The day after Christmas, I received this signed baseball card from New York Yankees prospect Aaron Judge. I expected to see Judge play in Trenton this season, but wasn’t sure if I’d have a chance to ask for his autograph in person so I wrote to him during spring training.
As it turned out, I got to meet Judge at the Thunder’s preseason workout and autograph signing event. However, by the time I made it to my first Thunder game, Judge had already been promoted to Triple-A. Go figure.
Judge hit 12 home runs in 63 games for Trenton while posting an .866 OPS, but struggled once he reached Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. For the RailRiders, he still managed eight home runs in 61 games, but his OPS plummeted to .680. Assuming he masters Triple-A this year, Judge could still be ready to replace Carlos Beltran in right field in 2017.
During 2015, I sent out 66 autograph request letters and received responses to 42 of them – 40 success and two failures (due to the Atlanta Braves’ spring training camp refusing fan mail.) That’s good for a 60% success rate, down from my 69% rate in 2014 but up from my 54% rate in 2013.
In addition, I got back several cards that I’d sent out in prior years. A Gary Bennett card that I’d sent out in 2008 or 2010 came back after at least 1,726 days set a new record for my longest outstanding successful return.
Most of my autograph requests went out during spring training, with just 10 sent during the regular season and seven sent to retired Mets players during January. Those 49 spring training letters generated 27 positive responses, yielding a 55% success rate.
That’s not bad, but when each letter costs at least $2 (postage, baseball card and envelopes), I think I will be scaling back in 2016. This February, I think I will only be writing to new Mets players and prospects, and perhaps some other minor league prospects if I get a little more ambitious.
How did you do this year?