Who Was Your First Big Autograph?
The autograph business has really grown over the years. I have been collecting autographs since I was in fourth grade. My love of sports grew as I did.
When I was in fourth grade at St. Gerard, I really liked Tiger catcher Bill Freehan. He was one of my favorite sports people at the time. So, my mom got me Tiger Stadium’s address. From there I wrote him a nice letter explaining how I really thought he was a great catcher. I didn’t think he would send anything back, but he did a few weeks later. He sent me an autographed photo and a one sheet explaining how to play the catcher position. I was absolutely jacked up for a fourth grader.
From there I started to send letters to everyone. I learned then it would be either hit or miss. At first I felt bad that these players wouldn’t send back. But my mom (Corky) told me don’t expect a send back every time.
The autograph business has grown into a huge business. Three years ago the Lansing Lugnuts had their annual block party. That’s where fans would come to downtown Lansing and meet and greet the Lugnut players. I was doing a live show when this was going on. I got there early and met this cat who had driven four hours from Cleveland. I said, "Why are you here?" He answered that he was there to get Vlady Guerrero Jr.’s autograph.
I asked if he was staying for the block party, and he said no, I will be going right back to Cleveland. Then I said, "You drove four hours just to get his autograph?" He said, “Yes.” I couldn’t believe it!
My best autograph is from Muhammad Ali. I met him twice at his compound in Berrien Springs. That was because of Bob Every’s friendship with his people. I have gotten some great autographs over the years. Like George Burns, Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown and just many others.
I could have had more after almost 26 years on the radio, but I told myself I would never ask a guest for their signature when I was a host of a radio show. Who was your first big autograph? Please let me know. Tell us a great story!