We’re less than three weeks away from the start of spring training. We’ll soon be able to read stories about which players turned up at camp “in the best shape of their life” and see clips of players hitting and fielding along with the basketball and hockey highlights on the nightly sportscasts.
It also means that we’re close to the start of spring training autograph season. Maybe one year, I’ll actually get to go to Florida and experience spring training in person… honestly, short of a lucky lottery ticket on one of the rare occasions that I play, it’s probably not going to happen.
So I’ll be writing letters and waiting to see what shows up in my mailbox. I’ve updated my Guide to Collecting Autographs Through the Mail page for 2016 for those who are new to this method of collecting, but basically you just send a baseball card you want signed along with a letter politely asking the player for an autograph and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for him to return it in.
Until last year’s marathon All-Star Game, I’d never heard of George Sherrill. I don’t follow American League baseball very much, and there hasn’t been much reason to pay attention to the Seattle Mariners or Baltimore Orioles lately.
And that’s too bad, because George Sherrill has a great story. He didn’t get drafted out of high school or college. Instead, he had to work his way into affiliated baseball by another route.
On the eve of the first games of the Grapefruit League season, I received another envelope from a Florida spring training camp.
Pat Neshek of the Minnesota Twins has to be one of the most hobby-friendly players to ever play the game. He signed my first 2009 Upper Deck base card of the year. He also sent me a New Britain Rock Cats 25th anniversary card in exchange for a couple of cards I sent to him for his collection.
Monday brought a full mailbox, with four more cards from Florida spring training camps.
Former Mets coach and current Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta has an unusual signature. I don’t have any problem reading his last name, but I’m not sure how you’re supposed to decipher the squiggles to make up his first name. But that’s ok… I’m sure Acta will be left scratching his head alot this year too, considering his team.