Everyone wants an autograph


There’s a pretty cool article up right now over at IndyStar.com, detailing Peyton Manning’s views about signing autographs. Given his popularity, he’s had to deal with some interesting fans who want his signature, and Manning has a couple funny stories to tell.

“I was at a charity golf tournament, and this guy came up to me and I could tell he had a prosthetic leg,” Manning said recently. “He said, ‘I want you to sign my leg.’ I’m like, ‘C’mon, man, you don’t want me to do that, do you?’

Another time at UT, the doctor examining him asked Manning to sign his X-rays.
“I said, ‘Before I sign those, could you tell me if I’m going to be out the whole season?’ ”

“My dad always said, ‘It takes the same amount of time to smile as it does to be a jerk, so you might as well be nice.’ I used to watch him and how good he was about signing when he won and when he lost.”

“I know that’s what bothers a lot of the big-name guys, Tiger and others,” Manning said. “The dealer pays these kids money to stand on line and get things signed. Then the dealers sell it on eBay or wherever. I saw a kid a little while ago, I said, ‘Hey, man, surely you have enough by now? How much are you making on eBay? Now seriously.’

“The kids always say, ‘No, I’m not selling, I’m not selling.’ But I know they are because when I sign, I ask, ‘Who’s this to?’ They’ll say, ‘Just sign it, just sign it.’ Then it’s memorabilia.

Interesting stuff. I had never heard about the practice of sports collectors hiring young kids to get autographs for them. I wonder if I would have done that when I was a youngster, trying to scam an autograph off of Mike Piazza to make a buck. Needless to say, my desire to collect autographs has practically vanished over the years. I don’t have many, as my dad and I never went to games early enough or stuck around after, waiting and waiting for a humble player. Still, I remember being at the age when getting an athlete’s autograph would have been a big deal. So, I decided to send a couple baseball players a trading card of themselves, with a brief letter, to the appropriate addresses. Funny enough, at age 10, I was already becoming jaded. Though I really wanted signatures from Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds, I aimed low. I contacted Barry Larkin, Rod Beck, Jeff Blauser, and Chipper Jones, who was just starting out. Rod Beck and Chipper responded. They both had signed their card and I was ecstatic. Now if I were to see an athlete out and about, I’d probably ask them if they’d want my autograph, just to see their expression.

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