Guest Editorial: D.J.S on lousy autographs

Am I the only one who has noticed that the quality of autographed inserts has declined precipitously in 2008? Last year I pulled the following in Topps Finest: Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau, Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Howard. I also was lucky enough to pull a rookie redemption card (#10) that turned out to be an autographed Joba Chamberlain card. I pulled a dual autographed card of Brandon Webb and Chien-Ming Wang. I also pulled David Wright and Garrett Atkins autos from Moments and Milestones. From SPx, I pulled Ryan Braun (2), Daisuke Matzuzaka, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Drew, Felix Hernandez (2), and Andrew Miller.

I bought about 8 boxes of each of these products.

This year I bought about the same number of boxes but got nowhere near the return. The best auto card I received was a Topps Finest Alex Rios red parallel. Almost all of the rookies were minor leaguers – most of whom were not top 10 team prospects according to Baseball America. Some were not in the top 30 team prospects.

It appears to me there is a problem. The card manufacturers seem to be having trouble getting premier players to sign cards for them. Here’s an example. Last year I also pulled from Topps Finest a dual autographed redemption card of David Wright and Chase Utley. When I never received the card, I called Topps and was told that Chase Utley was not signing the card so Topps was sending me a replacement. Topps sent an autographed X-fractor of Tim Lincecum so I am not disappointed but I would rather have had a Chase Utley autograph. If you check e-Bay you see that there are fewer and fewer major stars signing autographed cards for the 2008 releases. SPx has a “Superstars” autographed series this year. I pulled a Victor Martinez “Superstars” card. I know Superstars. I have collected Superstars. Victor Martinez is no Superstar.

I am very disappointed with the 2008 releases. I will not be buying any Legendary Cuts this year. From what I can see on eBay, the “return” on these boxes is a bunch of material cards that are pedestrian. The base cards are not “legends.”

The only series I am looking forward to is Triple Threads, which for the past 2 years has exceeded expectations.

It may be that 2007 was an extraordinary year for cards (I loved the 2007 Topps Finest base cards and collected the entire set) but the drop off in quality this year seems to me to have been precipitous.

Click HERE, HERE, and HERE to see D.J.S’s pulls from 2007.



  1. I definitely agree with you. I was especially disappointed with the autographed cards that I pulled from Topps Finest this year, but at least I got redemption card #2, which means that I’ll be getting a Jay Bruce auto’d card. I bought a box of Co-Signers too, and was disappointed with the autos. I guess Topps couldn’t get enough baseball players to sign, so they got boxers instead.

    Because of this I have decided to only buy boxes of sets that have base cards that I really like. These tend to be the cheaper products anyway, like Topps Heritage and Upper Deck Series 1 & 2. I’ll get my auto’s by buying auto’d cards of players that I like, especially TB Rays, on eBay.

  2. Hmmm, star players are signing less and less autographs you say? I wonder why. Oh well, I’m sure it has nothing to do with seeing their signatures go for ridiculous amounts on eBay.

  3. Geo, wouldn’t you want your auto to be expensive?
    Or do you think they are being greedy and signing a contract with a company so no one but them makes money off their autos?

  4. All I have to say is this:

    The longer a player plays with Ken Griffey Jr., the less the chance he will sign.

    Superstars get crushed with requests these days and it is not worth the hassle. That attitude rubs off on other players. Plus, why sign 5,000 cards or stickers when you don’t need the money? You may sign a contract but finding 4 uninterrupted hours to do so the better known you are is not easy. So just pay back the monies and don’t do it. That is the current card trend.

    I agree there should be more superstars. But if it were all superstars would there be a 2001 Bo Chro of Pujolos? Plus I have oodles of no longer Reds to collect people no longer care about. 2003 Bowman’s Best Brandon Mosley on card auto numbered to 25 for four dollars? Yes please! Thank you!

  5. Joe hit it right on the head. These guys make crazy amounts of money. Guys like Griffey and Rodriguez and Howard are all under contract to sign a specified number of autographs and get paid quite well for it too. But other guys, such as Utley who aren’t under a contractual agreement, might just blow it off. Who wants to sign stickers for 4 hours. Read Pat Neshik’s article on what it’s like. Thats why you are seeing SOOOOOOOO many rookie autos on ebay, because they are hungry, want the money and exposure. It works both ways though, the card companies are saving money by dealing with b tier players and rookies (or in Upper Deck’s case amateurs, USA baseball), there by generating even more money.

  6. Outstanding post! I never considered what it would be like when the players themselves get tired of signing.

    Why pay $200 for a box to gamble on the two guaranteed autos being someone you couldn’t care less about anyways. I like the comment about buying cheaper base product you like and aftermarket autos you want. Nail on the Head!

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