Now, I know a lot of you bloggers probably find this concept funny - that I've been collecting cards for most of my life and not once attempted this task. See, I'm a terrible introvert who has problems asking people for anything, lest I feel like I'm a bother or an inconvenience. I have issues.
Anyway, I finally got up the courage to make a request, mostly out of necessity:
You see, Mr. Balsamo here was a "one year wonder" in Major League Baseball, making 18 relief appearances in 1962. Times being as they were, Tony was never honored by Topps with a baseball card of his own, thus making his name a seemingly permanent resident on the want list for my Cubs All-Time Roster binder.
That is, until I finally decided to get over myself and try out a TTM. I found this card-like image while mindlessly Googling obscure Cubs'names and have been hanging onto it ever since. See, while it may not be an "authentic card," I feel like an autograph makes it the real deal. After all, an autograph will always have some collectible value to it, right?
After a few more minutes of Googling, I was also able to lock down his address. So, I fired up my printer, committed it to glossy paper and sliced away with the ol' paper cutter to get what you see above, sans signature of course.
Tools of the trade
From here, I took out a pen and paper to write a letter to Mr. Balsamo, explaining my aim and assuring him that I wasn't aiming to profit off of his signature. I know I'd be skeptical and that I always appreciate a hand-written letter too.
Last Monday afternoon, I dropped my envelope (with SASE) into the mailbox and crossed my fingers. After all, a lot can go wrong with TTM request and, to be honest, I wasn't even totally sure that I had located the correct Tony Balsamo. Wouldn't that be weird, on the other end?
Then, yesterday I took my lunch break at home, having forgotten to bring my meal to the school. Out of habit, I checked the mail upon crossing through the threshold and, behold, what a pleasant sight:
I must admit, it was really quite the thrill to see this show back up in my mailbox, and in just a week's time, at that!
Thank you, Mr. Balsamo for your generosity - it's greatly appreciated. I can cross a name off of my list that I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to obtain. Now, I feel inspired to try a few more TTM autograph requests and see how long I can keep this 1.000 batting average going.
Next time, I think I'll opt for a couple of my own custom cards for the added satisfaction of seeing my own work graced with signatures. At this point, I even have a couple of targets already in mind:
Just like with Tony Balsamo, to my knowledge, neither one of these men had a baseball card produced with their likeness on it. However, if I'm wrong, please feel free to correct me!
Anyway, it feels like this initial success is going to finally give me the confidence to attempt at least a few more TTM requests. Again, my thanks go out to Mr. Balsamo for honoring my humble little request.
For those of you who have been at the TTM game, I'm curious - what was your first experience with the process like? Was it successful? Who was the target? Was it marred with bizarre issues? Let me know in the comment section!