every afternoon. While there are days that those wishes don't materialize, sometimes the anticipation yields an autograph so great, that it makes up for all of the days without success.

Anyone who is involved in the autographs by mail hobby will tell you that there are many days when they wonder why the spend the money needed to be in this hobby, and even question why they do it at all. But conversely, there are days that make you forget about all of the rest. There are many players out there who very rarely sign, or players who you have sought after for years, or maybe, just maybe you receive your all time favorite player in the mail, and on those days, you truly forget the many days of empty mailboxes. Being a Phillies fan, it's no surprise that many of those memorable days have been filled with signatures of Phightin Phils both past and present. That's not to say that there haven't been many great returns from other teams. But the signatures coming from the corner of Broad and Pattison just mean a little more.

Some of the greatest Phillies signatures I've ever received were John Kruk from his home, Doug Glanville and Andy Ashby from the team were all received on the same day and ranks as one of my greatest single day successes when it comes to Phillies autographs.

Growing up, Mickey Morandini was my favorite Phillie. I even sported his trademark number twelve jersey in little league and played second base, just like my idol. Needless to say, the day I received two of his autograph cards was quite a feeling.

Trading cards are the ideal object to get signed through the mail, for obvious reasons. But sometimes an item has more personal importance and could possibly be more valuable, especially if it is a rare hard to come by piece. That is why I was overjoyed to receive my ticket stub from Randy Wolf's Major League debut against the Toronto Blue Jays, a game I enjoyed alongside my mother, father and grandfather. To think, I may have a one of a kind signature that I will never sell because of its sentimental value.

Some of my greatest autographs from around the league include, Mariano Rivera, Curt Schilling, Troy Percival and Randy Johnson, all from spring training. As well as Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, from ESPN. Autographs like these are what make this hobby so enjoyable.

Spring Training Update

Although it is still early in camp, I have already received two Phillies autographs. Roberto Hernandez signed two of my cards in under two weeks, and Todd Pratt responded with a signed card in just under three. Still no luck around the league, but I expect the success rate to rise as players get a chance to sift through their mail.

Columnist's note for questions, comments or suggestions for future columns, feel free to E-mail me at Phillyphanmk@yahoo.com.

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