COPS: Autograph Edition…Or, Why The Hobby Needs Another Don Mossi

Would FOX show us
errant autograph signers?

I still see the words on the messageboard.

Didn’t return

A collector sends more than one card for an autograph. Not all the cards come back.

Is it time for COPS: Collector Edition?

Imagine it…law enforcement appearing at the mailbox. “Sir, did you keep a card without permission?”

Retiree: “I don’t think so. I’ve signed two dozen requests this week. I try to keep them straight.”

Scene change — officers watch elderly man scuttling into hobby shop.

“Hold it! You’re trying to fence cards sent by unsuspecting autograph collectors.”

Such serious verbs make it seem like hobbyists suspect such a storyline.

I’d welcome the honesty of more ex-players like Don Mossi. Years ago, he told Sports Collectors Digest that he’d sign one, then give the rest to grandkids.

Check out his near-flawless return record these days, and you’ll see Mossi signs EVERYTHING. “No more, grandpa. We’ve got all your cards. All our friends have all your cards. We want someone else’s cards!”

Originally, I envisioned this problem like laundry. Socks disappear from the dryer. Maybe, former players are taking them, too?

Solutions? If you’re working on a set, don’t send extras. Dumb luck dictates that the signer always loses the card you want back most. He’ll send back the so-so cards.

Then, if you get a card that wasn’t yours, post a note on a hobby forum like SCN. I wouldn’t say, “Got a 1952 Topps high number signed by mistake. Is it yours?” Just say, “Card mixup. Did I get yours? Write me.”

My wife and I mixed up thank-you notes at our wedding 30 years ago. One woman was sure some tag-switcher hawked her expensive gift, then claimed that salad bowl came from her. Like us, I think former players are human.

Coming Friday: A review of the book Pinstripe Empire by Marty Appel.