I think autograph collectors send their symbolic pink and red hearts to the wrong people.
When you write a current player at home or a retiree, family members are gatekeepers. They support the signers, keeping them signing FOR US.
Therefore, writing to someone and saying, “You can keep an extra card if you want” may not have the desired effect.
These men still believe they have ice water in their veins. Shrug. Shrug. Seen it all.
They may be unphased at your offer.
Instead, in a salute to the family who tolerate fan mail (and I was once told by a weary Al Kaline that his family’s property tax bill got lost in a basket of autograph requests), write, “I’ve enclosed __ extras for you to share with your family or fans.”
Then, put the yellow sticky note on each with the words: “For you to share.”
Some collectors groan, “But it’s okay when all 11 cards come back autographed to me…”
Make a real effort. Truly give. Retirees re-gift extras to other collectors. (Ever get a custom card, thinking it was meant for someone else? Nope. Some generous creative collector shared, and you benefit, too.)
Besides, the suspicious wives, mothers, kids and grandkids may change their tune about those supposedly greedy-selfish autograph collectors.
Happy Valentine’s Day!