The autograph hound knows no rules or regulations, has no scruples He or she bribes, manipulates, even throws elbows to Johnny Law’s noggin, anything to feed their frenzy.
They don’t bother whining nostalgic about some fairy tell yesterday that was somehow better and easier; a time when players worked for a living and signed autographs free of charge. Today’s hounds come up with new and innovative strategies. He or she may have to cut a few corners, but nothing can stop the hound.
I was never a hard-core collector of autographs, preferring baseball cards and books as my rosebud, but I’ve learned to admire the depths fans go to complete collections of their own autograph design. I wonder how these John Hancock junkies felt about the now defunct e-graphs?
You pick a player, send a request and some cash and the player electronically autographs his picture along with a message designed by you, the fan.
Very efficient, but very lacking in back alley pursuit and all the color and clues and mistakes and ultimately tales tales and more tales that come with chasing down an autograph. Egraphs went out of business in May 2013 after a brief two-year run.
The autograph wave of the future was no more, but there will be more technologies. There always is. When radio invaded baseball, cold-blooded owners feared fans would huddle around the transistors and not come out to the ballgame. And then owners feared the boob tube would do the same and you know what? They were both wrong. Interest in baseball skyrocketed and fans flocked to even more games. They still do.
One of the more effective methods in collecting autographs I like to call the ”oh my bullseye” or OMB. It takes a minimal amount of research and/or a dig through an old drawer.
Baseball players have favorite foods, play musical instruments, read The Brothers Karamazov during rain delays. Some are royal alumni rooters to their University. Some could care less about University. An autograph hound who knows what the next hound doesn’t has the upper hand. Forces will then conspire in your favor as the player fixates on what he thinks it is…it could be, OMB Oh my bullseye, it is.
Jack McDowell pitched for the Chicago White Sox, won the Cy Young award in 1993. He also played in a band-Stickfigure after graduating from Stanford University where he won the NCAA championship. I knew a kid who attended Stanford at the same time as McDowell. I slipped him five bucks before he went west and asked him to send me a Stanford baseball magazine.
I met Mr. McDowell in Sarasota, Florida at White Sox Spring Training. That Stanford baseball magazine stuck out like a two-sided sandwich board stripper. It was McDowell not me who asked the first question. The autograph became more than a drive by please and thank you.