Beyond Steve Sax: Paying For Autographs

Chris Potter (left) and Steve Sax
(Photo courtesy of Chris Potter Sports)

 Thanks to Nick Diunte for sharing a recent fine feature on his “happening” blog, Nick is an all-star journalist, someone with a deep appreciation of baseball and all things collectible. A kindred spirit!

Nick wrote about Chris Potter, the new intermediary handling fan mail for Steve Sax. Potter’s business has a website. Most encouraging is his motto: “The Collector’s Friend.”

In my original feature about Sax choosing to stop signing autographs by mail for free, I mentioned Potter’s role only in passing. Potter is seeing that unsigned cards get returned with a price list. When some ex-players stop signing, they may trash all their mail.

As Nick points out, Potter’s involvement can benefit needy retirees, such as 95-year-old Danny Litwhiler. This man, unlike Sax, never raked in millions during his career.

Last week, I mentioned that former Negro Leaguer Louis Clarizio Jr. would sign for pay. Using an autograph as a way to help someone in need can make sense, especially for someone with a one-year career who played mainly for the love of the game.

However, I can’t help missing the GIFT aspect of the autograph, the service of signing. Add money, and the personal interaction disappears. It’s like purchasing a loaf of bread at the supermarket. The humanity, the idea of one baker making a treat just for you, is replaced. The autograph is now an assembly-line product, something that anyone can own, not a reward for your captivating letter.

In fact, I can’t help but feel sad for the letter writers who try to send memories to a former player like Sax. These days, your cash matters more than your words to many retirees.

Coming Tuesday: Collecting Japanese baseball autographs

1 thought on “Beyond Steve Sax: Paying For Autographs”

  1. Good point. I have been having a great time handwriting letters to past players that I watched as a kid. I mention the memories and love that I got from watching them play. Money for a charity and getting an auto is okay. Money just for two seconds of there time is B.S. to me.


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